Wednesday, December 22, 2010

sugar


Video - Ajit Varki talks about glycobiology in the context of evolution

Naturally Selected | Ajit Varki, distinguished professor in the departments of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine at the UCSD, was one of the first researchers to recognize the importance of glycans—the sugar molecules that decorate the surface of cells. He is profiled in the December issue of ASBMB Today, with a focus on the larger context of his work as co-founder of The Center for Academic Research in Anthropogeny (CARTA), which promotes transdisciplinary research into human origins.

Varki believes that sialic acids be responsible for major evolutionary advances. As he states in his interview with ASBMB, equating human evolution to a murder mystery, “every single cell in a human is covered with sugars, and research has now shown biological roles for glycans that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. So if you mess around with sialic acid biology, you end up changing a lot of functions.”

In this video he talks about the importance of, and his hopes for, the field of glycobiology.