News Archive

 

Whitehead Scientists Complete Major Goal of the Human Genome Project

March 13, 1996

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have achieved a major goal of the international Human Genome Project with the completion of the world's first comprehensive genetic map of the mouse genome. The mouse map appears in the March 14 issue of Nature along with a comprehensive genetic map of the human genome created by researchers at Genethon in France.

New Strains of BCG Could Lead to Better Vaccines and Cancer Therapy

January 12, 1996

Researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Boston's Children's Hospital have found a new way to rev up the engines of the mammalian immune system. They have taken an organism used worldwide to vaccinate against tuberculosis and packaged inside it mammalian genes that stimulate immune cell function. This achievement could lead to more effective vaccines for a broad range of human diseases and also-because the same organism is used in immunotherapy for bladder cancer-to safer, more effective cancer therapy.

Whitehead Human Genome Map Ushers in Final Phase of U.S. Human Genome Project: Map Provides Landmarks Needed to Begin Large-Scale Sequencing of Human Chromosome

December 22, 1995

For the first time, scientists have created a map of the human genome that will allow them to begin the final phase of the Human Genome Project: decoding the exact sequence of all 3 billion DNA letters that make up the genetic instructions for building a human being. This powerful new map, described in the December 22 issue of Science, contains more than 15,000 distinct markers and covers virtually all of the human genome. It was created by scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and major input from the genetic mapping group at Généthon in France.

Glue-Like Protein Provides New Key to Understanding Common Birth Defects

October 20, 1995

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have discovered a glue-like protein in fruit flies that ensures proper partitioning of hereditary material and could shed new light on the origin of some of the most common human birth defects, including Down syndrome. Dr. Terry Orr-Weaver and her colleagues describe the new protein, called MEI-S332, and its role in sexual reproduction in the October 20 issue of Cell.

Knockout Mouse Model Suggests New Directions for Treating Human Breast Cancer

August 25, 1995

Scientists have created a new strain of mice lacking cyclin D1, a vital component of the growth machinery in all cells, and found that knocking out this important cog causes surprisingly little damage. These results have implications for treating human breast cancer and should lead to a better understanding of the molecular basis of cancer. The study, reported in the August 25 issue of Cell, was carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Weinberg, a cancer research pioneer at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

Genetic Factors May Account for Infertility in Otherwise Healthy Males

August 1, 1995

A team of U.S. and Finnish scientists has found that a specific defect in the male sex chromosome (the Y chromosome) may be responsible for 13 percent of cases of azoospermia, the complete inability to make sperm and the most severe form of male infertility. The study is one of the first to demonstrate that genetic defects can sometimes explain infertility in otherwise healthy couples and could lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms required to make healthy sperm. This research, reported in the August issue of Nature Genetics, was led by Dr. David Page of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Whitehead Scientist Identify the Single Protein Responsible for Bacterial "Comet Tails" To Infect Cells

July 3, 1995

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have shown that a single surface protein called IscA is all that the bacteria Shigella flexneri needs to propel itself inside and among host cells-a characteristic that enables the organism to infect human colon cells and cause diarrhea. Eschericha coli, when engineered to express the Shigella protein, acquire the same ability to move inside and among frog egg cells. The finding has implications for understanding cancer, building vaccine delivery systems, and finding new ways to combat bacterial resistance. The results are reported in the July 3 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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