Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Searching for Genes Behind a Trait

26.03.2010
A method pioneered to find the genetic basis of human diseases also holds promise for locating the genes behind important traits in plants, according to a study published online March 24 by the journal Nature.

A large team led by biologists at the University of Southern California carried out what one author called “the first extensive use” of genome-wide association (GWA) in a plant species. The study located dozens of genes that may determine key traits such as flowering time and disease resistance.

The study broke new ground for two reasons: the authors studied natural variation of 107 different traits – a far higher number than in previous studies – in nearly 200 strains of a common weed collected from all over the world; and advances in genetic analysis enabled the authors to check the genome for mutations at many more points.

“The useful applications to agriculture, biofuel production and potentially changing and challenging plant growth conditions are vast,” said Susanna Atwell, a co-first author and postdoctoral researcher at the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

“This data set and methodology holds the potential to determine genes involved in natural variation in metabolite levels, biomass, flowering time, salt or heavy metal tolerance and disease resistance, to name but a few.”

In this study, the authors compared the genomes of up to 192 families of Arabidopsis thaliana, a plant widely studied by geneticists. The comparison took place at 250,000 pre-selected locations in the genome.

The comparison allowed the authors to identify parts of the genome that may contain genes responsible for observed variations in a given trait such as flowering time.

Since the comparison does not guarantee that a gene causes a particular trait, any genes identified through genome-wide association need to be tested further. Team members now are studying about 60 previously unknown genes to confirm their predicted function.

“GWA mapping is a faster method for locating causal genes as the genes are located to a smaller region than previous mapping techniques I have used,” Atwell said. “Our data set does a good job of locating previously known ones, so we have confidence that the novel genes that are also identified will also be real.”

Atwell expects the study to become a major resource for the community of geneticists working on A. thaliana, which numbers about 5,000 laboratories worldwide.

The Nature study culminates years of work by scientists led by senior author Magnus Nordborg, formerly of the molecular and computational biology department at USC College and now based at the Gregor Mendel Institute in Vienna, Austria.

“It’s been Magnus’ pet project for a very long time,” Atwell said.

Atwell’s co-first authors were her fellow postdoc Glenda Williams and USC graduate students Yu Huang and Bjarni Vilhjalmsson.

More than 30 other scientists contributed to the study, representing 10 institutions: the Keck School of Medicine of USC; the University of Chicago; Purdue University; the University of Sciences and Technologies in Lille, France; the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; The Salk Institute for Biological Studies; the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England; the Max Planck Institute in Cologne, Germany; Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich; and the Max Planck Institute in Tubingen, Germany.

The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health supported the research, with additional support from several institutions, agencies and foundations.

Carl Marziali | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Hunting pathogens at full force
22.03.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

nachricht A 155 carat diamond with 92 mm diameter
22.03.2017 | Universität Augsburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>