Navigation Links
New research on mutation in yeast can enhance understanding of human diseases

DURHAM, N.H. Yeast, a model organism heavily relied upon for studying basic biological processes as they relate to human health, mutates in a distinctly different pattern than other model organisms, a finding that brings researchers closer to understanding the role of evolutionary genetics in human diseases and cancer. The study, by researchers from the University of New Hampshire, Indiana University, Harvard University, and the University of Utah, appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) Online Early Edition this week (June 16 20, 2008).

"In biology, the mutation is an absolutely fundamental process, essential to evolution but also the source of all genetic disease," says Kelley Thomas, associate professor of biochemistry and director of the Hubbard Center for Genome Studies at the University of New Hampshire. "Despite its importance, we still don't know much about the basic processes of mutation." Cancers are caused by mutations, as are inherited diseases like Huntington's disease and fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited form of mental retardation.

"If we know more about the patterns of mutation, we'd be able to better understand the origins of these diseases and maybe prevent them," says Thomas.

The researchers asked a fundamental question: "What is the baseline rate and spectrum of mutation in yeast?" They found that, like the previously studied mutations in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae had a very high rate of mutation from generation to generation.

Its patterns of mutation, however, turned out to be unique. While C. elegans mutations were largely the result of inserting or deleting base pairs of DNA, yeast's patterns of mutation were characterized by changing one base pair for another. "That was really surprising, that we didn't find that adding or subtracting in yeast," says Thomas. He adds that the consequences of inserting and deleting base pairs can be much more dramatic than substituting one base pair for another.

Comparing the mutation rates and spectrums of these two model organisms informs researchers' assumptions about mutation relevant to human health. "We were surprised that there isn't a common spectrum of mutation," says Thomas. "However, it's exciting, because if we can describe patterns of mutation, maybe we can understand why some organisms, including people, are susceptible to certain mutations and not others."

The approach used in this study allows yeast to accumulate mutations in the near absence of natural selection. By doing this, cells with mutations that might otherwise be lost because their cell is outgrown by others can continue to survive and be analyzed for their mutations. With this study, Thomas and his colleagues overcome a major limitation to the study of mutation by using a new generation of sequencing technology that let them sequence the entire genome of each yeast strain and to identify the rare mutational events that have taken place. This way, the yeast accumulate mutations that might otherwise make them "bad yeast" the weak survive and look for them across the entire 10 million base pair genome.

"The beer you make with this yeast is horrible," Thomas jokes.


Contact: Beth Potier
University of New Hampshire

Related medicine news :

1. China Sky One Medical, Inc. Research Center Recognized by Heilongjiang Science and Technology Institute
2. Science, hope for adults with type 1 diabetes focus of JDRFs Annual Global Diabetes Research Forum
3. Minister Clement, Governor Schwarzenegger Join Forces to Fight Cancer Through Cancer Stem Cell Research
4. Report: NIH and Global Health Research are a Major Boon to All State Economies
5. UF scientists to work with German firm in prostate cancer treatment research
6. Psychosocial issues affect HIV/AIDS treatment outcomes: UNC researcher
7. $100 million supercomputing program boosts Australian medical research capacity
8. Penn researchers find key developmental pathway activates lung stem cells
9. Singapore Is One of the Fastest Growing Bioclusters in Asia; Wave of Investments in Drug Discovery and Translational Research
10. CafePress Supports Stand Up To Cancer With Online Store to Help Raise Awareness and Funds for Research
11. Hebrew University research on octopuses sheds light on memory
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Using a combination of two blood ... children and adults, according to a new study by researchers at the School of ... Children and Adults: Using Combinations of Blood Glucose Tests ,” published in Frontiers in ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Newly reviewed and approved “NJ Top ... from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1935. His father graduated from NYU ... being in dentistry as well as their commitment and passion to the Practice of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... York Times,” will be released on December 1, 2015, to coincide with World AIDS ... about the groundbreaking journalist who covered the AIDS epidemic as he was dying of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The American Society for ... honor of World AIDS Day 2015. On Nov. 30, ASCP shared its “Give a ... about World AIDS Day and the importance of getting tested for HIV. , ASCP ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... California-based i2i Systems, a pioneer defining ... Michigan-based Family Health Center (FHC) has selected i2iTracks as their population health management ... the largest Affordable Care Act grant for Federally Qualified Health Centers in the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Kevin Smith ... Sensium Healthcare, a global pioneer in wireless monitoring ... Boston, MA , Mr. Smith will ... Sensium,s global commercial strategy.  He will also directly ... to build clinical evidence for SensiumVitals, the first ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  The fee-for-service ... in U.S. medical imaging is on its ... accountable care payer-provider contracts are set to ... their wake, alter provider-vendor relationships. The shift ... push forward new purchasing frameworks in the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. and SAN ... Inc. and Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA ) ... (FDA) has accepted for filing the New Drug Application ... approved, the extended release formulation will offer patients a ... ® ) is currently approved as ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: