Newsletter EU Genomics News
Newsletter no 3 - November 2004
Highlights of EU-funded fundamental genomics research
Bernard Mulligan


Welcome to a new series of special issues of EU Genomics News. In this occasional series, we will focus on specific sectors of Fundamental Genomics funded under FP6. We begin with a look at the technology development projects funded from the first call for proposals. In the following editorial, Indridi Benediktsson discusses the reasons why the European Commission’s funding effort in collaborative research is having a big impact on the way research technologies are perceived and developed in European life sciences nowadays. His words set the scene for the projects highlighted in this newsletter.

Bernard Mulligan
Acting Head of the Fundamental Genomics Unit
Directorate-General for Research and Technological Development (DG Research)
European Commission
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Indridi Benediktsson
Indridi Benediktsson

The way modern life scientists approach a scientific question has changed considerably over the past decades. While in the eighties they were satisfied with working on a single gene, a single enzyme or a biochemical pathway, today the expectation is that one should approach a biological phenomenon by investigating a multitude of genes, proteins, and structures, etc. or at least that are examined hundreds or thousands of samples at the same time. This change has been brought about by increasingly sophisticated and high-throughput technologies which reduce the cost and time needed for each sample or measurement, and by the increasing wealth of data accumulated, e.g. on nucleotide sequences. Read more

The significance of RNA for cellular function and genome evolution
by Jürgen Brosius

One surprising discovery that has arisen from the human genome project is that humans do not have considerably more protein-genes than other mammals. For example, 99% of mouse genes have human homologues. Consequently, at most 1 200 (4%), but possibly as few as 300 (1%), of human genes have arisen since the rodent and primate lineages diverged about 65-110 million years ago. Moreover, based solely on the ‘gene count’, our 30 000 genes render us barely more complex than fish or other vertebrates, only seven to ten times more complex than E. coli and three times more than the ‘lowly’ bread mould! Read more

Hitting the target

Bioxhit: biocrystallography (X) on a highly integrated technology platform for European structural genomics

Bioxhit is a unique project, bringing together – for the first time – all of Europe’s present and future synchrotron facilities to develop an integrated technology platform for biocrystallography. The project aims to increase the capacity of X-ray crystallography to determine the 3D structure of the tens of thousands of new macromolecules – mainly proteins – which have been discovered in recent years, thanks to advances in genome sequencing. Read more

Next generation toolbox for European genomic research

MolTools: advanced molecular tools for array-based analyses of genomes, transcriptomes, proteomes and cells

A new technology-based project aims to harness the full medical potential of the human genome sequence by developing the next generation of ultra-sensitive tools capable of discerning the millions of tiny variations that exist between individual genomes. Read more

Bridging the gap to drug development

Although new genomics approaches are delivering hundreds of thousands of candidate drug targets for human disease, ensuring their medical and therapeutic relevance is currently an inefficient process with a high attrition rate. One new FP6 project, PONT, aims to bridge the gap between genomic targets and drug development through a new highly parallel technological approach. Read more

Probing the proteome

European research in proteomics – the large-scale study of protein structure, function and interactions – has been given a massive boost with a €12 million grant for Interaction Proteome, the biggest ever EU-funded proteomics project. Read more

MAPK signalling: Spatial/temporal organisation and regulation of the MAPK pathway

The mysteries of an enigmatic intracellular signalling pathway, which plays a pivotal role in many vital cellular functions, are being unravelled thanks to the multidisciplinary approach of a genomics project funded under the European Commission’s FP5. Read more

Flash news



Fundamental Genomics Research website on-line!

Conferences and meetings

Structural genomics and proteomics
Structural genomics
and proteomics
research: first joint meeting of European projects, Barcelona,
1-4 December 2004

Funding basic research in the life sciences: exploring opportunities for European synergies
Funding basic research in the life sciences: exploring opportunities for European synergies, Brussels 13 December 2004

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The content of this digest has been prepared by Research DG officials and represents their personal views on the subject matter. Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.