Protozoan chosen for genome sequencing

June 03, 2002

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- A protozoan that has been studied by a University of California, Santa Barbara scientist for the past 46 years has been assigned high priority for genome sequencing by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Called Tetrahymena, the single-celled organism split off from an ancestor in common with humans about two billion years ago. Yet it carries many of the same genes as humans, and therefore can be used to understand the function of many human genes.

Small as it is, Tetrahymena has about 30,000 genes, a similar number as humans. It reproduces quickly, doubling in numbers every two hours, which makes it inexpensive and easy to study. The organism is a ciliate, and uses tiny cilia, like hairs, to propel itself.

Eduardo Orias, research professor of genomics in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Department at UC Santa Barbara, submitted a white paper to the NHGRI, on behalf of and with contributions from the international ciliate research community. He also consulted with the Whitehead Institute/MIT Genome Center. (The paper is available on line at http://www.nhgri.nih.gov/DER/Sequencing/Tetrahymena_Genome.pdf). This resulted in Tetrahymena being chosen as a high priority genome for sequencing. (See an NIH announcement at http://www.nhgri.nih.gov/NEWS/sequencing.html.)

Orias began his study of Tetrahymena in 1956, when he was a graduate student at the University of Michigan, and has been working on it virtually ever since. For several

years now his research group at UCSB has been doing genetic and physical mapping of the organism.

Studies of Tetrahymena have made major contributions to genetics and cell biology. For example, scientists used this organism to study the structure of telomeres (ends of chromosomes) and the telomerase enzyme, which has profound importance in cancer and aging.

Sequencing of Tetrahymena will have many benefits, including informing the biology of the causative agent of malaria and other related protist pathogens of great medical or agricultural significance.

Orias, who is the coordinator of the International Tetrahymena Genome

Project, will collaborate in the analysis of the genome sequence and will facilitate the exchange of information and expert advice between the Tetrahymena research community and the sequencing center.

Rat and mouse genome sequencing is approaching completion. In addition to Tetrahymena, NHGRI has chosen (in alphabetical order) chicken, chimpanzee, fungi (various species), honey bee and sea urchin for the next round of sequencing.
-end-
Contact: Eduardo Orias, (805) 893-3024, orias@lifesci.ucsb.edu

University of California - Santa Barbara

Related Genome Sequencing Articles from Brightsurf:

Tracking the SARS-CoV-2 virus with genome sequencing
Dirk Dittmer, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at the UNC School of Medicine, is tracking the virus that causes COVID-19 by sequencing the genome of virus samples collected from diagnostic testing.

Genome sequencing accelerates cancer detection
Recent cancer studies have shown that genomic mutations leading to cancer can occur years, or even decades, before a patient is diagnosed.

Whole genome sequencing reveals genetic structural secrets of schizophrenia
UNC School of Medicine scientists have conducted the largest-ever whole genome sequencing study of schizophrenia to provide a more complete picture of the role the human genome plays in this disease.

Using whole-genome sequencing for early identification and containment of AMR pathogens
A study published today examines the evolutionary and epidemiologic history of an epidemic strain of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) -- called LAM4/KZN.

Whole genome sequencing could help save pumas from inbreeding
The first complete genetic sequences of individual mountain lions point the way to better conservation strategies for saving threatened populations of the wild animals.

Researchers move beyond sequencing and create a 3D genome
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have taken whole genome sequencing to the next level by creating a 3D map of the genome to better understand development and disease.

Clinical utility of rapid whole genome sequencing in neonates with seizures
Clinical utility of rWGS in the evaluation of neonatal seizures.

Viral genome sequencing in the heart of a Lassa outbreak
The first researchers to deploy a mobile nanopore sequencing technology to evaluate viral genomics at the height of a Lassa virus outbreak in 2018 now report their results.

New era for blood transfusions through genome sequencing
In a new study, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as well as from the New York Blood Center have leveraged the MedSeq Project -- the first randomized trial of whole genome sequencing in healthy adults -- to develop and validate a computer program that can comprehensively and cost-effectively determine differences in individuals' blood types with more than 99 percent accuracy.

Does genome sequencing increase downstream costs?
The MedSeq Project, led by investigators at Brigham Women's Hospital, is the first randomized trial to provide whole genome sequencing to both presumably healthy patients as well as those with a known cardiology issue.

Read More: Genome Sequencing News and Genome Sequencing Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.