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Geneticists Discover a Way to Extend Lifespans to 800 Years

Geneticists Discover a Way to Extend Lifespans to 800 Years | Tale technology | Scoop.it
There is now a way to extend the lifespan of organisms so that humans could conceivably live to be 800 years old.

Via Luisa Meira
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Cell - MicroRNAs Inhibit the Translation of Target mRNAs on the Endoplasmic Reticulum in Arabidopsis

Cell - MicroRNAs Inhibit the Translation of Target mRNAs on the Endoplasmic Reticulum in Arabidopsis | Tale technology | Scoop.it

This is from April, but I missed it then. Luckily, I found it now. Interesting study!

 


Via Mary Williams
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Plant Cell: Advanced Proteomic Analyses Yield a Deep Catalog of Ubiquitylation Targets in Arabidopsis

Plant Cell: Advanced Proteomic Analyses Yield a Deep Catalog of Ubiquitylation Targets in Arabidopsis | Tale technology | Scoop.it

From the abstract, "We identified almost 950 ubiquitylation substrates in whole Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. The list includes key factors regulating a wide range of biological processes, including metabolism, cellular transport, signal transduction, transcription, RNA biology, translation, and proteolysis.....

Taken together, this proteomic analysis illustrates the breadth of plant processes affected by ubiquitylation and provides a deep data set of individual targets from which to explore the roles of Ub in various physiological and developmental pathways."

From the Vierstra lab in Madison, Wisconsin.


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Viruses in the gut protect from infection

Viruses in the gut protect from infection | Tale technology | Scoop.it
Phages in mucus aid immune system by killing invading bacteria.

Via Luisa Meira
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Compact designer TALENs for efficient genome engineering - Nature Comm.

Compact designer TALENs for efficient genome engineering - Nature Comm. | Tale technology | Scoop.it

(via T. Lahaye, thanks!)

Beurdeley et al, 2013

Transcription activator-like effector nucleases are readily targetable ‘molecular scissors’ for genome engineering applications. These artificial nucleases offer high specificity coupled with simplicity in design that results from the ability to serially chain transcription activator-like effector repeat arrays to target individual DNA bases. However, these benefits come at the cost of an appreciably large multimeric protein complex, in which DNA cleavage is governed by the nonspecific FokI nuclease domain. Here we report a significant improvement to the standard transcription activator-like effector nuclease architecture by leveraging the partially specific I-TevI catalytic domain to create a new class of monomeric, DNA-cleaving enzymes. In vivo yeast, plant and mammalian cell assays demonstrate that the half-size, single-polypeptide compact transcription activator-like effector nucleases exhibit overall activity and specificity comparable to currently available designer nucleases. In addition, we harness the catalytic mechanism of I-TevI to generate novel compact transcription activator-like effector nuclease-based nicking enzymes that display a greater than 25-fold increase in relative targeted gene correction efficacy.


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Brain DNA changes throughout life

Brain DNA changes throughout life | Tale technology | Scoop.it

Researchers from The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh have found brain cells alter their genetic make-up during a person's lifetime. They have identified genes - known as retrotransposons - responsible for thousands of tiny changes in the DNA of brain tissue.

 

Researchers, whose work is published in the journal Nature, found that the genes were particularly active in areas of the brain linked to cell renewal. By mapping the locations of these genes in the human genome, scientists could identify mutations that impact on brain function and that may cause diseases to develop.

 

The study shows for the first time that brain cells are genetically different to other cells in the body and are also genetically distinct from each other.

Scientists are now researching whether brain tumour formation and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's are associated with a change in retrotransposon activity.

 

Dr Geoff Faulkner said: "This research completely overturns the belief that the genetic make-up of brain cells remains static throughout life and provides us with new information about how the brain works.

 

"If we can understand better how these subtle genetic changes occur we could shed light on how brain cells regenerate, how processes like memory formation may have a genetic basis and possibly link the activity of these genes to brain diseases."

 

The research was carried out in collaboration with scientists from the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Japan and the United States, and was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Craig Venter says we will be able to '3D print' alien life from Mars

Craig Venter says we will be able to '3D print' alien life from Mars | Tale technology | Scoop.it

For Venter life can be reduced to “protein robots” and “DNA machines” but he also believes that technology will unlock far more exotic opportunities for creating life. The title of the publication refers to the idea that we may be able to transmit DNA sequences found on Mars back to Earth (at the speed of light) to be replicated at home by biological printers.

 

“I am confident that life once thrived on Mars and may well still exist there today,” writes Venter. “The day is not far off when we will be able to send a robotically controlled genome-sequencing unit in a probe to other planets to read the DNA sequence of any alien microbe life that may be there.”

 

Venter’s ideas may sound like science fiction but he has achieved comparable feats in the past. Frustrated by what he viewed as slow government-led efforts to sequence the human genome in the 90s, Venter raised private capital to create a rival effort under the company name of Celera

 

Fears that Venter and his backers would attempt to patent the genome spurred the US-led effort into action and global genes-race was sparked, with both sides eventually agreeing to announce their result one day apart in February 2001.

 

Venter parted ways with Celera in 2002 and founded the J.Craig Venter institute in 2006. In 2010 he and his colleagues at the institute announced that they had created the world’s first synthetic organism. The team creating a bacterium genome from scratch and ‘watermarked’ it with custom DNA strings (these included an encoded email address) before transplanting it into another cell. The cell then began to reproduce, making it the first living species created by humanity.

 

Although such pioneering work frequently raises ethical questions over the danger of humanity ‘playing God’, Venter writes that he is not concerned with such concerns. In ‘Life at the Speed of Light’ he writes: “My greatest fear is not the abuse of technology but that we will not use it at all.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Marco Bertolini's curator insight, October 11, 2013 4:25 AM

Nous serons bientôt capables de créer la vie, y compris des formes "extra-terrestres" !

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Genome Compiler - News - Genome Compiler Update!

Genome Compiler - News - Genome Compiler Update! | Tale technology | Scoop.it
We just release an update for Genome Compiler - we think you're going to like it!



You can fi...

Via Gerd Moe-Behrens
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TAL effector nucleases induce mutations at a pre-selected location in the genome of primary barley transformants - Plant Mol. Biol.

(via T. Lahaye, thx)

Wendt et al, (2013)

Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) enable targeted mutagenesis in a variety of organisms. The primary advantage of TALENs over other sequence-specific nucleases, namely zinc finger nucleases and meganucleases, lies in their ease of assembly, reliability of function, and their broad targeting range. Here we report the assembly of several TALENs for a specific genomic locus in barley. The cleavage activity of individual TALENs was first tested in vivo using a yeast-based, single-strand annealing assay. The most efficient TALEN was then selected for barley transformation. Analysis of the resulting transformants showed that TALEN-induced double strand breaks led to the introduction of short deletions at the target site. Additional analysis revealed that each barley transformant contained a range of different mutations, indicating that mutations occurred independently in different cells.


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A rapid assay to quantify the cleavage efficiency of custom-designed nucleases in planta - Plant Mol. Biol.

A rapid assay to quantify the cleavage efficiency of custom-designed nucleases in planta - Plant Mol. Biol. | Tale technology | Scoop.it

(via T. Lahaye, thanks...cant beat his speed :))

Johnson et al, 2013

Custom-designed nucleases are a promising technology for genome editing through the catalysis of double-strand DNA breaks within target loci and subsequent repair by the host cell, which can result in targeted mutagenesis or gene replacement. Implementing this new technology requires a rapid means to determine the cleavage efficiency of these custom-designed proteins in planta. Here we present such an assay that is based on cleavage-dependent luciferase gene correction as part of a transient dual-luciferase® reporter (Promega) expression system. This assay consists of co-infiltrating Nicotiana benthamiana leaves with two Agrobacterium tumefaciens strains: one contains the target sequence embedded within a luciferase reporter gene and the second strain contains the custom-designed nuclease gene(s). We compared repair following site-specific nuclease digestion through non-homologous DNA end-joining, as opposed to single strand DNA annealing, as a means to restore an out-of-frame luciferase gene cleavage-reporter construct. We show, using luminometer measurements and bioluminescence imaging, that the assay for non-homologous end-joining is sensitive, quantitative, reproducible and rapid in estimating custom-designed nucleases’ cleavage efficiency. We detected cleavage by two out of three transcription activator-like effector nucleases that we custom-designed for targets in the Arabidopsis CRUCIFERIN3 gene, and we compared with the well-established ‘QQR’ zinc-finger nuclease. The assay we report requires only standard equipment and basic plant molecular biology techniques, and it can be carried out within a few days. Different types of custom-designed nucleases can be preliminarily tested in our assay system before their downstream application in plant genome editing.


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Extrapolation of genetic complexity of organisms to earlier times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed

Extrapolation of genetic complexity of organisms to earlier times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed | Tale technology | Scoop.it

Applying a maxim from computer science to biology raises the intriguing possibility that life existed before Earth did. An extrapolation of the genetic complexity of organisms to earlier times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed. Life may have started from systems with single heritable elements that are functionally equivalent to a nucleotide. The genetic complexity, roughly measured by the number of non-redundant functional nucleotides, is expected to have grown exponentially due to several positive feedback factors: gene cooperation, duplication of genes with their subsequent specialization, and emergence of novel functional niches associated with existing genes. Linear regression of genetic complexity on a log scale extrapolated back to just one base pair suggests the time of the origin of life 9.7 billion years ago. This cosmic time scale for the evolution of life has important consequences: (i) Life took ca. 5 billion years to reach the complexity of bacteria; (ii) the environments in which life originated and evolved to the prokaryote stage may have been quite different from those envisaged on Earth; (iii) there was no intelligent life in our universe prior to the origin of Earth, thus Earth could not have been deliberately seeded with life by intelligent aliens; (iv) Earth was seeded by panspermia; (v) experimental replication of the origin of life from scratch may have to emulate many cumulative rare events; and (vi) the Drake equation for guesstimating the number of civilizations in the universe is likely wrong, as intelligent life has just begun appearing in our universe.

 

Evolution of advanced organisms has accelerated via development of additional information-processing systems: epigenetic memory, primitive mind, multicellular brain, language, books, computers, and Internet. As a result the doubling time of complexity has reached ca. 20 years. Finally, the research team discusses the issue of the predicted technological singularity and give a biosemiotics perspective on the increase of complexity.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Carnivorous Utricularia gibba plant cleans its genomic DNA from non-coding DNA

Carnivorous Utricularia gibba plant cleans its genomic DNA from non-coding DNA | Tale technology | Scoop.it

Scientists have discovered that a carnivorous plant deletes so much of its own junk DNA that it has hardly any left. The finding, published online in Nature, hints that such noncoding DNA may not be as important as some scientists believe.

 

Junk DNA is probably well named as junk. There doesn’t seem to be any glorious reason or function behind it," said Victor Albert, a University at Buffalo molecular evolutionary biologist and one of the lead authors on the study.

 

Only 2% of the human genome is actually made up of functional elements such as  genes, according to Albert. The rest of it is non-coding DNA that doesn’t appear to carry active, relevant information for that living creature’s proper functioning (i.e. for building proteins).

 

But the carnivorous bladderwort plant, Utricularia gibba, has only about 3% junk, according to an international team of researchers -- which is unusual even by plant standards. About 97% of its code actually consists of genes -- making it a lean, mean genetic machine.

 

U. gibba is a feathery carnivorous plant that forms mats over water and traps single-celled organisms and tiny crustaceans in submerged, millimeter-wide bladders. It draws nutrients from those tiny carcasses in environments where the soil is often very nutrient-poor.

 

U. gibba's genome is already short -- it’s made of 82 million base pairs, while humans have over 3 billion base pairs, Albert said. Even the basic "lab rat" of plant science,Arabidopsis, has a genetic code that’s about 1.5 times as long as U. gibba's.

 

And yet the plant packs efficiently, stuffing all its useful genetic code into a fraction of the sprawling DNA real estate afforded other plants and animals.

 

Repeated segments buried in the plant's DNA show them that the entire genome has been duplicated three times since its lineage split off from its common ancestor with the tomato and the grape -- and yet this regular doubling of the code hasn’t increased its length. Clearly the plant must be cutting unnecessary DNA faster than it’s adding it, the researchers concluded.

 

The scientists aren’t sure why this particular bladderwort has such a tiny, efficient genetic code. It may be pure chance, Albert said, particularly since other carnivorous plants' codes can stretch much longer.

 

But it does show that perhaps all that junk DNA — which some scientists have argued serves some undiscovered purpose — may be getting more credit than is due, in humans as well as plants.

 

The bladderwort certainly shows that at least one plant makes a perfectly good plant without it," Albert said. "By extension, I would say it's suggestive that maybe junk DNA in general isn't of much importance."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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