Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Almighty Fungi: The Revolutionary Neurospora crassa
On January 11 2010, a new series of blog posts was born over at Benchfly: BenchFly’s Model Organism Week. The idea was to invite fellow science bloggers to discuss and present some of the many model organism used in biology to the rest of the science blogosphere.

In that post, a poll was displayed asking people´s model organism of choice, and offered the following alternatives:

* Mice
* Flies
* Rats
* Worms
* Zebrafish
* Primates
* Other

Immediately, and still in shock, I posted a comment asking the evident: where´s fungi??

This is what I wrote:

No fungi among the alternatives ?! I'm betting a good part of that "Other" percentage corresponds to fungi researchers
A few hours later, I was DMed through Twitter (to be DMed, refers to receiving a Direct Message -private conversation- through Twitter). Alan Marnett, Benchfly´s founder, invited me to write a post on "the fungi" for this series, to which I replied that "the fungi" is too vast for such a post and suggested focusing on particular fungi model organisms. Indeed, on Monday Benchfly featured a post on Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which as you know, we love! [ See An alternative cloning strategy: yeast recombinational cloning and Fourth time is the charm: the quest for the final plasmid].

So today, my post on a fascinating fungus (the model organism of choice in my lab) is up over at Benchfly. Here's the opening paragraph:

“This brief paper, revolutionary in both its methods and its findings, changed the genetic landscape for all time”.

This is how Norman Horowitz started a historical account celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landmark paper by Beadle and Tatum, published in 1941(Horowitz 1991). This work with the filamentous ascomycete fungus Neurospora (Beadle and Tatum 1941), started off a series of important breakthroughs that brought the fields of biochemistry and genetics together and initiated a revolution: the explosive development of biochemical genetics and molecular biology. Undeniably, the one-to-one relationship between genes and enzymes (the “one gene, one enzyme” hypothesis), a concept derived from this and follow-up work, had a tremendous impact on biology.
(continue reading)

So go visit Benchfly and read all about the contributions this fascinating fungus, Neurospora crassa, has made to the advancement of modern molecular biology. It will be a great and informative read on this classic model organism.

Some of the references discussed in the main article:

Perkins DD (1992). Neurospora: the organism behind the molecular revolution. Genetics, 130 (4), 687-701 PMID: 1582553

ScienceBlips: vote it up!



Lab Rat said...

Where's FUNGI? Seriously, you looked at that post and the first thing you thought about was fungi?

There's not one non-eukaryotic organism on there. In fact, there's not one non-animal on there either. No plants, bacteria, protists, or archaea.

I kind of wish I'd noticed this earlier project work just went a bit crazy over the last few weeks. I've left a note at the original site, but I realise I'm several weeks too late :p

Alejandro Montenegro-Montero said...

Hey! don't get mad at me!!

It is just natural that my first reaction was towards my organism of choice, and it was just silly that Saccharomyces and Neurospora (grouped as fungi) weren't there.
Also, I did notice that others were missing, but I really wanted to click on "Fungi" in the poll.

This is just as natural as the reaction a microbiologist (like yourself) would have, asking for several other models. Imagine the reaction Psi Wavefunction would have had regarding that poll!

I totally understand your claim, though. E coli (mentioned as a great model organism in my post) and Arabidopsis were missing.

Note that Tetrahymena is among the final picks.

Lab Rat said...

I'm not mad, sorry I think that comment reads harsher than it was meant. Lol Psi would have had a fit! I get the feeling she's the only big protist blogger in existence :p

Great thing was I wrote a similar comment (although without the hissy-fit-ness) over at the poll, and they got back to me and said there would definitely be a bacteria featured next time.

And I did notice you mentioned E. coli in your post, which was great.

Alejandro Montenegro-Montero said...

I get the feeling she's the only big protist blogger in existence

I think she is.

Great thing was I wrote a similar comment (although without the hissy-fit-ness) over at the poll, and they got back to me and said there would definitely be a bacteria featured next time

Alan's comment just agrees with the importance of bacteria and archaea. I don't know if they had commissioned the post yet. Maybe you can help ;-)

Lab Rat said...

Yeah he asked if I wanted to write it :) Can't wait!

Alejandro Montenegro-Montero said...

Great! Looking forward to it.