How new RNA genes are born

Dr Delihas made an unexpected discovery of an ancestral DNA repeat sequence.

The study of gene birth and evolution focuses on the identification of ancestral genetic sequences, highly conserved during evolution, that can serve as a foundation for gene development. Nicholas Delihas, Professor Emeritus at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, New York, has identified one such ancestral element and presented data and a model to show how new […]

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High-throughput fluorescent sequencing of biomolecules within their cellular environment

The researchers have developed FISSEQ to sequence barcodes which can be placed in the mouse brain.

Understanding the molecular diversity within healthy or diseased tissues is crucial for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and for gaining a better understanding of fundamental biological processes. Biological tissues contain thousands of different molecules, yet conventional staining looks at only a few at a time because it relies on a limited number of dyes. Prof George Church and Dr […]

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Directed Panspermia: Synthetic DNA in bioforming planets

This seeding of a planet with life is known as directed panspermia.

As our technological advancements continue, scientists are beginning to turn what was science fiction into reality. Concepts such as terraforming and travel between stars are becoming more achievable, giving life to the dream that one day we might colonise other planets. Directed panspermia is one method of altering a hostile, uninhabited planet to a more Earth-like environment, and Cork Institute […]

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DNA untangled: Topoisomerase enzymes remove our genetic knots

DNA transcription

Topoisomerases are enzymes that are abundantly present in our cells and can temporarily cut and rejoin our DNA to remove knots and tangles that form during important biological processes. If they fail to do their job, cells may die. Some anti-cancer and anti-bacterial drugs alter this natural process to eliminate unwanted cells. Dr Neil Osheroff, professor of Biochemistry and Medicine […]

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Z-DNA the new biology: The third dimension of cancer therapeutics

Z-DNA the new biology:The third dimension of cancer therapeutics

DNA comes in many different shapes and sizes. Z-DNA, also known as left-handed DNA, is different from the more familiar right-handed B-DNA. Until recently, the role of Z-DNA in humans was a mystery. In a scientific breakthrough, Dr Alan Herbert of InsideOutBio Inc., Charlestown, Massachusetts, has identified the purpose of unusual DNA sequences called “flipons”. Flipons get their name from […]

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Directed evolution of CRISPR-Cas9 to increase specificity

Directed evolution of CRISPR-Cas9 to increase specificity

Building upon previous CRISPR research and gene editing methods found in nature, Dr Lee and colleagues from ToolGen have developed a method of screening multiple Cas9 variants. Their method seeks to quickly and effectively screen many mutations of Cas9 to find one which possesses maximised on-target activity and minimised off-target activity. After successful development and implementation of the system, Sniper-Screen, […]

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New synthetic biology method revolutionises DNA cloning

Since the dawn of humanity, we have been modifying and altering the natural environment to suit our needs, from domestication of animals and plants to the modification of landscapes. Using synthetic biology, Dr Jeff Braman and Dr Peter Sheffield at Agilent Technologies, Inc. have developed a new method to assemble DNA. Their approach allows seamless assembly of independent, functionally tested, […]

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Extracellular vesicle DNA: A promising cancer biomarker

Lung cancer patients could one day receive faster, cheaper and more accurate diagnoses thanks to extracellular vesicle DNA found in liquid biopsies. These were the findings of a research team led by Professors Kye Young Lee and Jae Young Hur of Konkuk University’s School of Medicine. Their work offers an alternative to invasive tissue biopsies which are currently used to detect […]

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From beer to brains: how yeast molecular genetics prove the importance of introns

A research article highlighting the importance of intron retention, using the GCR1 gene found in yeast as a model system.

Scientific discoveries often come from the most unlikely of places, and Dr Tracy Johnson’s work is no exception. Using a yeast system typically used to make beer or bread, Dr Johnson and her team at UCLA have uncovered important genetic findings that could highlight the importance of intron retention during gene expression. Her research looks at the science of gene […]

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