Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016

A new method provides a three-dimensional identikit of chromosomes

Genome sequencing is a milestone in modern biology as it allows access to the entire "list of instructions" (the chemical sequence of genetic makeup) for the development and function of organisms. Sequencing the genome is a bit like writing down the exact order of the colour of beads in a necklace: knowing how they are arranged along the thread gives us no indication as to the shape of the necklace.


Simulation of 3-D chromosomes structure.

Credit: SISSA

The shape of the DNA strand can be highly complex, given that the chromosomes are loosely arranged in an apparently chaotic tangle in the cell nucleus. Since the shape of chromosomes may have a decisive effect on their function, it is important that it should be characterised, in part because scientists think the DNA tangle in the nucleus is only apparently chaotic and that it has instead a specific "geography" for each tissue and stage of cell life.

"Arriving at a precise description of the shape of the DNA tangle is unfortunately incredibly complicated", explains Cristian Micheletti, SISSA professor and coordinator of the new study. "In our case, we used experimental data on 'proximity pairs'".

"Imagine having to create a map of a city", he explains, "based only on information like 'the post office is opposite the station', 'the chemist is close to the gym', 'the fruit and vegetable market is near the football field' and so on. If you have only a small number of such statements to go by, your map will be approximate and in some cases indeterminate. But if you have hundreds, thousands or even more, then your map will become increasingly precise and accurate. This is the logic we followed".

"Proximity pairs" therefore refers to information on the closeness of two points on the map. In the case of nuclear DNA, this information was provided by a technique (which Micheletti defines as "brilliant") known as Hi-C, developed by North American research groups in 2010. In this chemical-physical technique, bits of genome located close to each another in the nucleus are tied together and then identified by their sequence.

By collecting large numbers of these proximity pairs scientists discovered which points of the chromosomes lie close to each other in the nucleus. While this is today the most powerful technique for investigating DNA organisation in the nucleus, it is still inadequate for inferring its overall shape. "For this reason, we thought we would try to go 'further'", comments Micheletti.

Media Contact

Federica Sgorbissa
pressoffice@sissa.it
39-040-374-7644

 @sissaschool

http://www.sissa.it 

Federica Sgorbissa | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: 3-D DNA DNA strand SISSA cell nucleus chromosomes experimental data genetic makeup nuclear DNA

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>