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24.01.2018

The largest genome ever: Decoding the Axolotl

© CRTD

A team of researchers led by scientists in Vienna, Dresden and Heidelberg has decoded the entire genetic information of the Mexican salamander axolotl. The axolotl genome, which is the largest genome ever to be sequenced, will be a powerful tool to study the molecular basis for re-growing limbs and other forms of regeneration. The journal NATURE publishes the news in its current issue.

One of the largest axolotl-colonies is maintained by the team of Elly Tanaka, now at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna. The Tanaka-group that was based at the DFG-Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) at the TU Dresden and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) until 2016 is studying the molecular cell biology of limb and spinal cord regeneration and how these mechanisms evolved. Over the years, the team has developed an extensive molecular toolkit for the axolotl, including comprehensive transcriptome data that reveal protein-coding sequences in the animal's genome. Using these tools, Elly Tanaka and her colleagues were able to identify the cells that initiate regeneration and describe molecular pathways that control the process.

Complete press release