Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unlocking The Secrets Of Evolution

07.03.2003


Exactly fifty years ago, Watson and Crick revealed the structure of DNA, unleashing a scientific revolution. On the anniversary of that momentous discovery, the world’s leading science journal, Nature, will publish new and groundbreaking genetic research by Bangor University scientist, Dr. Isabelle Colson. Isabelle is an expert in evolutionary biology, the study of how life evolves, and for 18 months she was an invaluable part of a Manchester-based team studying mutation in yeast - a seemingly simple organism, but one that can shed light on many aspects of evolution. Isabelle’s group were the first scientists ever to see, actually happening, one of the ways yeasts can mutate into new species. On March 6th, Nature will reveal how Isabelle and her colleagues unlocked the secrets of one of evolution’s key mechanisms.



Scientists had long suspected that they knew how yeasts, like other organisms, mutate and evolve into new species - but they’d never seen it in action. Isabelle and her team took a small yeast with a big name, Saccharomyces ‘sensu stricto’, and actually caused it to mutate by shuffling around large chunks of genetic information. This swapping of information, or ‘translocation’, occurs naturally, and by learning how to mimic the process, scientists are closer to understanding how one species changes into another. This is one of the key studies of evolutionary biology, with important practical implications, like understanding how bacteria evolve antibiotic resistance.

So how does the ‘translocation’ lead to new species of yeast? Just as all newspaper stories are made of words, all life on Earth is made of genes - little pieces of genetic information that form the ‘blueprints’ for life. And, just as words naturally come in paragraphs, collections of genes are grouped together into bigger units called chromosomes. When the scientists cause translocation, entire chunks of one chromosome swap
places with chunks of another chromosome, almost like sentences switching place from one paragraph to another. And, just as you would expect that swap to radically change the meaning of the paragraphs in


your newspaper, this genetic translocation dramatically changes the ‘meaning’ of the yeast’s genetic code, even creating new species in the right circumstances.

For years, Isabelle has been passionate about the study of evolution. “When I was 7” she notes, “I wanted to be a palaeontologist. I was obsessed with dinosaurs, and it all started from there.” Having shone a torch into the inner workings of evolution itself, Isabelle would probably agree that she’s come a long way.

Elinor Elis-Williams | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs
18.04.2019 | University of Hawaii at Manoa

nachricht New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection
18.04.2019 | Polytechnique Montréal

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>