Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genomic 'haircut' makes world's tiniest genome even smaller

Date:
September 23, 2010
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
The world's tiniest nuclear genome appears to have "snipped off the ends" of its chromosomes and evolved into a lean, mean, genome machine that infects human cells, according to new research.

E. intestinalis (the little white dots) infecting human cells.
Credit: L. Weiss

The world's tiniest nuclear genome appears to have "snipped off the ends" of its chromosomes and evolved into a lean, mean, genome machine that infects human cells, according to research published September 21 by University of British Columbia scientists.

Related Articles


Until recently, E. cuniculi, a parasitic fungus commonly found in rabbits that can also be fatal to immunocompromised humans, has been widely regarded as having the smallest known nuclear genome. At 2.9 millions base pairs (Mbp) and approximately 2,000 genes, the genome of E. cuniculi is less than one-two thousandth the size of the human genome.

But now, a team of researchers led by UBC Botany Prof. Patrick Keeling sequenced the genome of a closely related parasite that makes the E. cuniculi genome seem positively king-sized. The genome of E. intestinalis, a sister species of E. cuniculi that infects human intestines, is 20 per cent smaller, at only 2.3Mbp.

"On one end of the spectrum, genomes can get larger almost without limit, but there is a limit to how small they can get -- they can't be less than zero," says Keeling, whose work is published in the September 21 issue of the journal Nature Communications. "And the question that fascinated us was 'in an already tiny genome, what else can be lost'?"

Keeling and a team of researchers from Switzerland, Canada and the U.S. compared the genome of E. cuniculi and E. intestinalis and found little difference between the chromosome "cores" but that the ends were all "trimmed" in E. intestinalis.

"The chromosomes are long threads of DNA, and in E. intestinalis its almost as though it got a haircut, removing hundreds of genes, but all from the ends of the threads," says Keeling.

Keeling, director of the Centre for Microbial Diversity and Evolution and a member of Beaty Biodiversity Research Centre at UBC, says the discovery provides insights into how genomes evolve, especially in extreme conditions.

Keeling is also a scholar with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Fellow.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicolas Corradi, Jean-Fran็ois Pombert, Laurent Farinelli, Elizabeth S. Didier, Patrick J. Keeling. The complete sequence of the smallest known nuclear genome from the microsporidian Encephalitozoon intestinalis. Nature Communications, 2010; 1 (6): 1 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1082

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Genomic 'haircut' makes world's tiniest genome even smaller." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100921101335.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2010, September 23). Genomic 'haircut' makes world's tiniest genome even smaller. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100921101335.htm
University of British Columbia. "Genomic 'haircut' makes world's tiniest genome even smaller." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100921101335.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The world&apos;s only surviving captivity-born panda triplets turn eight months old, according to China’s state media. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — Lions have made a comeback in southeast Gabon, after disappearing for years, according to live footage from US wildlife organisation Panthera. Duration: 00:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — Fragments of pottery used by Egyptians to make beer and dating back 5,000 years have been discovered on a building site in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said on Sunday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
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