News + Publications

December 21, 2017

Pairing mismatch helps impaired fish RNA cleavage proceed swimmingly

Researchers at Whitehead Institute have uncovered how small changes in the fish Argonaute (Ago) protein, an RNA slicing protein, that happened in its lineage an estimated 300 million years ago greatly diminished the efficiency of RNAi in these animals, while another ancestral feature, in a critical pre-microRNA, was retained that enabled the microRNA to still be produced despite the fish’s impaired Ago protein.

Picture of a golden root plant

December 19, 2017

Harnessing nature’s riches

With unique sustainable engineering method, a team of Whitehead Institute researchers unlocks the biochemistry needed to synthesize key substance from rare medicinal plant

Images of Arabidopsis seeds

December 19, 2017

Small RNA mediates genetic parental conflict in seed endosperm

When it comes to gene expression in the endosperm of seeds, gene provenance matters. In this specialized tissue, plants actively strive to keep the expression of genes inherited from the mother versus the father in balance, according to Whitehead Institute scientists.

Image of plants with curled leaves due to lack of gene methylation

December 14, 2017

Epigenetic rheostat helps uncover how gene regulation is inherited and maintained

DNA Methylation—the addition of chemical tags to DNA—typically reduces the expression of methylated genes. Whitehead Institute Member Mary Gehring and her lab have identified a mechanism important for maintaining methylation, that when disrupted, results in the demethylation of large sections of the Arabidopsis plant’s genome.

Illustration of neighborhoods within DNA loops

December 7, 2017

New study prompts rethinking transcription factor’s role in control of gene expression

Like proteins, genomes must fold appropriately to function properly; some transcription factors provide the structural support

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