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:8/14/2019)... ... August 14, 2019 , ... Gateway Genomics , ... children, announces inclusion in the 38th annual Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest ... To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2015. ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... , ... August 06, 2019 , ... ... stem cell manufacturing with clinical, regulatory and GMP manufacturing experience. In November ... (PSC). With extensive regulatory experience and one of the first ...
(Date:8/4/2019)... N.J. (PRWEB) , ... August 02, 2019 , ... ... to assist the life science industry in advancing the development of medical therapies, ... been recognized by PharmaVOICE magazine as one of the “100 Most Inspiring People ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/14/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... August 13, 2019 , ... ... Colorado to focus on prepackaged mobile phases for QC laboratories. After gaining a ... from its laboratory sciences approach into a valued supplier of manufacturing processing solutions, ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... August 06, 2019 , ... ... Radio (LSMR) have joined forces in launching the biweekly SDBN BUZZ podcast focused ... growth. SDBN BUZZ podcast will also serve to promote the region and attract ...
(Date:8/6/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... August 06, 2019 , ... ... Illinois University Edwardsville for the launch of a community project that will engage ... three-year grant supports the project, entitled “A Youth-Led Citizen Science Network for Community ...
(Date:7/26/2019)... ... July 25, 2019 , ... ... off-the-record collaboration and dialogue, today announces its Boston BD conference to ... part of Biotech Week Boston , the event provides an opportunity for ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: