This discovery is of significant interest to the international scientific community. The results are published in this week’s edition of the American journal Nature Genetics.
The authors describe the discovery of a novel class of mutations that disrupt the function of a gene and thereby cause a specific phenotype. The mutation created the appearance of an “illegitimate” microRNA (miRNA) recognition site in a gene that did not have it in its normal form. In this study, the gene concerned is the myostatin. This gene is expressed in the skeletal muscle and the function of the derived protein is to inhibit muscular growth. The mutation discovered among sheep exposed a recognition site for two miRNAs that are highly expressed in the muscle. In “mutant” animals, these miRNAs will consequently target the myostatin gene and block its translation. The result is that the absence of myostatin provokes a muscular hypertrophy among Texel sheep.
A mechanism observed in other species as well
However, Michel Georges’ team investigated further. Pursuing the study using bioinformatic approaches, the team identified polymorphisms (common mutations) among humans and mice that are likely to act in the same way as they do in the Texel breed. It appears, therefore, that this new kind of mutation, discovered while studying sheep, could contribute significantly to the phenotypic variation observed in many species – among which humans – including the hereditary predisposition to various diseases.
Researchers at ULg have thus produced a database available online that compiles all these mutations (the Patrocles database: http://www.patrocles.org). It will assist researchers around the world in discovering similar phenomena for other phenotypes including hereditary diseases.
For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another
27.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)
New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
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13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.06.2017 | Life Sciences
27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences