Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fission statement

21.02.2002


Alternative yeast joins genome party.


Budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae makes way for a new genome star.
© SPL



First there was budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). Partly responsible for scientists’ survival by fermenting their staples beer and bread, they polished off its DNA sequence back in 1997.

Now the minority fungus of lab culture - fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) - is fighting back. This week S. pombe enters the experimental big leagues, with the announcement of its completed genome1.


"For a while they could ignore us completely," says S. pombe supporter Paul Russell of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. "Now they can’t." With only one yeast genome, "you don’t get the full story", he argues.

The two yeasts may share a common name, but S. cerevisiae and S. pombe are only distant relatives, having diverged around a billion years ago. "They’ve gone their separate ways," says evolutionary biologist Russell Doolittle of the University of California, San Diego. As they have developed different ways to solve the basic problems of cell biology, there is still much to learn from the lesser cousin.

Whereas S. cerevisiae cells sprout offspring on their sides, S. pombe divides down the middle, like human cells. The genes and proteins that control this fundamental process in S. pombe were identified by Paul Nurse, the director general of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London. His feat won him a share of a 2001 Nobel Prize. What’s more, S. pombe rolls up its DNA into three large chromosomes, again more reminiscent of human cells than S. cerevisiae’s sixteen tiny ones.

Quality over quantity

S. pombe’s genome highlights the dissimilarity between the two yeasts. S. pombe has 4,824 genes - about 1,000 less than its cousin, and fewer even than some bacteria. This is evidence of quality over quantity, says Nurse, who led the sequencing effort.

Despite the yeasts’ differences, "it’s what they share that’s important", says Nurse. He hopes that comparing the two genomes will reveal exactly which parts are essential for yeast life.

Nurse’s team has already compared the S. pombe genome to another five completed ones - those of budding yeast, the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, the fruit fly (Drosophila), mustard weed (Arabidopsis thaliana) and humans - to find commonalities. All six organisms are ’eukaryotes’ - unlike bacteria, they package up their DNA and protein production into distinct compartments within the cell. The team identified a toolkit of some 60 genes that are essential for organizing and dividing eukaryotic cells.

Armed with the genome, S. pombe researchers hope to wade into its proteome, identifying all its proteins and how they interact. But once again, they’re playing catch-up - budding-yeast researchers are well on their way towards this goal.

Still, S. pombe scientists are used to struggling for recognition. And, despite a slow start and early rivalry, "no one would argue for only one yeast now", says Russell.

Scientists still harking after S. cervisiae’s brewing power may be won over by S. pombe’s potential. First described by Swiss researcher Lindner in 1893, he isolated it from East African millet beer - and named it after the Swahili word for beer, pombe.

References


  1. Wood, V. et al. The genome sequence of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Nature, 415, 871 - 880, (2002).


HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists propose new theory on Alzheimer's, amyloid connection
23.04.2019 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Research on TGN1412 – Fc:Fcγ receptor interaction: Strong binding does not mean strong effect
23.04.2019 | Paul-Ehrlich-Institut - Bundesinstitut für Impfstoffe und biomedizinische Arzneimittel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

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...

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

Simple and Fast Method for Radiolabelling Antibodies against Breast Cancer

23.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Quantum gas turns supersolid

23.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>