Professor Luis Corrochano Peláez, from the Genetics Department of the University of Seville, and his PhD student Julio Rodríguez Romero, in collaboration with researchers of the Duke University of USA and the University of Salamanca, have identified a gene that allows Phycomyces fungus to react to light and orientate their growth toward it. Results will be published in the prestigious journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA” next week. These researches are part of the scientific activity of the Genetics Department of the University of Seville, which has a long-standing tradition in basic research and research applied to the genetics of microorganisms.
Phycomyces blakesleeanus fungus is used in labs to research into the mechanisms that allow living creatures to relate to their environment. The fruiting body of the Phycomyces is sensitive to several environmental stimulus, such us the light, gravity, wind and the presence of close obstacles that modify the speed and direction of its growth. Like plants, Phycomyces grows in the direction of light, against gravity.
In the 1960’s, Nobel prize-winner Max Delbrück started in his lab, in the California Institute of Technology, to search for night-blind mutants of Phycomyces whose fruiting bodies could not move toward the light. These mutants were called mad in honour to Max Delbrück, whose birth centenary is this year, and were used to research into the mechanisms responsible for sight.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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