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The velvet spider’s genome has now been mapped. This image shows a group of social velvet spiders jointly killing their prey. Photo: Peter Gammelby, Aarhus University.
Kristian Wejse Sanggard and Jesper Smærup Bechsgaard with a tarantula. Photo: Peter Gammelby, Aarhus University.
We now know more about the tarantula. Its silk and venom are particularly interesting for the researchers. Photo: Aarhus University.

2014.05.06 | Public / media

Mapping the spider genome

For the first time ever, a group of Danish and Chinese researchers has sequenced the genome of the spider. This knowledge provides a much more qualified basis for studying features of the spider. It also shows that humans share certain genomic similarities with spiders.

The research team behind the new results of muscular dystrophy (from left): Thomas G. Jensen, Rune Thomsen, Olof Pettersson, Lars Aagaard og Christian Damgaard (Diana Andrejeva is missing in the photo). Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen.
Figure 1. Cells isolated from muscular dystrophy patients are stained for the toxic RNA (red), which is often seen in the cell nucleus (marked blue). Figure: Christian Damgaard.
Figure 2. Left: The toxic RNA in DM1 cells consists of a number of CUG triplets that are often repeated thousands of times, forming a specific structure as shown. The MBNL1 protein binds to this structure, thus failing to carry out its normal function in the cell. The expression of a number of genes becomes deregulated in the cell and the disease occurs. Right: DDX6 can ‘unwind’ the structure with its enzyme activity and MBNL1 leaves the complex to carry out its normal functions in the cell. Figure: Christian Damgaard

2014.05.04 | Public / media

New knowledge about muscular dystrophy

Researchers at Aarhus University have revealed a previously unknown function of a cellular enzyme that can disperse toxic aggregates in the cells of patients with muscular dystrophy.