"Analysing so many strains has helped us to bring the small branches of Darwin's 'Tree of Life' into focus," said Dr Steve James of the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) at the Institute of Food Research.
"We can sift through billions of DNA bases to clearly spot a wild yeast or the mosaic genome of a recent hybrid," says Dr Ian Roberts, leader of the NCYC research team and the collection's curator.
"This is a valuable test bed for the 1000 genomes project, in which the genomes of 1000 people are being sequenced," said Professor Ed Louis from the University of Nottingham. "This number of organisms has never been sequenced before."
The basic machinery of yeast is surprisingly similar to that of humans, and the project is already helping experts to develop the tools necessary for studying human genetic variation. Yeast can also be used to develop and test new drugs, such as for cancer.
The analysis to be published in Nature on Wednesday enables the scientists to study genetics in much finer detail than was ever possible for Darwin. They are able to see the differences within a species and use this knowledge in understanding yeast biodiversity and exploiting it for human benefit.
"Amongst other things, this dataset will help us to understand how yeast probiotics contribute to gut health," says Dr Roberts.
The scientists analysed strains that have long been associated with human activity (such as baking, wine and sake) and wild strains, mostly from oak bark. They found that rather than all being derived from one common ancestor, humans have domesticated yeast strains at many points in history and from many different sources.
The association between man and yeast stretches back thousands of years. Recent findings from the Malaysian rainforest of chronic intake of alcoholic nectar by wild treeshrews suggest that the association between fermented beverages and primates is ancient and not exclusive to humans.
Yeast production is a multi-billion dollar industry for brewing, baking, biofuel production, probiotics, and medical applications. The strains used in this study are publicly available alongside several thousand other yeasts at www.ncyc.co.uk.
The collection is supported at the IFR by the BBSRC and seeks to make yeast strains and knowledge available to industrial and academic scientists in an equitable and efficient manner. The IFR is an Institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
Zoe Dunford | EurekAlert!
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research