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
Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland
Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
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22.09.2017 | Life Sciences