Prof. Eugene “Gene” Myers, one of the pioneers in bioinformatics, is affiliated with the group as a mentor. Together with his laboratory at the Max Planck Center for Systems Biology in Dresden, the junior group will decipher and compare the genetic codes of several flatworm species.
Flatworms are masters of regeneration, and are, therefore, interesting for scientists: If they are cut in two pieces, each half will develop into a new worm. By comparing the genetic material, researchers hope to gain new insights into regeneration of tissue that could have a huge impact on medicine.A new junior research group for Computational Biology (CBI) has been established at Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). It complements the work of the other six research groups, which carry out basic research in different fields of science. The focus lies on the processing and structuring of large data volumes. The leader of the new group is Dr. Siegfried Schloissnig, a 33-year-old Computer Scientist with a Doctorate in Human Biology, who previously worked as a PostDoc at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). A PostDoc and two PhD students will work under his leadership in Heidelberg.
New approaches to the de novo assemblyThe new junior research group at HITS will also work on these objectives in collaboration with Gene Myers’ laboratory in Dresden and the recently established Dresden Genome Center. Together with his group, Siegfried Schloissnig will develop new approaches to the so-called de novo assembly, which is the reconstruction of genome sequences by means of DNA sequencers and bioinformatic methods. In the course of sequencing by standard methods, DNA is copied multiple times. These copies are randomly split up into numerous small fragments. These fragments are examined for overlaps by means of bioinformatic methods and are subsequently reassembled. The smaller the fragments and the more complex the genome of interest, the more complicated is the problem. The situation becomes even more difficult, when no comparable genome is available and researchers have to assemble the genome de novo, i.e. anew. This is exactly the case with flatworms, whose genetic codes the HITS junior group plans to decipher.
Dr. Peter Saueressig | idw
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