Archives for posts with tag: genome

Ants are more closely related to bees than to wasps, according to a study of the insects’ genomes and transcriptomes (the genes that are actively being translated into proteins).

The genome of the Christmas tree hasn’t really changed in the last hundred million years – this explains why our Christmas trees look very similar to those in ancient fossils (though perhaps without the tinsel…)

Researchers from China, the US and Europe have sequenced  the genome of the watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), a large juicy fruit, usually with pink or red flesh and dark pips that is grown throughout the world.

The team sequenced 20 different watermelons and created a draft genome, finding 23,440 predicted protein-coding genes, around the same number as in humans. They also identified three different C lanatus subspecies.

The paper was published in Nature Genetics.

The bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) genome is around five times the size of the human genome, and the total size is around 17 gigabase pairs. Researchers have found around 100,000 genes. The bread wheat genome is hexaploid, with three entire genomes (six sets of seven chromosomes) in each cell, as a result of crossbreeding.

Bread wheat accounts for more than a fifth of the calories eaten by people worldwide, and over 680 million tonnes of wheat are grown annually.

The barley genome has 5.3 billion bases (letters of genetic code) – this makes it almost twice the size of the human genome. This is the first complex grass genome to be sequenced and annotated.

Not so much a science fact now as a maybe one day – Craig Venter (the genetics visionary behind the first cell with a synthetic genome) has suggested that we could have 3D DNA printers at home that could download and print out a vaccine for us to administer ourselves.  Tests are under way.

Messages in your DNA can give geographic clues to your family’s past, creating a ‘GPS’ for your genes. This uses software to locate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs – changes in single letters in the DNA code) that have mutated in the past and have then been passed on to a population in a specific place. The researchers believe that this allows people’s origin to be placed on a map on the basis of their genetic information alone.

A virus called a phage can zap the bug that triggers acne, Propionibacterium acnes. Researchers have sequenced the virus’s genome, and might be able to use this to develop a future treatment that stops spots. Yay!

Researchers have partly sequenced the genome of the second case of the new coronavirus that has emerged in the Middle East (the patient currently in London), and confirmed that it is the same virus as that infecting the man who died in July. They have also confirmed that it is not the came as the virus that causes SARS.

Analysis of a Siberian cave girl’s genome links ancient and modern humans, and shows that she had brown hair, eyes and skin.  The DNA comes from a fragment of finger bone found in the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in East Central Asia. The bone is thought to be 30,000 to 50,000 years old.

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