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ESF's workshop restores good name of sugar
Date:1/17/2008

fect determine the outcome of an infectious disease and the response by the host organism such as human - structural differences between these antigens often account for the inability of many diseases to cross from one animal species to another and this is exemplified in the case of influenza where key molecules on the virus interacty with different complex sugars in birds and humans.

The ESF workshop identified the need to build momentum behind glycoscience, whose importance has been grossly undervalued, and in particular to boost European research. We decided that we need to all speak with one voice through a single organisation in Europe so we have agreed to expand the UK based Glycoscience Forum, of which I am Executive Secretary, to become the Euroglycosciences Forum. We also decided this should be reflected by recruitment of members throughout Europe onto committees, said Merry. We agreed that although we have world class expertise in many areas (and if fact are world leaders in some) we do not have the same presence and image as has been forged by our colleagues in USA and Japan.

Equally the profile of the field needs boosting not just among the public, but also within the scientific community, which has tended to downplay the importance of glycoscience partly because it seems too complicated to understand and analyse. The chemistry of glycoscience is extremely difficult, Merry admitted. But it is possible to simplify the chemistry and define it in terms of essential active constituents and interactions, as has been done for DNA and proteins, which are built up from more straightforward components, respectively nucleic acids and amino acids. According to Merry a similar rationalisation is needed for carbohydrates to bring glycomics the science of sugars in general onto the same footing as genomics (genes) and proteomics (proteins).

It is vital that this task is achieved since glycomics, genomics and proteomics are all equal co
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Contact: Dr. Tony Merry
Anthony.Merry@manchester.ac.uk
44-016-088-11022
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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