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Gustavo Caetano-Anolles

Study tracks evolutionary history of metabolic networks

October 28, 2019

By analyzing how metabolic enzymes are built and organized, researchers have reconstructed the evolutionary history of metabolism. Their study shows how metabolic networks – which drive every cellular process from protein building to DNA repair – became less random, more modular and more hierarchical over time, the researchers say.

Their study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, shines a light on the patchwork process that allowed cells to shape the metabolic pathways into what they are today, the researchers report. 


October 28, 2019


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Microbes in human body swap genes, even across tissue boundaries

April 16, 2019

Bacteria in the human body are sharing genes with one another at a higher rate than is typically seen in nature, and some of those genes appear to be traveling – independent of their microbial hosts – from one part of the body to another, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.


April 16, 2019


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Illinois study provides whole-system view of plant cold stress

October 29, 2018

When temperatures drop, plants can’t bundle up. Stuck outside, exposed, plants instead undergo a series of biochemical changes that protect cells from damage. Scientists have described these changes and identified some of the genes controlling them, but it’s not clear how all the processes work together. Lacking this global view, plant breeders have struggled to engineer cold-tolerant crops.


October 29, 2018


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Viruses share genes with organisms across the tree of life

December 7, 2017

A new study finds that viruses share some genes exclusively with cells that are not their hosts. The study, reported in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, adds to the evidence that viruses swap genes with a variety of cellular organisms and are agents of diversity, researchers say.

The study looked at protein structures in viruses and across all superkingdoms, or domains, of life: from the single-celled microbes known as bacteria and archaea, to eukaryotes, a group that includes animals, plants, fungi and all other living things.


December 7, 2017


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Study adds to evidence that viruses are alive

September 28, 2015

A new analysis supports the hypothesis that viruses are living entities that share a long evolutionary history with cells, researchers report. The study offers the first reliable method for tracing viral evolution back to a time when neither viruses nor cells existed in the forms recognized today, the researchers say.

The new findings appear in the journal Science Advances.


September 28, 2015


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IGB Faculty Members Granted Access to Top Supercomputer

June 25, 2013

IGB Faculty Members Granted Access to Top Supercomputer

Four researchers at the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) have been granted access to the Blue Waters supercomputer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, capable of sustained performance at 1 petaflop, the measure of computer processing speed that is equal to a thousand trillion floating-point operations per second.


June 25, 2013


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