News Archive


Whitehead Member Mary Gehring

AudioHelicase podcast: Whitehead's Mary Gehring discusses how gene regulation can be passed from one generation to the next

March 20, 2018

In this episode of AudioHelicase, Whitehead Institute Member Mary Gehring discusses how her research on the plant Arabidopsis thaliana reveals how gene regulation can be passed from one generation to the next.

Three-eyed planarians

A Blueprint for Regeneration

March 15, 2018

Researchers at Whitehead Institute have uncovered a framework for regeneration that may explain and predict how stem cells in adult, regenerating tissue determine where to form replacement structures.

Microscope image of Toxoplasma parasites

A Vision for Science

March 9, 2018

A postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Whitehead Member Sebastian Lourido wins Koch Institute Image Award

Fluorescently-tagged IAPP oligomers can be seen trafficking through yeast cells

Toxic proteins and type 2 diabetes

March 8, 2018

New study in yeast implicates a molecular de-clogger in disease biology

Whitehead Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch and Whitehead Member Richard Young

Rudolf Jaenisch and Richard Young - Adventuring, in Science and the World

February 27, 2018

Though born half-a-world apart—Jaenisch in Wölfelsgrund, Germany; Young in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—the two have collaborated virtually since each arrived at Whitehead in 1984, leveraging shared passions for discovery research and for exploring the Earth’s least-travelled paths. 

Illustration of scientist looking at a neuron

Fragile X syndrome neurons restored using CRISPR/Cas9-guided activation strategy

February 15, 2018

Fragile X syndrome is the most frequent cause of intellectual disability in males, affecting 1 out of 3600 boys born. For the first time, researchers at Whitehead Institute have restored activity to the fragile X syndrome gene in affected neurons using a modified CRISPR/Cas9 system they developed.

AudioHelicase podcast: Whitehead's Robert Weinberg on cancer research's past, present, and future

January 22, 2018

From his discovery of the first oncogene and tumor suppressor, to his work revealing critical aspects of the mutational basis of cancer, and more recently its metastatic behavior, Whitehead Founding Member Robert Weinberg’s work has been foundational in our understanding of cancer biology.

Image of fish and RNA hairpins

Pairing mismatch helps impaired fish RNA cleavage proceed swimmingly

December 21, 2017

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

Harnessing nature’s riches

December 19, 2017

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

Small RNA mediates genetic parental conflict in seed endosperm

December 19, 2017

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

Epigenetic rheostat helps uncover how gene regulation is inherited and maintained

December 14, 2017

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

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

December 7, 2017

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


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