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News from Natural Sciences

From left: Assistant Professor Karim Rahimi (MBG) and Assistant Professor Daniel Dupont (iNANO) (photo: Anne Færch Nielsen)

2021.08.19 | Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

New long-read sequencing technology reveals the surprising complexity of circular RNAs

A paper from Jørgen Kjems and colleagues published in Nature Communications presents a new method to determine the full-length sequence and isoform variation of a class of RNAs called circular RNAs.

Figur: Matti Turtola

2021.08.16 | Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Three-layered control of mRNA tails

In a joint collaboration, researchers from Aarhus, Cambridge and Warsaw have characterized how the essential mRNA poly(A) tails are synthesized in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The study reveals several mechanisms controlling poly(A) tail lengths and hereby ensuring the robustness of gene expression.

The Tollund Man bog body. Photo: Museum Silkeborg.

2021.08.10 | Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Research reveals recipe of Tollund man's last meal

Researchers have re-examined the last meal of the famous Tollund Man bog body, consumed shortly before he died around 400 BC. The analysis reveals that he likely ate an ordinary Iron Age meal of porridge and fish, consumed 12-24 hours before his death.

Illustration: Fritz Ahlefeldt

2021.08.13 | Department of Mathematics

Research for the people!

The phenomenon of citizen science is taking an ever more important role in a number of research projects all over the world. Aarhus University has been using the method for several years, and now the formation of an interdisciplinary collaboration will ensure that this growing research and communication field has a more formal position in the…

Niels-Ole Hørlyk took water samples in Bønnerup Marina as one of 200 volunteers in the HavBlitz citizen science project on 29 September 2019. Photo: Private.
A map of the sites from where the volunteers twice collected water samples. Graphic: AU

2021.07.22 | Department of Biology

Volunteers conducted a survey of residents in the sea around Denmark

Biologists from Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen have studied the environmental DNA in water samples collected simultaneously by 370 volunteers on two occasions from almost 100 sites along the Danish coast. The combination of citizen science and environmental DNA has provided an effective overview of biodiversity in Danish…

Researchers have identified the VC1 gene as responsible for the production of anti-nutrients vicine and convicine that make people sensitive to the faba bean (photo: Frederick Stoddard, University of Helsinki)

2021.07.07 | Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Sustainability

Protein crop’s potential unlocked by deciphering anti-nutrient biosynthesis

Faba beans are an excellent source of food protein, but about 4% of the world’s population are afflicted by favism, which renders them sensitive to the faba bean anti-nutrients vicine and convicine. Now, an international research team has identified the VC1 gene as responsible for the production of these compounds.

The sun may be setting on the inland ice sheet as we know it, but we still need to understand how the area around north-east Greenland has evolved over time in order to assess any possible changes caused by anthropogenic climate change. This work can now begin under the leadership of a geology professor from Aarhus. (Photo: Colourbox)

2021.07.05 | Department of Geoscience, Sustainability

Secrets of the ice

There is still so much we don’t know about the earth. One of the blind spots can be found in northeast Greenland, and it is relevant to climate change and the marine environment. An AU-led research project will now generate valuable knowledge about the region by using a new and unique data set collected during a successful expedition.

Associate Professor Ebbe S. Andersen, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) at Aarhus University has received the Danish polymer Prize - ATV | Elastyrenprisen 2021. Chairman of the Prize committee Niels Chr. Nielsen also handed over the prize to Associate Professor Anders Egede Daugaard (DTU). Photo: Tom Jersø

2021.06.22 | Faculty of Natural Sciences, iNANO, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Ebbe S. Andersen honored by the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences

Congratulations to Associate Professor Ebbe S. Andersen who is awarded the Danish polymer prize, Elastyrenprisen 2021, for being an internationally recognized scientist and a pioneer within biopolymer research, including RNA origami. The award is given by the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences (ATV).

Professor Poul Nissen awarded Anders Jahre's large medical prize 2021. Photo: Lars Kruse - AU Foto

2021.06.10 | Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, iNANO

Professor Poul Nissen awarded Anders Jahre's large medical prize 2021

One of the Nordic region's most prestigious research prizes, the Anders Jahre Prize, goes to Professor Poul Nissen from Aarhus University. Poul Nissen is awarded the prize for his research in the transport of proteins in and out of cells. This knowledge is of great importance for understanding diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and…

An artistic rendering of RNA polymerase folding RNA origami scaffolds with two proteins. At the top right a finished scaffolding with proteins marked with the colors yellow and cyan. Figure: Cody Geary
Overview of some of the RNA origami structures designed in the current study compared with a bacterial ribosome (grey). RNA origami structures are coloured by the elements they consist of: 180 degree interactions (purple), 120 degree interactions (dark green), tetra loops (yellow) and dovetail seams (dark blue). Central structure scaffold aptamers (green and orange) and fluorescent proteins. Figure: Cody Geary and Ebbe S. Andersen.
Design and characterisation of RNA origami structures. RNA drawings, atomic models and sequences are designed on the computer. A DNA template is synthesised and transcribed and then folded by an RNA polymerase. The RNA structure is characterised by microscopy methods. Figure: Cody Geary

2021.05.31 | Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, iNANO

Bigger and better RNA scaffolds for organising proteins

Researchers from Aarhus University and Caltech have developed a method to build much larger, though still nanosize, RNA scaffolds than previously thought possible using RNA origami. The method is based on new software that has been made available online so other researchers can use it to develop biosensors, nanorobots and medicine – including…

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