As members of an international research consortium, a group of GSF scientists led Randolph B Caldwell and Jean-Marie Buerstedde contributed to the annotation of the complete chicken genome. This first genome sequence of a bird is not only of great importance for research projects with chickens, but it will also lead to a better understanding of the previously decoded human genome.
Originally, the GSF research project aimed at identifying active genes in a particularly interesting chicken B cell line DT40. However, when the US Department of Agriculture approved funding for the sequencing of the chicken genome two years ago, an international consortium was rapidly formed by scientists from the USA, Europe and China to coordinate the research activities. While Washington University at St. Louis in the USA sequenced the genome of the Red Jungle Fowl, the ancestor of todays domestic chicken, the GSF team worked closely with two English groups from Hinxton and Manchester on the definition of the chicken gene sequences. Genes constitute only a small proportion of the genome of vertebrates, but they are extremely important since they determine the amino acid sequences of all proteins and thus the structure and regulatory mechanisms of cells and organs. In the first step, genes in a newly sequenced genome are provisionally identified with the help of computer assisted search programs. In order to test the reliability of the computer predictions, the team from the Institute of Molecular Radiation Biology decided to sequence over new 2000 genes – approximately 10% of the total estimated chicken genes. From the start, the project’s focus was on quality not quantity. Caldwell succeeded in training and motivating 30 work students from the Munich universities to sequence and assemble the gene sequences and then check them by comparing them to known genes from other animals. In addition, thousands of short gene tags were identified in order to verify suspected genes. These investigations showed that the computer generated gene predictions have many inaccuracies, especially at the start and end regions of the genes, which still have to be corrected by follow-up projects.
Michael van den Heuvel | alfa
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
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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.
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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...
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.
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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...
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