Always wanted to do an AMA. Am impatient so will do so now.
Just as in Arika.S' AMA, 3 ways to ask a question:
1) PM me on here
2) E-mail me at email@example.com
3) Post as a reply to this Blog entry
All questions are welcome.
Weight; 85 but trying to lose.
Koala Gene Promises Chlamydia Treatment
So a lot of you may have seen the news recently on a group of Australian scientists decoding the genome of the Koalas, which is a fairly large 26,000 genes. To put that in perspective Homo Sapiens has around 28,000 genes and one of the most studies model organisms, which are organisms we use instead of humans, is Bakers Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisae) has around 5300 to 5400 genes. I should probably add to this, and if you are looking at this blog you may be familiar that many regulatory genes of yeast are orthologs with human genes - and in most instances processes controlled by one gene may be controlled by two in humans. This is taken in instance with the NPR2 gene, which has a well known role in autophagy and has the human ortholog NPRL2 - and coincidentally is also a Tumour Suppressor gene as C6 in Koalas. So C6 as a gene may have many orthologs in humans and so we could potentially unlock more than one target for cancer treatment.
The gene in quesiton in Koalas, is activated in infants in the womb and early development of koalas. We have a gene that up-regulates immune response as part of the complement system (For those not so informed the complement system is part of our antibodies and these molecules float around in our bloodstream and activate during different responses, for instance the IgE antibody activates mast cells to provide a histamine response to cause inflammation). So in this case the C6 gene is a precursor for this complement system and helps gain an innate immune response.
Unlocking the aspect of the C6 gene in the Koala genome and activating the gene throughout adulthood may provide an aspect for treating the Chlamydia epidemic. This is just the start for the five-year project in decoding the Koala genome. The main direction of the Koala genome project is to find out how Koalas are able to eat the Eukalyptus leaves, which are fairly common in Australia but only Koalas are able to digest the leaves. As Chlamydia is a large problem for Koalas, and the only treatment available at the moment is Antibiotics - which due to their unique metabolism are very hard to get an accurate dose, you have to give them a large dose, but at the same time it's hard on their microbiota.
I'm looking forward to seeing the results of this and hope to lend a hand to their work. I'll follow it very closely.