Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Saint Louis University, University of Toronto biologists help decode turtle genome

24.04.2013
Discoveries may offer insights into the management of some human health disorders

A group of 50 researchers from around the globe, including biology professors Daniel Warren, Ph.D., from Saint Louis University and Leslie Buck, Ph.D., from the University of Toronto, have spent the last several years sequencing and analyzing the genome of the western painted turtle and the results of their research point to some important conclusions that may be important for human health.

The western painted turtle, one of the most widespread and well-studied turtles, exhibits an extraordinary ability to adapt to extreme physiological conditions and it is that adaptability that might have a direct relevance to human health conditions, particularly those related to oxygen deprivation and hypothermia and longevity.

Warren, an assistant professor in SLU's Department of Biology, shared the background of the research and its importance in medical treatments.

"This remarkable turtle has the ability to survive without oxygen longer than any other air-breathing vertebrate for as long as four months when they overwinter under the ice of their frozen ponds," Warren said. "Many human diseases, however, involve tissue damage caused by oxygen deprivation, such as occurs with stroke and heart attack."

"Our contribution to the Genome Biology study was to carry out an experiment here at SLU, to identify genes in the turtle's heart and brain that might account for the abilities to avoid this tissue damage," Warren added. "We focused our efforts especially on those genes that are also present in our own human genome."

Buck, associate chair of Graduate Studies in the department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto, and co-investigator on the study, said the painted turtle's ability to survive without oxygen has important implications related to the use of anesthetics on human patients.

"The turtle's brain naturally survives without oxygen (anoxia) during this period and this makes it a great model to study the ways we can protect human brain from the debilitating effects of stroke," Buck said. "And there's more. When faced with low oxygen conditions it rapidly lowers metabolism by over 90 percent, similar to the effect of anesthetics during human surgeries. It may therefore also be a natural anesthetic model in which we can explore safer forms on anesthesia."

"Our RNA sequencing data in the genome paper reveals over 13000 genes in common with humans and 19 genes that increase their activity in turtle brain and 23 in heart following 24 hours of anoxia. One even increases 130 fold above controls giving us excellent leads to follow in our study of the mechanisms underlying natural anoxia tolerance," Buck added.

Additional information on the study is available at: http://genomebiology.com/2013/14/3/R28/abstract.

Learn more about Daniel Warren, Ph.D. -
http://www.slu.edu/department-of-biology-home/faculty-and-staff/dr-daniel-warren
Learn more about Leslie Buck, Ph.D. -
http://www.csb.utoronto.ca/faculty/buck-leslie
For media inquiries or to schedule an interview with Dr. Warren, call Jeanette Grider in SLU's Department of University Communications at 314-977-2538. To schedule an interview with Dr. Buck, call Christine Elias, Associate Director of Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto at 416-946-5499.

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 14,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis, Missouri and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of nearly 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Jeanette Grider
Saint Louis University
Department of University Communications
Phone: 314-977-2538
Email: jgrider1@slu.edu
Christine Elias
Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto
Communications Office
416-946-5499
Email: christine.elias@utoronto.ca
PHOTOS:
http://www.slu.edu/pr/images/buck_toronto_turtle_160.jpg
http://www.slu.edu/pr/images/warren_dan_turtle_135.jpg
http://www.slu.edu/pr/images/warren_dan_turtle_160.jpg
http://www.slu.edu/pr/images/warren_dan_turtle_450.jpg
Photo Credit: Steve Dolan

Christine Elias | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utoronto.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>