Fungi are key actors in biodiversity. We are gradually discovering the fundamental role they play in the proper operation of ecosystems. Specialist in this field, Francis Martin, a microbiologist at INRA, has discovered how these organisms dialogue with trees

American scientist, Dr. David Liu, is considered one of today’s most brilliant researchers. His lab’s genome editing technology can be used to correct pathogenic point mutations, or single-letter changes, in DNA. This powerful tool can, in theory, treat diseases that are caused by single-letter DNA changes and potentially provide improvements to agronomic techniques.

Continuous interaction between hosts and parasites is a force that drives evolution. It forces its enemies to adapt. For mankind, this competition has shaped our immune system, modifying our key genes according to the parasites encountered. Today, scientists are studying the impact of two major infectious diseases: malaria and HIV.

The anti-inflammatory role of the bacteria Faecalibacterium prausnitizii, present in the gut, has now been identified. We created a start-up to test the effects of this bacteria in patients suffering from chronic inflammatory bowel disease. This microorganism could give rise to a new type of probiotic.

Fragments of fetal DNA float in maternal blood. This discovery of circulating fetal DNA opened the way for non-invasive prenatal testing which, for instance, makes it easier to detect Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21. It might also be replicated to other fields like cancer detection, tells Dennis Lo, who pioneered this research.

Thanks to genomics and bioinformatics, we brought together about thirty enzymes from a wide variety of different organisms, creating anticancer drugs and painkillers in baker’s yeast. This strategy paves the way for wide-scale production of these plant-inspired medicines.

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Photo Bernard Martinez

DR. DOMINIQUE LEGLU

Managing Editor

 

La Recherche, founded in 1970, is a major source of science information in France for science-interested citizens, leading universities and research institutions. The site Researchinfrance.com publishes the English version of a series of articles about the most advanced achievements appearing in our printed French version.

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November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018

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