Scientists Hopes to Pry Open Part of the Clam Genome

Article ID: 506752

Released: 25-Aug-2004 4:50 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Marine Biological Laboratory

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Newswise — New England's favorite summertime delicacy, the chowder clam, has just been elevated to a whole new status. An international team of scientists-who credit studying surf clam (Spisula solidissima) cells with important research breakthroughs in the study of diseases such as cancer, premature aging, and muscular dystrophy-has convened at the Marine Biological Laboratory to begin sequencing some of the clam's active genes.

The effort, called the Clam Project, is the first step toward sequencing the entire clam genome, and its goal is to provide scientists with better knowledge of the clam's active DNA. Such information is crucial to the study of the basic cellular processes involved in many diseases. The scientists plan to use the new genetic information to create antibodies. And they hope to begin experiments impossible without those antibodies as soon as the project is complete.

The research team includes: Avram Hershko of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Yosef Gruenbaum of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Robert Palazzo of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Robert Goldman of Northwestern University, all visiting summer investigators at the Marine Biological Laboratory.

The research is made possible through the generous support of the Manhattan-based Gruss Lipper Family Foundation.

The Marine Biological Laboratory is an independent scientific institution, founded in 1888, dedicated to improving the human condition through basic research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. MBL hosts research programs in cell and developmental biology, ecosystems studies, molecular biology and evolution, neurobiology, behavior, global infectious diseases and sensory physiology. Its intensive graduate-level educational program is renowned throughout the life sciences. The MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the western hemisphere.

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