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Archive - Jan 2020

Date

January 4th

Water Lily Genome Expands Picture of the Early Evolution of Flowering Plants

The newly reported genome sequence of a water lily sheds light on the early evolution of angiosperms, the group of all flowering plants. An international team of researchers, including scientists at Penn State, used high-throughput next-generation sequencing technology to read out the water lily's (Nymphaea colorata) genome and transcriptome (the set of all genes expressed as messenger RNAs). The unusual high quality and depth of coverage of the sequence allowed the researchers to assemble the vast majority of the genome into 14 chromosomes and identify more than 31,000 protein-coding genes. An open-access paper describing the sequence and subsequent analysis was published online on December 18, 2019 in the journal Nature. "Water lilies have been an inspiration to artists like Claude Monet because of their beauty and important to scientists because of their position near the base of the evolutionary tree of all flowering plants," said Hong Ma, PfD, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, Huck Distinguished Research Professor of Plant Molecular Biology, and Professor of Biology at Penn State, one of the leaders of the research team. "I previously contributed to the sequencing and analysis of the genome of Amborella, which represents the earliest branch to separate from other flowering plants, but Amborella lacks big showy colorful flowers and attractive floral scent, both of which serve to attract pollinators in most groups of flowering plants.

New Photodynamic Therapy Based on Photosensitizers (Photosens and Photodithazine) Induces Immunogenic Cell Death in Mouse Tumor Cells

The world scientific community is waging a difficult and prolonged war on cancer. New research in the field of immunogenic cell death can extend the area of drugs application and ensure patients' protection from relapse after therapy. Cancer treatment is not just the removal of the tumor cells from the body, and chemotherapy. The doctors' aim is to provide a scenario that would prevent tumor cells from proliferating and causing a new disease. For many years, scientists at the Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod and the University of Ghent (Belgium) have been engaged in research aimed to minimize the harm to the body after cancer treatment and have been looking for new approaches to treating cancer patients. The project, supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation and headed by Dmitry Krys'ko, PhD, leading researcher of the Lobachevsky University's Institute of Biology and Biomedicine, Professor at Ghent University, has yielded its first major results. According to Professor Krys'ko, the existing anti-cancer therapy (chemotherapy, radiation therapy and photodynamic therapy) causes great damage to the body as a whole, while his team's research is aimed at the stimulation of immunogenic cell death, which not only minimizes the damage, but also enhances the efficacy of treatment by involving the body's resources in the fight against cancer. "In this study, we tested some drugs for anticancer therapy based on photodynamic treatment and investigated their new immunogenic properties. We can say that not only the external impact will be used to fight cancer, but also the body itself will engage in the fight by triggering the reactions of the adaptive immune response.