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 Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood
23.02.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer
23.02.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>