This is about 10,000 genes more than the human genome contains. Mosses are tiny plants with a simple body plan: They have no roots, no flowers and do not produce seeds. Therefore, they were for a long time they were considered to be simple organisms also at the genetic level.
Tiny moss has more genes than humans have
© Plant Biotechnology, University of Freiburg, Germany
The moss Physcomitrella was chosen by Reski early on as the organism of choice and is now well established as a model species for basic biology, biotechnology, and synthetic biology on a worldwide scale. Consequently, the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (US DoE JGI) has ennobled the Physcomitrella genome as a “flagship genome”. The experts believe that flagship genomes contain information that will help us cope with major challenges occurring during global climate change. The expectations include improved crop yields, disease and insect resistance, drought tolerance, and more efficient biofuel production.
For their recent study the scientists collected all available information on the moss genome as well as transcript evidence and used this data for a completely new bioinformatic analysis. The result is freely available on the community resource www.cosmoss.org, developed and maintained by the Chair of Plant Biotechnology in Freiburg. By combining all DNA and RNA data, the scientists were not only able to annotate the 32,275 genes that encode proteins but also to reveal the so-called “dark matter of the genome”, i.e. those genomic regions that are transcribed into small non-coding RNAs like microRNAs.
“One of our intriguing findings is that 13 per cent of the Physcomitrella genes have no clear relatives in any other sequenced organism so far. Analysing these orphan genes more deeply will reveal the hidden treasures of the moss genome”, Reski says. “Although it seems annoying that mosses outperform humans greatly by gene number, it is exactly this feature that may secure our future.”
Ralf Reski heads the Freiburg Chair of Plant Biotechnology. The biologist is a member of the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS – Centre for Biological Signalling Studies and Senior Fellow at FRIAS, the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies of the University of Freiburg. In addition, Reski is co-founder of the Trinational Institute for Plant Research TIP, and, effective from October on, Senior Fellow at USIAS, the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study, France.The original publication is:
When fat cells change their colour
28.10.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences