Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unlocking The Secrets Of Evolution

07.03.2003


Exactly fifty years ago, Watson and Crick revealed the structure of DNA, unleashing a scientific revolution. On the anniversary of that momentous discovery, the world’s leading science journal, Nature, will publish new and groundbreaking genetic research by Bangor University scientist, Dr. Isabelle Colson. Isabelle is an expert in evolutionary biology, the study of how life evolves, and for 18 months she was an invaluable part of a Manchester-based team studying mutation in yeast - a seemingly simple organism, but one that can shed light on many aspects of evolution. Isabelle’s group were the first scientists ever to see, actually happening, one of the ways yeasts can mutate into new species. On March 6th, Nature will reveal how Isabelle and her colleagues unlocked the secrets of one of evolution’s key mechanisms.



Scientists had long suspected that they knew how yeasts, like other organisms, mutate and evolve into new species - but they’d never seen it in action. Isabelle and her team took a small yeast with a big name, Saccharomyces ‘sensu stricto’, and actually caused it to mutate by shuffling around large chunks of genetic information. This swapping of information, or ‘translocation’, occurs naturally, and by learning how to mimic the process, scientists are closer to understanding how one species changes into another. This is one of the key studies of evolutionary biology, with important practical implications, like understanding how bacteria evolve antibiotic resistance.

So how does the ‘translocation’ lead to new species of yeast? Just as all newspaper stories are made of words, all life on Earth is made of genes - little pieces of genetic information that form the ‘blueprints’ for life. And, just as words naturally come in paragraphs, collections of genes are grouped together into bigger units called chromosomes. When the scientists cause translocation, entire chunks of one chromosome swap
places with chunks of another chromosome, almost like sentences switching place from one paragraph to another. And, just as you would expect that swap to radically change the meaning of the paragraphs in


your newspaper, this genetic translocation dramatically changes the ‘meaning’ of the yeast’s genetic code, even creating new species in the right circumstances.

For years, Isabelle has been passionate about the study of evolution. “When I was 7” she notes, “I wanted to be a palaeontologist. I was obsessed with dinosaurs, and it all started from there.” Having shone a torch into the inner workings of evolution itself, Isabelle would probably agree that she’s come a long way.

Elinor Elis-Williams | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity
30.09.2016 | Aalto University

nachricht The structure of the BinAB toxin revealed: one small step for Man, a major problem for mosquitoes!
30.09.2016 | CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-Ever 3D Printed Excavator Project Advances Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing R&D

Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.

Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications...

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Paper – Panacea Green Infrastructure?

30.09.2016 | Event News

HLF: From an experiment to an establishment

29.09.2016 | Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

First-Ever 3D Printed Excavator Project Advances Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing R&D

30.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

New Technique for Finding Weakness in Earth’s Crust

30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences

Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity

30.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>