Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Transformational Fruit Fly Genome Catalog Completed

09.02.2012
Scientists searching for the genomics version of the holy grail – more insight into predicting how an animal’s genes affect physical or behavioral traits – now have a reference manual that should speed gene discoveries in everything from pest control to personalized medicine.

In a paper published today in Nature, North Carolina State University genetics researchers team with scientists from across the globe to describe the new reference manual – the Drosophila melanogaster Reference Panel, or DGRP.

Dr. Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds and Distinguished University Professor of Genetics and one of the paper’s lead authors, says that the reference panel contains 192 lines of fruit flies that differ enormously in their genetic variation but are identical within each line, along with their genetic sequence data.

These resources are publicly available to researchers studying so-called quantitative traits, or characteristics that vary and are influenced by multiple genes – think of traits like aggression or sensitivity to alcohol. Mackay expects the reference panel will benefit researchers studying everything from animal evolution to animal breeding to fly models of disease.

Environmental conditions also affect quantitative traits. But studying the variations of these different characteristics, or phenotypes, of inbred fruit flies under controlled conditions, Mackay says, can greatly aid efforts to unlock the secrets of quantitative traits.

“Each fly line in the reference panel is essentially genetically identical, but each line is also a different sample of genetic variation among the population,” Mackay says. “So the lines can be shared among the research community to allow researchers to measure traits of interest.”

The Nature paper showed that, in general, many genes were associated with three quantitative traits studied in fruit flies – resistance to starvation stress, chill coma recovery time and startle response – and that the effects of these genes were quite large.

“Until now, we had the information necessary to understand what makes a fruit fly different from, say, a mosquito,” Mackay says. “Now we understand the genetic differences responsible for individual variation, or why one strain of flies lives longer or is more aggressive than another strain.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Human Genome Research Institute and the NVIDIA Foundation’s “Compute the Cure” program. Dr. Eric Stone, associate professor of genetics at NC State, is also a lead author of the paper, along with colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain.

Note to editors: An abstract of the paper follows.

The Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel
Authors: Trudy F.C. Mackay, Eric A. Stone, Michael M. Magwire, Mary Anna Carbone, Robert R.H. Anholt, Laura Duncan, Zeke Harris, Katherine W. Jordan, Faye Lawrence, Richard F. Lyman, Lavanya Turlapati, Akihiko Yamamoto, North Carolina State University; Stephen Richards, Baylor College of Medicine; Antonio Barbadilla, Campus Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona; et al

Published: Feb. 9, 2012, in Nature

Abstract: A major challenge of biology is understanding the relationship between molecular genetic variation and variation in quantitative traits, including fitness. This relationship determines our ability to predict phenotypes from genotypes and to understand how evolutionary forces shape variation within and between species. Previous efforts to dissect the genotype-phenotype map were based on incomplete genotypic information. Here, we describe the Drosophila melanogaster Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP), a community resource for analysis of population genomics and quantitative traits. The DGRP consists of fully sequenced inbred lines derived from a natural population. Population genomic analyses reveal reduced polymorphism in centromeric autosomal regions and the X chromosome, evidence for positive and negative selection, and rapid evolution of the X chromosome. Many variants in novel genes, most at low frequency, are associated with quantitative traits and explain a large fraction of the phenotypic variance. The DGRP facilitates genotype-phenotype mapping using the power of Drosophila genetics.

Media Contacts: Dr. Trudy Mackay, 919/515-5810 or trudy_mackay@ncsu.edu
Mick Kulikowski, News Services, 919/515-8387 or mick_kulikowski@ncsu.edu

Dr. Trudy Mackay | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>