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.
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In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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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.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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