Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research gaining momentum by silencing genes

18.10.2004


Along with five European academic laboratories, researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected to Ghent University are accelerating the study of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Taking advantage of the new RNAi technology, they are able to study the function of genes with the aid of specially designed fragments that turn off the corresponding genes. The scientists are building a collection of such fragments in Arabidopsis. Their ultimate goal is to contribute to the elucidation of the functions of all the genes in this model organism. Furthermore, this collection will also benefit research into other organisms, namely humans and animals.

A model system for plants, animals and humans



Arabidopsis thaliana or the mouse-ear cress (a member of the mustard family) is a weed that is cultivated in numerous labs. Indeed, due to its genetic simplicity - it contains ’only’ 29,000 genes - it is the most widely studied plant. The DNA sequence of Arabidopsis has been known for several years, and scientists worldwide are now concentrating on the search for the genes and the function of the proteins involved. Not only will this lead to new insights into the functioning of plant cells, which is important for agriculture and nutrition, but it will also shed light on the role of animal and human genes. More and more, scientists are discovering that biological processes in animals and humans are comparable to processes in plants.

Recent technology for studying genes

At present, we know the function of only 5000 Arabidopsis genes - and scientists want to identify the function of the other 80% as quickly as possible. Until recently, they would have done this gene by gene, but research is rapidly evolving towards investigating multiple genes in parallel. Of course, new technologies are always needed to make these leaps, and RNAi is one such technology. This new technology makes it possible to prevent the production of a protein with a specifically designed fragment that turns off the coding gene. The removal of the protein then induces alterations in the plant during its development, and from these alterations researchers can deduce the function of the protein in question.

Collection available to everyone

Pierre Hilson and his colleagues have made the use of RNAi for the study of Arabidopsis genes a lot easier. In the context of the AGRIKOLA European project, they are working on a collection of ’inactivating’ fragments for all Arabidopsis genes. The current collection contains fragments designed to inactivate more than 20,000 different genes. This project will accelerate the study of the functions of the Arabidopsis genes - and thus of other living organisms. Scientists worldwide will soon be able to use the collection to study plant proteins in a highly targeted manner.

Sooike Stoops | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

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...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

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...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

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...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

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...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>