Comprehensive DNA analysis improves experiments with yeast

Published 2011-04-22 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:29

[NEWS, 22 April 2011] A study in Science, conducted by researchers from Karolinska Institutet, MIT and Harvard, presents novel knowledge that may significantly improve the use of fission yeast as a model organism for studies of cell cycle control, chromosome biology and epigenetics. In their study, the researchers have made a comprehensive analysis of the genomes of different yeast species revealing surprising results.

Karl EkwallPhoto: Ulf Sirborn

Amongst other things, the researchers discovered that mobile DNA elements have disappeared in these yeasts in an evolutionary remarkably quick pace. Also heterochromatin - compressed parts of chromosomes where the genes usually are inactive - is evolving rapidly, in spite of striking similarities in the gene expression patterns between the closely related species of yeast. Furthermore researchers discovered a new type of control mechanism of meiotic genes by antisense RNA.

Today, fission yeast is an important tool in experimental eukaryotic biology. According to the authors of the current study, the presented new knowledge will increase the chance of future research breakthroughs, as it is now possible to compare cell functions between closely related yeasts. The study is the result of an international collaboration between several laboratories, including the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Co-authors from Karolinska Institutet were Drs Agata Smialowska, Peter Swoboda and Karl Ekwall.


Nicholas Rhind et al.

Comparative Functional Genomics of the Fission Yeasts

Science online 21 April 2011

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