Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Surprising gene discovery

10.09.2004


Researchers at the University of Bergen are now able to present new information on the HOX genes – the “software” to design animals. The findings are published in today’s issue of Nature.



Some years ago researchers at the Sars Centre for Marine Molecular Biology at the UoB discovered the smallest genome among vertebrates in a tiny urochordate called Oikopleura dioica. The organism is five millimetres long and the genome consists of only 70 million megabases (Mb). Although the human genome is forty times bigger in comparison, this organism makes an excellent model. Studies of the compact oikopleura-genome may contribute to shedding new light on the human genome, and the researchers have made several surprising discoveries so far.

In the research that serves as the basis for a new article in Nature researchers at the Sars have examined the so-called HOX genes. These are important genes that are common for all animals. They play a role in controlling the development from the fertilised egg to the formation of the general body structure. In humans these genes ensure that the fingers and the ribs take the right shape and length.


From insects to human beings HOX genes are lined up tightly together in the chromosomes like pearls on a string. It is also believed that this grouping and sequence have had great significance for the genes to function in a proper and coordinated way. In other words, the HOX gene sitting first in line on the chromosome controls for example the development of the back part of the brain, the second gene is responsible for the upper part of the neck and so on along the body axis. However, when the researchers at the Sars Centre found these genes in Oikopleura dioica, it turned out that this was not the case here. These genes are not lined up tightly at all, but it still seems that their function is about the same as in animals where the genes are closer together.

“This discovery is interesting because it indicates that the generally accepted theory about the position and function of HOX genes is too simple. This work also has relevance for understanding the development of body shapes in the animal world in general” says Rolf Brudvik Edvardsen, research fellow, who – together with three Master’s students – is a co-author of the article “Hox cluster disintegration with persistent anteroposterior order of expression in Oikopleura dioica” in Nature.

The research is led by Professor Daniel Chourrout, director of the Sars Centre. The Centre has also cooperated with two genome centres in Paris and Berlin.

Professor Daniel Chourrout | alfa
Further information:
http://www.forskningsradet.no/
http://www.uib.no/fa/sars/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

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

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>