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Variable gene expression in zebrafish
Date:4/28/2014

This news release is available in German.

Early embryonic development of vertebrates is controlled by the genes and their "grammar". Decoding this grammar might help understand the formation of abnormalities or cancer or develop new medical drugs. For the first time, it is now found by a study that various mechanisms of transcribing DNA into RNA exist during gene expression in the different development phases of zebrafish. This study is presented by KIT researchers in the journal "Nature".

After several genomes have been sequenced and human genetic material has been decoded, many questions regarding the structure and function of genetic information still remain unanswered. On the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the carrier of genetic information, scientists search for the grammar regulating gene expression, for instance. The result of this gene expression is the RNA (ribonucleic acid) that converts genetic information into proteins. A major pro-cess of gene expression is transcription, by which RNA is synthe-sized according to a DNA template. However, it is still unknown where exactly transcription starts and which regularly recurring DNA segments, DNA modifications or structural modifications of the DNA are required to determine the start of transcription. Complete understanding of transcription regulation might allow for specific interference with these mechanisms and the development of new medical drugs against diseases.

An international team of scientists, including Uwe Strhle, Head of the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (ITG) of KIT, and his staff members Dr. Olivier Amant and Dr. Marco Ferg, studied the pro-cesses associated with the start of transcription in zebrafish in more detail. The ITG runs the European Zebrafish Resource Center (EZRC), a ce
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Contact: Monika Landgraf
presse@kit.edu
49-721-608-47414
Karlsruher Institut fr Technologie (KIT)
Source:Eurekalert  

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