News Archive

 

Prominent stem cell group honors Whitehead Member Rudolf Jaenisch

February 24, 2012

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has named Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch the winner of the 2012 McEwen Award for Innovation.

Image: Y and X chromosomes

Theory of the "rotting" Y chromosome dealt a fatal blow

February 22, 2012

Research on the evolution of the human Y chromosome confirms that the Y—despite arguments to the contrary—has a long, healthy future ahead of it.

John Pratt

In Memoriam: John Pratt

February 19, 2012

The entire Whitehead Institute community is profoundly saddened by news of Friday night's passing of John Pratt, the Institute’s former Associate Director and a central figure in establishing what would become one of the world’s preeminent biomedical research institutions.

Image: Yeast with prions grow better than those without when challenged with an antifungal drug

Prions play powerful role in the survival and evolution of wild yeast strains

February 15, 2012

In a massive undertaking, Whitehead Institute scientists have tested nearly 700 wild yeast strains isolated from diverse environments for the presence of known and unknown prion elements, finding them in one third of all strains. All the prions appear capable of creating diverse new traits, nearly half of which are beneficial.

Noncoding RNAs alter yeast phenotypes in a site-specific manner

February 14, 2012

A team of scientists from Whitehead Institute and other institutions has shown for the first time how two long intergenic noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) in brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) contribute to a location-dependent switch for the yeast FLO11 gene to toggle between active and inactive states.

Diagram of how chromosomes are aligned

A mitosis mystery solved: how chromosomes align perfectly in a dividing cell

February 12, 2012

Although the process of mitotic cell division has been studied intensely for more than 50 years, Whitehead Institute researchers have only now solved the mystery of how cells correctly align their chromosomes during symmetric mitosis. 

Images of cells with LSD1 activity on and off

Chaos in the cell's command center

February 1, 2012

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined the critical role one enzyme, lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), plays as mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) differentiate.

Image of a larval fruit fly brain

Brain glia cells increase their DNA content to preserve vital blood-brain barrier

January 13, 2012

Whitehead Institute scientists report that the growing fruit fly brain instructs subperineurial glia (SPG) cells that form the blood-brain barrier to enlarge by creating multiple copies of their genomes in a process known as polyploidization.

Photos of zebrafish heads, one with reduced lincRNA megamind production and an enlarged head, and the other normal megamind production and head size

Long intervening non-coding RNAs play pivotal roles in brain development

December 22, 2011

Whitehead Institute scientists have identified conserved, long intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) that play key roles during brain development in zebrafish, and went on to show that the human versions of these RNAs can substitute for the zebrafish lincRNAs.

Microscope images of mouse blood samples

Long non-coding RNA prevents the death of maturing red blood cells

December 7, 2011

A long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) prevents programmed cell death during one of the final stages of red blood cell differentiation, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. This is the first time a lncRNA has been found to play a role in red blood cell development and the first time a lncRNA has been shown to affect programmed cell death.

Not all cellular reprogramming is created equal

December 1, 2011

Tweaking the levels of factors used during the reprogramming of adult cells into induced pluriopotent stem (iPS) cells can greatly affect the quality of the resulting iPS cells, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. This finding explains at least in part the wide variation in quality and fidelity of iPS cells created through different reprogramming methods.

Novel surface triples stem-cell growth in culture

November 7, 2011

By irradiating typical polystyrene lab plates with ultraviolet (UV) waves, Whitehead Institute and MIT scientists have created a surface capable of tripling the number of human embryonic stem (ES) and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that can be grown in culture by current methods.

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