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Biologists determine genetic blueprint of social amoeba

ls regulate their behavior. Both things will apply in the studies we do."

He and the other members of the international sequencing team found that there are more protein coding genes in the organism than they had thought and nearly twice as many as there are in fungi. Their unraveling of the genome also allowed Rolf Olsen, a postdoctoral fellow working in Loomis' laboratory, to generate a tree of life and show that amoebozoa, the group to which Dictyostelium belongs, evolved from the common ancestor of eukaryotes (the group of organisms that contain all animals, plants, algae, protozoa, slime mold and fungi) before fungi. Dictyostelium has about 12,000 genes that produce a greater variety of proteins than the approximately 6,000 found in fungi. And its genes are more closely related to human genes than are the genes from fungi.

"That really speaks to how much we will relate the gene function information we find to humans," Kuspa says. "It makes Dictyostelium a better model for looking for targets against which drugs can act."

Key collaborators in the project at Baylor included Richard Gibbs and George Weinstock, co-directors of Baylor's Human Genome Sequencing Center, and Richard Sucgang, an assistant professor of biochemistry. Baylor performed about one half of the sequencing work.


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Source:University of California - San Diego


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