Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Zooming In On Genetic Shuffling

Date:
July 13, 2008
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Summary:
Researchers have presented the most precise map of genetic recombination yet. A new study sheds light on fundamental questions about genetic shuffling and has implications for the tracking of disease genes and their inheritance.

Genetic recombination, the process by which sexually reproducing organisms shuffle their genetic material when producing germ cells, leads to offspring with a new genetic make-up and influences the course of evolution. In the current issue of Nature, researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] in Heidelberg, Germany, and the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute [EMBL-EBI] in Hinxton, UK, present the most precise map of genetic recombination yet.

The study sheds light on fundamental questions about genetic shuffling and has implications for the tracking of disease genes and their inheritance.

In order to generate germ cells, sexually reproducing organisms undergo a complex series of cell divisions [meiosis] that includes the shuffling of genetic material inherited from the two parents. Equivalent chromosomes from mother and father pair up and exchange sections of DNA in a process called crossover. In a different type of recombination, called non-crossover, a small piece of DNA is copied from one chromosome onto the other without reciprocal exchange leading to gene conversion. Non-crossovers are minute events with a subtler effect than the exchange of larger fragments, but both types of recombination can increase genetic diversity and explain why organisms of the same species differ in many ways. Both types of recombination can also act to separate the transmission of neighbouring genes, which are normally inherited together.

The groups of Lars Steinmetz at EMBL and Wolfgang Huber at EMBL-EBI have produced the most detailed map to date of recombination events in the yeast genome.

"Our map has the highest resolution of recombination events that currently exists for any organism. We can locate crossovers and even hard-to-trace non-crossovers, typically with a precision of about 80 bases. This resolution is 20 times higher than in any existing yeast map and more than 360 times higher than a recent human map," says Steinmetz.

The map revealed many new insights into the organisation of recombination in yeast. On average over 150 recombination events were observed during a typical meiosis. These events did not occur uniformly across the genome. The recombination rate varied according to location, with events concentrated at so-called hotspots, some of which favoured either crossovers or non-crossovers. The researchers also found evidence for interference between crossovers and non-crossovers - a phenomenon previously only known to occur between crossovers - that makes it unlikely for two recombination events to happen in close proximity.

The fundamental principles of recombination are likely to be shared between yeast and humans. "Our map expands our understanding of crossover and provides a wealth of new information about non-crossovers and gene conversion. It will act as a reference for future research into recombination," says Richard Bourgon from Huber's group, who developed the statistical methodology for this new type of data.

The insights gained will not only help tackle questions about the basic mechanisms of recombination; they will also have practical implications for the tracking of disease genes in humans.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. Mancera, R. Bourgon, A. Brozzi, W. Huber & L.M. Steinmetz. High-resolution mapping of meiotic crossovers and noncrossovers in yeast. Nature, 9 July 2008

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "Zooming In On Genetic Shuffling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710103855.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. (2008, July 13). Zooming In On Genetic Shuffling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710103855.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory. "Zooming In On Genetic Shuffling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710103855.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. 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:
from the past week

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