Posts Tagged ‘molecular biology’

Glowing kittens, transgenics and FIV: A step towards combating HIV

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-15-2011

What do humans and cats have in common? Apart from a liking for tuna and a tendency to get sleepy on a Sunday afternoon, both are AIDS-susceptible species, and researchers in the USA and Japan are looking at feline genome manipulation as a route to create better models for HIV and other infectious and non-infectious diseases.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic used gamete-targeted lentiviral transgenesis to transfect the feline egg cells with a gene for the restriction factor, TRIMCyp, along with a jellyfish gene as a fluorescent reporter gene to track the efficacy of transfection, before fertilisation in vitro. This was the first success of this technique in a carnivore.

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Cancer cells as cross dressers

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-22-2011

While many scientists have espoused the theory that each type of cancer cell comes from a unique cancer stem cell, research out of the Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard and Whitehead Institute points to a much more decentralized society, with cancer cells able to interconvert between different types.

To characterize how cancer maintains cellular equilibrium, the researchers studied two different breast cancer cell lines and examined three different cell states that were similar to normal breast epithelial cell types, known as basal, luminal, and stem-like. The team sorted the different cell types from each other and then grew their relatively pure populations for six days. Remarkably, each of the three populations quickly returned to the same equilibrium – and populations of non-stem cells generated new stem-like cells.

Click here to read more.

Citation: Gupta PB et al. Stochastic state transitions give rise to phenotypic equilibrium in populations of cancer cells. Cell. August 19, 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.07.026

7 Great Resources for HRM Analysis

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-04-2011

Bio-Rad Laboratories recently launched the Precision Melt Supermix, which is a high-perfomance supermix for both genotyping and epigenetic analyses.

In honor of this launch, we invite you to review some of the resources (including technical notes, review articles and video tutorials) that we have posted on high resolution melt analysis. Feel free to to click on any of the links below for further details:

The fight for buzz: Epigenetics Versus Genome Structure

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-01-2011

There is a huge buzz in the molecular biology community around epigenetic factors such DNA methylation and chromosomal orientation and their affect on molecular pathway activity. In two recent posts, we highlighted a new tool for epigenetic analysis which was recognized as one of the most innovative new products of 2011. However, according to a recent study published in Nature Biotechnology, structural variations involving large scale changes in DNA sequences should be just as “buzz-worthy” as epigenetics.

In a review of this article, Wired Science wrote that structural variations in DNA are more specific to individuals than single nucleotide polymorphisms, and may be more responsible than SNPs for genetic difference among people.

Truth be told, epigenetic factors may play a big role in determining which DNA sequences will be modified by our molecular machinery, so perhaps epigenetics does in fact trump (or perhaps even define), structural makeup. One commentator notes that the wired article has nothing to do with epigenetics, however, based on what I’ve noted above, I’m not sure that he is correct.

What are your thoughts? What’s more buzz-worthy? Epigenetics or Genome Structure?

To read more visit Your Genome Structure, Not Genetic Mutations, Makes You Different

Try Nerdy blog show scientist have a sense of humor

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-28-2011

In these lazy summer days I find myself spending more time looking for and reading interesting/humorous blog posts by fellow scientists. My latest find is a blog by American PhD candidate “Try Nerdy” (TN). Although I don’t know his/her real name, (it is not listed in the TN about page), I do know that TN is a molecular biologist who helps distill complicated scientific material into easily digestible bits for his/her non-scientist readership. TN also has a great sense of humor and publishes some captivating stuff including TN’s latest post “The Inside Jokes of Scientists.”

If you were ever curious as to how crazy sounding proteins such as R2D2 and C3PO got their names, check out TN’s blog.

I am a scientist and despite TN’s claim that Try Nerdy is not focused on scientists I will continue to follow. Keep up the good work TN!