1312, 2016

MicroRNAs as an Experimental Tool: RNAi

By |December 13th, 2016|Toolbox|

MicroRNAs regulate gene expression by knocking down the expression of specific genes.  This knockdown can occur either by targeting an mRNA for degradation or by blocking its translation or both.  Somewhat independently of the identification […]

2911, 2016

Tracking Migration with Mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA

By |November 29th, 2016|A Human Angle|

Wherever we go, we bring along traces of where we have been.  In genetic and genomic terms, this is the process of migration, the leaving of one population and the joining of another, either because […]

1411, 2016

CRISPR applications: In vivo DNA editing and more

By |November 14th, 2016|Toolbox|

The CRISPR/Cas system that evolved to protect bacteria and archaea from foreign DNA has rapidly been used by molecular biologists for a number of purposes.  Recombination in the cell initiates with a double-stranded break in […]

311, 2016


By |November 3rd, 2016|A Human Angle|

Telomeres are the specialized structures at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes.  Like many other fundamental properties of chromosomes, the existence of telomeres was first recognized by genetic experiments using Drosophila, performed by the “Fly Group” […]

1910, 2016

Making DNA Visible: DNA Stains and Labels

By |October 19th, 2016|Toolbox|

What does the chemical DNA look like, and how does one see it?  DNA can be precipitated out of solution using alcohol and salt.  The precipitate, which can be spooled out like long pasta, is […]

410, 2016

The Sickle Cell Trait Heterozygote Advantage

By |October 4th, 2016|A Human Angle|

According to eastern Nigerian mythology, an Ogbanje is a child who dies within a few months or years of birth and returns to a mythical land, only to re-enter the womb of his or her […]

1209, 2016

The Importance of the DNA Backbone: separating DNA molecules by size

By |September 12th, 2016|Toolbox|

The DNA molecule has a long backbone of phosphate molecules on each strand; the backbone can be compared to the uprights on a ladder.  A number of different important laboratory techniques have been developed based […]