The genome is an essential part of a living being. Like any meat or vegetable, preservation is a big issue, because when a cell die, its DNA is lost. What can it be done? Scientist have found a way to store it and, at the same time, to have as many samples as they want, whenever they want... they discovered that some kind of cells can live with an special guest, a piece of genetic information from another living being. These cells are bacteria.
These unicellular organisms are capable of maintaining their normal behaviour and every single function despite having a piece of an alien genome added to their own genetic information. To reach this goal and keep the bacteria unaware of his guest, the outsider piece of genome is placed in an special region, called a vector, like, for example, a fosmid or a bacterial artificial chromosome (BACs). These latter are extra-chromosomal DNA molecules extra-chromosomal which are transcript and duplicatedreplicated without relation withindependently of the principal chromosomal informationchromosome.
Working with bacteria has double pros, because they can be frozen without problems and they are easily breedinggrown. This is a guarantee for the genome's availability, it will be always ready to work with themit. The whole set of bacteria that contains all the different pieces of a living being genome is called BAC a genomic lLibrary. Nowadays this type of ''alive living libraries' stores genetic material from a large number of beings like human, mouse, deer, beside many insects and plants.... and now also from the lynx.
The delicate task of inserting the DNA fragments of the most endangered feline in the world in the inside of a bacteria has been developed by the scientist team leaded led by José Luis García in the Biological Research Centre of the CSIC in Madrid.
The BAC genomic lLibrary has an especial characteristic: it is completely disordered. The 'books' are not classified, what means that the genome is randomly cut and it is house stored unknowing what is the information in each piece. It's utility comes later, when a scientist has identifiedidentifies the genetic information he needs for his work. He knows what is he trying to find in the genome and there are different techniques that makes it possible to locate the specific piece of genome that it is needed among the many fragments represented in the library that it is needed, recover the genetic material and work with it.
Besides preservation of the genome for the future, BAC Librarygenomic libraries are helpful in the genome sequencing process. Firstly, the end of each piece of genome is may be analysed and identified. These sequences are known to be separated by a certain distance in the genome, since each fragment placed on a phosmid fosmid has the same length, 40,000 pairs of basis. What's that for? How does this help? Well, secondly, they are used like guides. It They facilitates the assembly of short sequences obtained into large and continuous fragments of DNA, the great challenge of sequencing complex genomes with new sequencing technologies.
The main aim of this research is to generate the first map of the Iberian lynx genome, which will provide important information on the evolution of this species and on the genetic consequences of its decline.
The lynx genomic sequence has already been identified by CNAG and is in the process of being assembled. When the process ends, in 2012, the researchers will face a new challenge: interpret it and compare it to other felid genomes.