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To be able to gain further understanding of how a intercourse chromosomes work and just how they developed.

The Y chromosome is famous to look for the sex that is male. What is less distinguished: frequently 90 % regarding the Y chromosome comprises of junk DNA that outcompetes elements that are functional. In his ERC task, biologist Qi Zhou investigates exactly exactly how it survived selection that is natural what effect it might have in the genome.

“The XY chromosomes mark the main hereditary differences when considering male and female”, describes Qi Zhou. “In animals, the Y chromosome determines the male intercourse.” The biologist happens to be sex that is studying their whole career, but you may still find numerous puzzling concerns that modern research cannot provide responses for – at the very least perhaps maybe not yet.

Learning fresh good fresh fruit flies

Zhou examines Drosophila, better referred to as good fresh good fresh fresh fruit flies. Drosophila and people share the XY system, although the Drosophila’s Y chromosome is a lot younger. ” Our individual Y chromosome is about 180 million years 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 purpose of the task would be to figure out the series of nucleotide base pairs that form the DNA that is human. ” In the biological globe it can easily be in comparison to Apollo 13″, smiles Zhou. In the past, the researchers discovered numerous alleged repeated elements besides the genes that are functional. “These elements try not to encode any genes. Worse: they outcompete other practical elements often by way of a quicker propagation rate when you look at the genome”, claims Zhou.

Just exactly What continues to be is junk DNA

It ended up that particularly the Y chromosome is filled with these repetitive elements. This content that is repetitive reach up to 90 %. “The chromosome that determines our intercourse is simply a garbage can for repetitive DNA”, states Zhou. The junk elements have now been examined a whole lot, for example, in Richard Dawkins’ book “The selfish gene”. But, it’s still not yet determined why these “selfish” junk elements regarding the intercourse chromosome occur nor the way they are regulated if an impact is had by them regarding the remaining portion of the genome.

“Anything that exists may have – more or less – undergone natural selection”, explains Zhou today. Nonetheless, the biologist that is young a theory on what the repeated elements survived: “Each set of chromosomes can trade their hereditary product. The result of this recombination is always to efficiently eliminate bad mutations. When it comes to XY chromosomes, recombination is turn off since the male-determining gene really should not be recombined on the X chromosome — then the female will carry the male-determining gene. When this is accomplished, the Y chromosome begins to accumulate its deleterious mutations – just what we now identify as obvious junk.” Modern tools of genetics

Inside the research, Zhou utilizes gene sequencing. Cutting-edge machines – as provided by the Vienna Biocenter – can read as much as 50,000 base pairs per run, allowing Zhou along with his peers to have so much more complete all about the genomes in a time that is short. He additionally sequences the tiny RNA – a defence system against junk elements – to discover how a Y chromosome is controlled. Finally, he could be additionally likely to utilize the modifying device CRISPR-Cas9: “we should take away the russian brides at 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 might be a groundbreaking breakthrough, since we mostly consider the Y chromosome as merely a male determinant.”

From Asia to Austria “Right now we have been having the sequence that is entire of Y chromosome. From then on we’re going to begin to gather the tiny RNA”, explains Zhou, whom stumbled on the Department of Molecular Evolution and developing just one single 12 months ago. “The ERC Grant started a gate in my situation to accomplish research in European countries”, claims the grantee that is 36-year-old. Just just What he appreciates many during the University of Vienna may be the environment that is intelligent the strong help for preliminary research: “My scientific studies are totally curiosity-driven. For instance, i shall never ever be in a position to create a medication to deal with cancer tumors, but used research and research have actually been benefiting one another on a regular basis.”

ERC Grants at the University of Vienna The funding of pioneering research that is basic among the priorities for the eu. The European Research Council (ERC) has been established to this end. Studies should have a high possibility of innovation to get economic help. Since 2007, 41 ERC funds have been conferred on researchers associated with the University of Vienna: 14 Advanced Grants, 5 Consolidator Grants, 21 Starting Grants plus one evidence of Concept.

Issues to fix

Zhou nevertheless holds a posture at Zhejiang University in Asia and travels to and fro frequently. As he is certainly not busy working, he enjoys the art scene and social lifetime of Vienna, goes climbing or drinks coffee in the 7th region, where he lives. “When i will be old, I am able to imagine being one of many people that are elderly papers in a Viennese cafe right through the day long”, smiles Zhou. ” not now.” The young biologist nevertheless has many dilemmas to fix. (hm)

Qi Zhou, PhD, is really a known user regarding the Faculty of Life Sciences of this University of Vienna. Their task “Evolution and Impact of Heterochromatin on a new drosophila y chromosome” is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and operates from August 2016 to August 2021.