Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new way of looking at the human genome

17.06.2004


Under the EU Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) for Research and Development (2002-2006) 2.2 million Euros have been awarded to the 3DGENOME-research program. FP6 is one of the world’s largest research programmes, with a budget of 17.5 billion Euros, of which around 3 billion Euros is available for life sciences research. The main objective of the 3DGENOME program is to understand how the human genome, consisting of a number of very long DNA molecules that carry our genetic information, are coiled up inside our cells. By changing the way that DNA is folded, cells control the switching on and off genes, which are the units of genetic information. Results will help to understand errors in our genetic system that for instance result in tumour formation. The research program is conducted by a consortium of seven European partners and is coordinated by the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences of the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands.



The human cell orchestrates the activity of its about 35,000 genes in an extremely efficient and reliably way. These genes are bits of information on DNA. Each of our cells contains DNA molecules with a total length of 2 meters, folded inside a cell nucleus of only 1/100th of a millimetre diameter. This is comparable to packing 20 km of thin wire inside just a tennis ball. Evidently, the DNA thread is extremely folded inside a cell. This folding plays an important role in how a cell switches genes on and off, thereby deciding how the cell behaves. Folding decides whether a cell becomes a skin cell, a liver cell or a neuron, and whether a cell is healthy or sick.

The 3dgenome program should lead to a breakthrough in our understanding of how our genome functions. Using advanced microscopic techniques in combination with novel data analysis software, the consortium of European scientists intend to establish a three-dimensional map of the DNA fibre inside the human cell. This spatial structure will be related to patterns of switched off and stitched on genes along the DNA molecule.


Since it is very likely that the three-dimensional organisation of genomes is the same for all animals, the 3DGENOME program, in addition to human cells, incorporates studies on cells from the mouse and from fruit flies, two well-studied organisms. Each of these organisms has specific technical advantages, such as (i) detailed information about how genes are arranged on the DNA and which genes are switched on and off, (ii) technology to visualise DNA inside the cell using state-of-the-art microscopy, and (iii) methods to analyse microscopy images and to obtain information about the three-dimensional folding of DNA.

Frans Stravers | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>