Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research gaining momentum by silencing genes

18.10.2004


Along with five European academic laboratories, researchers from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) connected to Ghent University are accelerating the study of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Taking advantage of the new RNAi technology, they are able to study the function of genes with the aid of specially designed fragments that turn off the corresponding genes. The scientists are building a collection of such fragments in Arabidopsis. Their ultimate goal is to contribute to the elucidation of the functions of all the genes in this model organism. Furthermore, this collection will also benefit research into other organisms, namely humans and animals.

A model system for plants, animals and humans



Arabidopsis thaliana or the mouse-ear cress (a member of the mustard family) is a weed that is cultivated in numerous labs. Indeed, due to its genetic simplicity - it contains ’only’ 29,000 genes - it is the most widely studied plant. The DNA sequence of Arabidopsis has been known for several years, and scientists worldwide are now concentrating on the search for the genes and the function of the proteins involved. Not only will this lead to new insights into the functioning of plant cells, which is important for agriculture and nutrition, but it will also shed light on the role of animal and human genes. More and more, scientists are discovering that biological processes in animals and humans are comparable to processes in plants.

Recent technology for studying genes

At present, we know the function of only 5000 Arabidopsis genes - and scientists want to identify the function of the other 80% as quickly as possible. Until recently, they would have done this gene by gene, but research is rapidly evolving towards investigating multiple genes in parallel. Of course, new technologies are always needed to make these leaps, and RNAi is one such technology. This new technology makes it possible to prevent the production of a protein with a specifically designed fragment that turns off the coding gene. The removal of the protein then induces alterations in the plant during its development, and from these alterations researchers can deduce the function of the protein in question.

Collection available to everyone

Pierre Hilson and his colleagues have made the use of RNAi for the study of Arabidopsis genes a lot easier. In the context of the AGRIKOLA European project, they are working on a collection of ’inactivating’ fragments for all Arabidopsis genes. The current collection contains fragments designed to inactivate more than 20,000 different genes. This project will accelerate the study of the functions of the Arabidopsis genes - and thus of other living organisms. Scientists worldwide will soon be able to use the collection to study plant proteins in a highly targeted manner.

Sooike Stoops | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>