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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

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

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>