Genes that Regulate Embryonic Development

Universidad Nacional del Noroeste de la Provincia de Buenos Aires - Departamento de Ciencias Básicas y Experimentales

December 28, 2015 | 4 ′ 22 ′′


Genes that Regulate Embryonic Development


Rolando Rivera Pomar was awarded a prize in Germany for his scientific work in the area of development genetics. Vinegar fly was his investigation’s axis. In an interview with Argentina Investiga, the specialist considered that “in the last years, the Argentinean scientific system has reached a perception that science and knowledge are important because they contribute to common welfare”.

Doctor Rolando Rivera Pomar, professor and researcher from the Universidad Nacional del Noroeste of the Province of Buenos Aires (UNNOBA), was awarded a prize in Germany for his scientific cork in the area of development genetics, discipline that studies how the DNA segment, the genes tell the body how to produce specific proteins.">genes regulate an organism’s embryonic development.

The target of his study was “Drosophila melanogaster”, known as vinegar fly, whose genetic has been known for a hundred years. According to Rivera Pomar it is “a species with many advantages to investigate because it grows easily and cheaply”.

Rivera Pomar explained that the genetics of development studies how the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the genes acts through a fertilized cell and a series of genetic programs and mechanisms to have at the end of the process a complete organism. “I started studying how the segments that form the fly are constituted, which is not important at first sight, except for the fact that what happens there can be translated to any organism”, he said to Argentina Investiga. In relation to the findings he commented: “I found that there are two genes responsible for activating all the genes which contribute to the fly’s segments formation and how these are regulated to each other”.

About it he stated: “When a program contained in the DNA (which is like the hard disk of the computer) is activated, a molecule of ribonucleic acid (RNA) is formed and transfers that information to make a protein exert a function”. In this sense, he clarified that the main key that regulates the expression of the genes is in the formation of RNA. “It is a very important process, but we find that the proteins that regulate the formation of RNA can also regulate the formation of proteins. That was an unexpected discovery and the reason why these works are mentioned”.

The findings of these investigations, which constituted “the heart of his career”, transcended the laboratory. “I was lucky to find that the things I discovered were important and the works are already cited in genetics books”, he said.

In this sense, he commented that scientific publications are usually read by “super experts”, but he remarked that “when investigations start to be part of text books, the scientist’s work is integrated to the general knowledge”.

Currently, Doctor Rolando Rivera Pomar is devoted to the study of the complete genomes of many species of insects and works not only with the genes that regulate embryonic development, but, as he explains: “We are advancing in a research line with vinchucas and we found genes related to the resistance to insecticides, which can contribute to solve problems in the north of Argentina”.

Through a project accredited by the UNNOBA, he is also studying with Doctor Inés Catalano, insects which transmit corn diseases in the region, trying to identify genes related to the transmission of diseases and new control ways.

Rivera Pomar differentiated basic from technological research: “I have dealt with basic research; technology uses that knowledge to apply it to solutions to specific problems. But it is also the scientist’s responsibility to be able to apply his knowledge to the development of new topics they provide to technology”.

In relation to the appropriation the community makes of this knowledge, he considered that “in the last years, the Argentinean scientific system has achieved a perception that science and knowledge are important because they contribute to common welfare”.

Ana Sagastume
comunicacion@unnoba.edu.ar
Lorena Berro
Dirección de Comunicación Institucional


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