Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'X-shape' not true picture of chromosome structure, new imaging technique reveals

Date:
September 25, 2013
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
A new method for visualising chromosomes is painting a truer picture of their shape, which is rarely like the X-shaped blob of DNA most of us are familiar with.

This is the chromosome structure from single-cell Hi-C.
Credit: Dr. Peret Fraser. Babraham Institute.

A new method for visualising chromosomes is painting a truer picture of their shape, which is rarely like the X-shaped blob of DNA most of us are familiar with.

Scientists at the BBSRC-funded Babraham Institute, working with the University of Cambridge and the Weizmann Institute, have produced beautiful 3D models that more accurately show their complex shape and the way DNA within them folds up.

The X-shape, often used to describe chromosomes, is only a snapshot of their complexity.

Dr Peter Fraser of the Babraham Institute explains: "The image of a chromosome, an X-shaped blob of DNA, is familiar to many but this microscopic portrait of a chromosome actually shows a structure that occurs only transiently in cells -- at a point when they are just about to divide."

"The vast majority of cells in an organism have finished dividing and their chromosomes don't look anything like the X-shape. Chromosomes in these cells exist in a very different form and so far it has been impossible to create accurate pictures of their structure."

Peter's team has developed a new method to visualise their shape. It involves creating thousands of molecular measurements of chromosomes in single cells, using the latest DNA sequencing technology. By combining these tiny measurements, using powerful computers, they have created a three-dimensional portrait of chromosomes for the first time. This new technology has been made possible thanks to funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Fraser added: "These unique images not only show us the structure of the chromosome, but also the path of the DNA in it, allowing us to map specific genes and other important features. Using these 3D models, we have begun to unravel the basic principles of chromosome structure and its role in how our genome functions."

This latest research, published in Nature, puts DNA into its proper context in a cell, conveying the beauty and complexity of the mammalian genome in a far more effective way than volumes of text previously have. In doing so it shows that the structure of these chromosomes, and the way the DNA within them folds up, are intimately linked to when and how much genes are expressed, which has direct consequences for health, aging and disease.

Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "Until now, our understanding of chromosome structure has been limited to rather fuzzy pictures, alongside diagrams of the all too familiar X-shape seen before cell division. These truer pictures help us to understand more about what chromosomes look like in the majority of cells in our bodies. The intricate folds help to unravel how chromosomes interact and how genome functions are controlled."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Takashi Nagano, Yaniv Lubling, Tim J. Stevens, Stefan Schoenfelder, Eitan Yaffe, Wendy Dean, Ernest D. Laue, Amos Tanay, Peter Fraser. Single-cell Hi-C reveals cell-to-cell variability in chromosome structure. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12593

Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "'X-shape' not true picture of chromosome structure, new imaging technique reveals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925132319.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2013, September 25). 'X-shape' not true picture of chromosome structure, new imaging technique reveals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925132319.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "'X-shape' not true picture of chromosome structure, new imaging technique reveals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130925132319.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A kangaroo was saved from drowning in a backyard suburban swimming pool in Australia's Victoria state on Thursday. Australian broadcaster Channel 7 showed footage of the kangaroo struggling to get out of the pool. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. 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