Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bread Mold Yields A Genome First For Filamentous Fungi; Neurospora’s 10,000 Genes Include RIPs That Limit New Genes

Date:
April 28, 2003
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
With more than 10,000 genes amid DNA strands of nearly 40 million base pairs, the first genome of a filamentous fungus has been sequenced through the cooperative efforts of a community of more than 70 scientists, culminating a two-year, $5 million effort supported by the National Science Foundation. At the center of this latest genetics achievement is a filamentous fungus, a bread mold, a life form easily overlooked in the shadow of the Human Genome Project.

ARLINGTON, Va. -- With more than 10,000 genes amid DNA strands of nearly 40 million base pairs, the first genome of a filamentous fungus has been sequenced through the cooperative efforts of a community of more than 70 scientists, culminating a two-year, $5 million effort supported by the National Science Foundation. The work is reported in this week's issue of Nature, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of that journal's publication of the structure of DNA.

Related Articles


At the center of this latest genetics achievement is a filamentous fungus, a bread mold, a life form easily overlooked in the shadow of the Human Genome Project. To biologists, however, it is Neurospora crassa, an organism of historic and enduring value as a model organism.

More than a decade before the structure of DNA was determined, two biologists focusing on Neurospora as a model genetic organism first established that genes provide the information for the creation of proteins. For their "one gene, one enzyme" hypothesis linking genes to biochemical function, the two scientists-- George Wells Beadle and Edward Lawri Tatum--received the Nobel Prize in 1941.

"The legacy of over 70 years of research, coupled with the availability of molecular and genetic tools, offers enormous potential for continued discovery," write the authors of the current Nature article. They call their genome sequence a "high quality draft," covering pretty much all but the 2 to 3 percent in "unusual genomic regions…that cannot be assembled readily with available techniques."

An organism's genome consists of the entire genetic code held in its DNA. With more than 5000 papers on Neurospora published in the past 30 years, having the genome now allows many previous biological studies to be seen in a new light.

Though initially billed as "not a research project, but a high throughput production effort," the sequencing effort nevertheless yielded new insights into light sensitivity, fungal growth, circadian rhythms, calcium-release mechanisms, and other basic cellular phenomena.

It also shed new light on the production of compounds called "secondary metabolites," such as pigments, antibiotics and toxins. The fungal world, with more than 250,000 species and inhabitants in every ecosystem on earth, produces a vast array of these small, bioactive compounds.

Fungi--slime molds and mushrooms among them--are used for food and for the production of industrial chemicals and enzymes. They also rot wood, damage fabric, obscure optics and, as pathogens, injure animals and plants.

Charting Neurospora's DNA sequence allowed scientists to examine a curious genetic mechanism unique to fungi known as repeat induced point mutation, or RIP. First discovered in Neurospora in the 1980s, the RIP process detects and mutates whole sections of DNA where it finds a duplication in the DNA, a condition that otherwise often leads to the creation of new genes. The authors suggest that "RIP has a powerful impact in suppressing the creation of these new genes or partial genes" and it may have "virtually arrested" the further evolution of Neurospora.

According to Maryanna Henkart, director for NSF's Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, the evolution of the Neurospora sequencing effort itself has been driven by a sense of community among those who study the mold.

The first genome project on Neurospora began in 1995 under a five year NSF grant to the University of New Mexico to improve research opportunities for minorities. It involved 36 students preparing and sequencing the DNA of some specific genes. Most were Hispanic or Native American. The authors of the project's first paper included 17 undergraduates, several of whom are now with leading genome institutes.

"In 2000, the greater Neurospora community mobilized to find a way to get the complete genome sequence done," said Henkart. Teamed with Bruce Birren of the Whitehead Institute at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they submitted an ambitious, ultimately successful, proposal.

Begun in September 2000, the project released its first batch of sequence data on Feb. 14, 2001, with additional segments subsequently released.

By its completion, it had involved collaborators from more than 30 universities and research groups, representing more than 10 U.S. states and six countries.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Bread Mold Yields A Genome First For Filamentous Fungi; Neurospora’s 10,000 Genes Include RIPs That Limit New Genes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030428082142.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2003, April 28). Bread Mold Yields A Genome First For Filamentous Fungi; Neurospora’s 10,000 Genes Include RIPs That Limit New Genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030428082142.htm
National Science Foundation. "Bread Mold Yields A Genome First For Filamentous Fungi; Neurospora’s 10,000 Genes Include RIPs That Limit New Genes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030428082142.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins