Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UC Riverside scientists contribute to study that unveils genome sequence of bread mold


A Neurospora colony (bread mold). Photo credit: Douglas Ivey.

New knowledge will provide insight into organisms important to agriculture, medicine, the environment and commerce

In the April 24, 2003, issue of the journal Nature, scientists, including UC Riverside’s Katherine A. Borkovich, assistant professor in the department of plant pathology, and her postdoctoral fellow, Svetlana Krystofova, present the entire list of genes found in the Neurospora genome. (A genome is all the DNA in an organism, including its genes.) The scientists’ analysis promises many new insights into a variety of cellular processes, including environmental sensing, biological clocks, growth and development.

"Knowledge of the genes present in Neurospora will accelerate the analysis of both Neurospora and related fungal species," said Borkovich. "The genome sequence of the model system Neurospora provides a molecular insight into a large group of organisms important to agriculture, medicine, the environment and commerce."

Economic benefits of the research will emanate from the discovery of new targets for control of plant and animal pathogens and from the harnessing of filamentous fungi for the production of novel antibiotics and other secondary metabolites.

Neurospora, commonly known as the orange bread mold, was first described during an infestation of French bakeries in 1843. Domesticated as an experimental organism in the 1920s, Neurospora has been an important model system from that time until today.

"Neurospora is extremely tractable genetically and has been an important research organism for much of the last century," said Borkovich. "For example, the 1958 Nobel Prize winning work of George Beadle and Edward Tatum, which linked together the disciplines of genetics and biochemistry, or genes and proteins, was performed using Neurospora."

The natural habitat of Neurospora was originally thought to be limited to tropical and subtropical regions of the world. But wild isolates of Neurospora have been found in the temperate forests of North America in recent years. Neurospora sexual spores are well-known for their ability to germinate after a forest fire; the resulting colony then utilizes the burnt plant matter as a food source. For this reason, Neurospora can be seen growing in burnt sugar cane fields in hot and humid regions of the world.

Borkovich was involved in the genome analysis project with the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research (WICGR) in Cambridge, Mass. "I organized a group of Neurospora scientists from several institutions to analyze the large number of genes involved in growth and development," she said. "The data collected during the analysis phase has been archived and will form the basis of a detailed gene database at the WICGR."

The authors of the Nature paper determined the entire ~40 million basepair sequence of the genome of the filamentous fungus Neurospora. The genome sequence predicts about 10,000 genes, only 25% fewer than that found in the fruit fly Drosophila (14,000 genes) and 50% that of low estimates for the number of genes in humans. The Neurospora sequence is the first for a filamentous fungus and only the third fungal genome sequence that has been determined. The other two sequenced genomes, those of the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, are only about one-half the size of Neurospora.

Borkovich noted that the number of closely-related genes in the Neurospora genome is much lower than predicted from the genome size. "This likely results from the action of a phenomenon termed Repeat-Induced Point mutation or RIP," she explained. RIP is a process that mutates duplicated genes during the sexual cycle in Neurospora, and is thought to provide a defense mechanism to destroy foreign DNA, such as that from invading viruses.

"The impact of Repeat-Induced Point mutation on the genome sequence is important, as it provides a tool to study evolution in an organism that cannot evolve new genes by gene duplication," Borkovich said.

A grant from the National Science Foundation funded the sequencing done at the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research. The analysis performed in Borkovich’s laboratory was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The Department of Plant Pathology at the University of California, Riverside is committed to conducting research on the basic biology of plant pathogens; developing methods for the control of plant diseases; providing a quality education to its students; and, providing expert advice on plant diseases to the citizens of California and the world. The department has its roots in the Citrus Experiment Station, which was established in Riverside in 1906. Although the department has maintained a strength in the study of diseases of citrus, the interests of the faculty have expanded and now full-fledged programs also exist in the diseases of field crops, vegetables, ornamental plants, turfgrass, and subtropical trees.

Iqbal Pittalwala | UC Riverside
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

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...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

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...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>