Scientists have generated and begun to analyze the rat genome, paving the way for comparisons with the two other mammalian genomes sequenced so far -- human, and mouse. The primary results of the Rat Genome Sequencing Project Consortium (RGSPC) are presented in the April 1 issue of Nature, and an additional thirty manuscripts describing further detailed analyses are contained in the April issue of the journal Genome Research.
The cover image of Genome Research (see end of release) was produced by University of California, San Diego professors Pavel Pevzner and Glenn Tesler and their co-author on the journal paper, Guillaume Bourque of the University of Montreal. It depicts the course of evolution for the X chromosome in humans, rats and mice from a common ancestor over 80 million years ago and, for the first time, reconstructs the genomic architecture of mammalian ancestors. “It contributes to the solution of the so-called original synteny problem in biology,” said Pevzner, the Ronald R. Taylor Professor of Computer Science at UCSDs Jacobs School of Engineering. “While scientists routinely find bones that lead to often unrealistic reconstructions of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals on movie screens and in toy stores, this is the first rigorous reconstruction of the genomic makeup of our mammalian ancestors.”
Pevzner and Tesler are among the more than 200 co-authors of the Nature article, and expanded on their part of the research in a Genome Research paper with Bourque titled “Reconstructing the Genomic Architecture of Ancestral Mammals: Lessons from Human, Mouse and Rat Genomes.” “Having the third genome allows us to reconstruct the putative genomic architecture of our mammalian ancestor,” said Pevzner. “Our contribution has been to demonstrate how to look at the human, mouse and rat genomes -- each roughly three billion letters in length -- and then infer the evolutionary earthquakes that shaped their genomic architectures.”
Doug Ramsey | UCSD
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The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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