Scientists have churned out genome sequences for everything from fungi to dogs to chimps, and they wont be letting up any time soon. However, because a genome sequence is little more than a static list of chemicals--like, say, a parts list for a 747 airplane--scientists are increasingly turning their attention to figuring out how living organisms put their genes to work. Using yeast as a testing ground, researchers at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have for the first time revealed all the "controlling elements" of an entire genome--findings that may soon contribute to a new way of understanding human health and disease. "This is really the next stage in human genome research," says Whitehead Member Richard Young, who headed the project together with Whitehead Fellow Ernest Fraenkel and MIT Computer Scientist David Gifford.
Key to understanding how the genome is controlled are gene regulators, also known as transcription factors. These small molecules intermittently land on a region of DNA, close to a particular gene, and then switch that gene on. They can also influence the amount of protein that the gene will produce. Many diseases, such as diabetes and cancer, are associated with mutated gene regulators, which is one reason why scientists are so interested in them.
The problem is that very few of these regulators have been identified in any organism. Locating their landing sites is essential to identifying their function, and therein lies the rub: Gene regulators are hard to find. They typically just land on a small stretch of DNA, do their job, and then take off again. And owing to the vastness of the genome, locating just one gene regulator with conventional lab tools can take many years. The Whitehead/MIT team, in the September 2 issue of the journal Nature, report developing a method for scanning an entire genome and quickly identifying the precise landing sites for these regulators.
David Cameron | EurekAlert!
Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals
21.02.2018 | University of Chicago
The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally
21.02.2018 | Technische Universität München
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences