Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 


Scientists discover new method of gene identification

Findings will help our genetic understanding of dangerous new viruses

Scientists studying the genes and proteins of human cells infected with a common cold virus have identified a new gene identification technique that could increase the genetic information we hold on animals by around 70 to 80 per cent. The findings, published in Nature Methods, could revolutionise our understanding of animal genetics and disease, and improve our knowledge of dangerous viruses such as SARS that jump the species barrier from animals to humans.

Modern advances in genome sequencing — the process of determining the genetic information and variation controlling everything from our eye colour to our vulnerability to certain diseases — has enabled scientists to uncover the genetic codes of a wide range of animals, plants and insects.

Until now, correctly identifying the genes and proteins hidden inside the genetic material of a newly sequenced species has been a monumental undertaking requiring the careful observation and cataloguing of vast amounts of data about the thousands of individual genes that make up any given animal, plant or insect.

Dr David Matthews, the study's lead author and a Senior Lecturer in Virology at the University of Bristol's School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, said: "Gene identification is mainly led by computer programmes which search the genome for regions that look like genes already identified in other animals or humans. However, this type of analysis is not always effective."

The Bristol team has now discovered a more effective way of detecting the genetic information present in animals, plants and insects using cutting-edge analysis tools to directly observe the genes and all the proteins they make.

To prove their technique worked, the researchers conducted an experiment to see how good their process was at gene discovery. Human cells were infected with a well-understood common cold bug to mimic a newly discovered virus. These infected cells were then analysed using the technique as if they were cells from a newly sequenced organism infected with a newly discovered virus.

The resulting list of "discovered" genes and proteins, when compared to the genetic information already known about humans and cold virus, proved extremely successful and demonstrated the power of this method.

A similar analysis of hamster cells provided directly observed evidence for the existence of thousands of genes and proteins in hamsters in a single relatively inexpensive experiment. Direct evidence for the existence of almost all of theses genes and proteins in hamsters is not available in the 'official' lists of hamster genes and proteins.

Dr Matthews added: "These findings open up the potential to take powerful analysis tools currently used to study human diseases and apply them to study any animal, insect or even plants – something previously either very challenging or simply not possible. This technique will also make it easier and much more efficient for scientists to study anything from farm animals and their diseases to insect pests that damage crops.

"In recent years, a number of dangerous new viruses have been transmitted from animals to humans including Influenza, SARS, Ebola, Hendra and Nipah viruses. Earlier this year three people became seriously ill and two of them died when they contracted a new SARS-like virus in the Middle East which is thought to have come directly from bats.

"Why bats harbour these viruses with limited ill effect is a mystery as the genetic make-up of these creatures is poorly understood. We are starting to apply our technique to laboratory grown bat cells to analyse the genetic and protein content of bats to gain more insight into their genetics and to understand how they are able to apparently co-exist with these viruses which all too often prove fatal in humans."

Caroline Clancy | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: SARS genetic code genetic information genome sequencing human cell proteins

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Bewegungskontrolle mit Fotopigmenten

Forscher der Universität Göttingen entdecken zusätzliche Funktion von Opsinen

Die Fotorezeptoren in den Augen von Tieren fangen Licht mithilfe von Fotopigmenten ein. Forscher der Universität Göttingen haben nun entdeckt, dass diese...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Neue Methode der Röntgenholographie

Röntgenholographie im Flug - Eine neue Methode der Röntgenholographie erzeugt Bilder von Partikeln in der Gasphase

Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler in der Arbeitsgruppe von Prof. Thomas Möller am Institut für Optik und Atomare Physik der TU Berlin ist es gemeinsam...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>



Industrie & Wirtschaft

Ultraschneller Funk und Chip Design bei der DATE-Konferenz 2018 in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Arktis, Antarktis und Hochgebirge unter Druck

16.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Internationale Spring-Campus-Konferenz an der Freien Universität Berlin vom 9. bis 13. April 2018

15.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Per Erbgut-Schalter Alzheimer aufhalten

16.03.2018 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Mobiler Roboter pflegt Fassadenbegrünung

16.03.2018 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

UV-Kugel macht Lackieren einfach und schnell

16.03.2018 | Verfahrenstechnologie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics