HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
UNC-CH scientist finds smallest number of genes needed for organism's survival

CHAPEL HILL - The minimum number of protein-producing genes a single-celled organism needs to survive and reproduce in the laboratory is somewhere between 265 and 350, according to new research directed by a top University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientist.

Using a technique known as global transposon mutagenesis, Dr. Clyde A. Hutchison III, professor of microbiology at the UNC-CH School of Medicine, and colleagues at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md., found that roughly a third of the genes in the disease-causing Mycoplasma genitalium were unnecessary for the bacterium's survival.

The technique -- a process of elimination -- involved randomly inserting bits of unrelated DNA into the middle of genes to disrupt their function and see if the organism thrived anyway.

Such research is a significant step forward in creating minimal, tailor-made life forms that can be further altered for such purposes as making biologically active agents for treating illness, Hutchison said. More immediately, it boosts scientists' basic understanding of the question, "What is life?"

"Cells that grow and divide after this procedure can have such disruptive insertions only in non-essential genes," he said. "Surprisingly, the minimal set of genes we found included about 100 whose function we don't yet understand. This finding calls into question the prevailing assumption that the basic molecular mechanisms underlying cellular life are understood, at least broadly."

Further work will explain those functions and create a more exact number of the minimal genes required to create life in the laboratory, the scientist said. New organisms bearing only the fewest genes needed to survive could have major commercial, social and ethical implications.

A report on the research appears in the Dec. 10 issue of the journal Science. Besides Hutchison, authors are Drs. Scott Peterson (Hutchison's former student), Steve Gill, Robin Cline, Owen
'"/>

Contact: David Williamson
David_Williamson@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
8-Dec-1999


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. UNC-CH study indicates special vaccines could prevent insulin-dependent diabetes
2. Feds give $16 million to UNC-CH scientists studying waste site problems
3. UNC-CH study offers new evidence that garlic protects against cancers
4. UNC-CH researchers to study social effects of N.C. hurricane
5. UNC-CH experiments reveal new pen can disinfect water
6. UNC-CH bus brings mobile lab, high-tech science focus to underserved N.C. schools
7. UNC-CH researchers to comb N.C. mountains for iron problem chiefly affecting Scots, Irish
8. UNC-CH biologists identify new order of marine fungi
9. UNC-CH scientists create worlds smallest pieces of ice
10. UNC-CH scientist encourages all to watch PBS series on microbes
11. Prestigious new nutrition research center being established at UNC-CH with NIH funding

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/18/2019)... MEDFORD, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... December 17, 2019 ... ... Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World at The Fletcher School, Tufts ... materials that will enhance the digital learning experience of students using Macmillan Learning’s ...
(Date:12/14/2019)... FALLS, Wis. (PRWEB) , ... December 11, 2019 ... ... label food ingredient solutions for the food and beverage industry won the 2019 ... commercialize new solutions to improve the rapidly growing plant-based foods category. Fiberstar who ...
(Date:12/4/2019)... ... 2019 , ... NDA Partners Chairman Carl Peck, MD ... with more than 20 years of experience working in the biopharmaceutical industry, has ... experience with a variety of biologic modalities including monoclonal antibodies, bi-specific antibodies, Fc ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/8/2020)... ... January 08, 2020 , ... RMA of Connecticut , ... grow their family, has announced that five of their Board-Certified reproductive endocrinologists have ... the renowned publishing company Castle Connolly has compiled the list of ...
(Date:1/7/2020)... ... , ... Vuja De Sciences (“Vuja De”), a biotechnology startup dedicated to developing ... Chand Khanna, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Onc), and Dr. Lee Helman, MD, to its Board ... to welcome Chand and Lee as new directors. They will be of great help ...
(Date:1/7/2020)... ... January 06, 2020 , ... Brilliant , maker of ... lighting with two new products: the Brilliant Smart Dimmer Switch and Brilliant Smart ... to affordably add high-end smart lighting to any room or throughout an entire ...
(Date:12/31/2019)... ... December 31, 2019 , ... Vici ... development lab in Maryland. Emphasis will be in expanding capabilities in ... Vici Health Sciences will be well positioned to meet the growing demand for ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: