Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unstable chromosome regions are the origin of yeast's brewing capacity

17.05.2010
'Genes living in the outskirts of chromosomes are more prone to duplication'

The ability of yeast cells to convert sugar to alcohol, the key process in the production of beer and wine, can be attributed to a remarkable evolutionary process. The genes that allow yeast to digest sugars in fruits and grains have been duplicated several times over the course of time – allowing for optimal conversion of different types of sugars (such as sucrose and maltose) into alcohol. The duplications arose because the genes for sugar processing are situated close to the unstable margin of the chromosome. The phenomenon appears not to be limited to alcohol production in yeast, but forms an important principle in the evolution of living organisms. The results are presented in a study by Kevin Verstrepen from K.U.Leuven and VIB, a life sciences institute in Flanders, Belgium, Andrew Murray from Harvard University, and Chris Brown, a joint student of Verstrepen and Murray.. The prominent journal Current Biology unveils the study.

Duplication of existing genes is an important evolutionary process

Living beings evolve generation after generation because their genetic material changes gradually. It remains a mystery how life, in a relatively short time, develops completely new properties. It is unlikely that they just appear out of nothing. Recent research, amongst others by VIB-scientists, showed that the duplication of existing genes can play a crucial role. One copy can retain the original function of the gene while the new copy may develop a new function. This can sometimes be very different from the original gene.

Living on the edge increases your chances of being duplicated

In the new study, Chris Brown, a PhD student in Verstrepen´s lab, shows that some genes that are closely located in the ends of the chromosomes, are duplicated more often. The ends of chromosomes, called subtelomeres, seem to function as evolutionary laboratories of our cells. New genes are continuously developed and tested in these "gene nurseries".

Duplication process is of great importance for beer yeast

It appears that duplication at the subtelomeres already occurred in the ancestor of our industrial beer and wine yeasts- Modern strains of beer yeast contain five to ten copies of a prehistoric gene that allows for some sugars to be digested. Each of these modern copies ensures that yeast can digest a particular sugar, and this is much faster than the prehistoric yeast. The massive duplications occurred probably around the Cretaceous era (66 to 145 million years ago). It was no coincidence that this involved the same period in which sweet fruits and grains developed. The duplication of the genes and the further evolution thereof, allowed yeast cells to digest the different sugars in the fruits. In this way, the subtelomeric "gene copying laboratory" ensured that yeasts were able to conquer a new niche. Interestingly, it seems likely that similar subtelomeric gene duplication also stimulates evolution and adaptation in higher organisms, including humans.

Joris Gansemans | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

Further reports about: Brown chromosomes evolutionary process living organism maltose sucrose

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches 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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>