U of T Team Develops Mutated Yeast Strains To Aid Geneticists
University of Toronto microbiologists have used pattern recognition software to discover the function of yeast genes essential to cell life - knowledge that could help scientists determine what causes cells to die, as well as what they need to live.
"Given the similarities between the yeast and human genomes, our work should promote advances in genomics research in both yeast and humans," said Professor Timothy Hughes of U of T’s Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology, who led the research team.
A paper published in the July 9 issue of the journal Cell describes how the researchers engineered mutations to 700 of the 1,000 yeast genes that are essential to cell life. They analyzed the mutant strains by making several basic measurements -- cell size, cell shape and gene levels - and by evaluating a cell’s potential to grow in a variety of media. They then took these data and did computerized analysis of entire categories of genes in order to predict the functions of individual genes, applying a standard technique for pattern discovery used in fields ranging from marketing to face recognition.
"It’s similar to ordering a book from Amazon.com," said Hughes. "After you’ve placed an order, they use the information they’ve gathered to predict your likes and dislikes. The next time you log onto the computer, they extrapolate and suggest other books you might enjoy. They also could use the data to predict other things - for example, your age and your gender - which might, on the surface, seem unrelated to books."
"We’re hoping our use of this technique to predict the function of yeast genes is going to become a classical example of how to do this in biology."
To create each mutated strain, the researchers used a technique in which adding the drug doxycycline to the yeast cells disables an individual gene. This technique is a reliable alternative to the more common method of causing mutations by radiation, because the mutations are engineered rather than random.
The 700 yeast strains developed by Hughes’ team are now available commercially to other researchers and 300 more strains are under development. Yeast is a staple of genomic research because many human genes are similar to yeast genes.
This research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Genome Canada.
Timothy Hughes Elaine Smith
Department of Medical Genetics & Microbiology U of T Public Affairs
Timothy Hughes | University of Toronto
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...