The Y chromosome is well known to determine the male intercourse. What exactly is less distinguished: often 90 % of this Y chromosome comprises of junk DNA that outcompetes practical elements. In the ERC project, biologist Qi Zhou investigates just just how it survived normal selection and what effect it might have in the genome.
“The XY chromosomes mark the main differences that are genetic male and female”, describes Qi Zhou. “In animals, the Y chromosome determines a man intercourse.” The biologist happens to be learning intercourse chromosomes their entire job, but there are numerous puzzling concerns that modern research cannot provide responses for – at the least perhaps maybe not yet.
Studying good fresh fresh good fresh fruit flies
Zhou examines Drosophila, better referred to as good fresh good fresh fruit flies. Drosophila and people share the XY system, although the Drosophila’s Y chromosome is significantly younger. ” Our Y that is human chromosome about 180 million yrs old. The machine so I still find traces to study”, explains the ERC grantee from the University of Vienna that I work with – Drosophila Miranda – is only one million years old.
Human Genome Venture
We have to go back to the 1990s: An international board of over 50 scientists from all over the world collaborated on the Human Genome Project if we are to understand what makes the Y chromosome so special. The goal of the task would be to figure out the series of nucleotide base pairs that form the individual DNA. ” when you look at the world that is biological can be simply when compared with Apollo 13″, smiles Zhou. In the past, the scientists discovered numerous alleged repeated elements aside from the genes that are functional. “These elements don’t encode any genes. A whole lot worse: they outcompete other elements that are functional with a quicker propagation rate when you look at the genome”, claims Zhou.
Just just What stays is junk DNA
It ended up that especially the Y chromosome is filled with these repeated elements. This content that is repetitive are as long as 90 per cent. “The chromosome that determines our intercourse is simply a garbage can for repetitive DNA”, states Zhou. The junk elements have now been examined a great deal, by way of example, in Richard Dawkins’ book “The selfish gene”. But, it is still not yet determined why these “selfish” junk elements regarding the intercourse chromosome exist nor the way they are managed if they usually have an effect on the remaining portion of the genome.
“something that exists today could have – more or less – undergone natural selection”, describes Zhou. Nonetheless, the biologist that is young a theory on what the repeated elements survived: “Each couple of chromosomes can trade their hereditary product. The result of this recombination is efficiently eliminate mutations that are bad. For the XY chromosomes, recombination is turn off since the male-determining gene shouldn’t be recombined on the X chromosome — then the feminine will carry the male-determining gene. As soon as this is done, the Y chromosome begins to accumulate its mutations that are deleterious everything we now identify as obvious junk.” Today’s technology of genetics
Inside the research, Zhou makes use of gene sequencing. Cutting-edge devices – as provided by the Vienna Biocenter – can read as much as 50,000 base pairs per run, allowing Zhou and their peers to acquire even more complete information about the genomes in a short period of time. He additionally sequences the RNA that is small defence system against junk elements – to discover how a Y chromosome is controlled. Last but most certainly not least, he’s additionally planning to utilize the modifying tool CRISPR-Cas9: “we should take away the guardians among these junk DNAs through the evolving Y chromosome. It would mean that junk DNA affects the rest of the genome as well if we can observe changes. This could be a groundbreaking breakthrough, since we mostly consider the Y chromosome as just a male determinant.”
From Asia to Austria “Right now we have been obtaining the sequence that is entire of Y chromosome. From chaturbate then on we’re going to begin to gather the tiny RNA”, explains Zhou, whom stumbled on the Department of Molecular Evolution and developing only one 12 months ago. “The ERC Grant started a gate for me personally to accomplish research in European countries”, states the 36-year-old grantee. Just exactly What he appreciates many during the University of Vienna could be the smart environment and the strong help for preliminary research: “My scientific studies are totally curiosity-driven. As an example, i shall never ever be in a position to produce a medication to deal with cancer tumors, but used research and preliminary research have actually been benefiting one another on a regular basis.”
ERC Grants at the University of Vienna The funding of pioneering preliminary research is one of several priorities of this eu. For this end, the European Research Council (ERC) happens to be established. Studies should have a high possibility of innovation to get economic support. Since 2007, 41 ERC funds have been conferred on researchers for the University of Vienna: 14 Advanced Grants, 5 Consolidator Grants, 21 Starting Grants plus one evidence of Concept.
Dilemmas to resolve
Zhou nevertheless holds a posture at Zhejiang University in Asia and travels back and forth usually. As he just isn’t busy working, he enjoys the art scene and social lifetime of Vienna, goes climbing or drinks coffee when you look at the 7th region, where he lives. “When i will be old, i could imagine being one of many older people reading magazines in a Viennese cafe all the time long”, smiles Zhou. ” not now.” The young biologist nevertheless has some issues to resolve. (hm)
Qi Zhou, PhD, is a known user of this Faculty of Life Sciences of this University of Vienna. Their task “Evolution and Impact of Heterochromatin on A young drosophila y chromosome” is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and operates from August 2016 to August 2021.