Tag: Genetics + Genomics

Scientists use DNA Chips to Dissect Cells’ Genome Circuitry

November 24, 1998

Using a hot new microchip technology, scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have identified how key components of the cell’s gene-reading machinery coordinate the expression of genes throughout the genome of a living organism.

Whitehead Study Establishes Role of DNA Methylation in the Stability of DNA

April 2, 1998

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have established for the first time that DNA methylation, a chemical process by which cells alter how genes are read without changing the basic text, may also be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the genome, or in other words, for ensuring that the 3 billion-letter DNA code is copied accurately when cells divide.

Study Paints New Picture Of Y Chromosome as a Safe Haven for Male Fertility Genes

October 24, 1997

For decades scientists thought that the human Y chromosome, the male sex chromosome, was nothing more than a smaller, less stable version of its partner, the X (the sex chromosome present in both females and males). However, new research led by Dr. David Page, member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, reverses this unflattering picture of the Y and reveals it as a crucial player in the evolution of sex chromosomes and also as a safe haven for male fertility genes. These results are not only generating a new respect for the Y chromosome but also could lead to novel diagnostic techniques for thousands of infertile men. The results also have profound implications for understanding the genetic differences between men and women and the genetic underpinnings of chromosomal disorders such as Turner syndrome.

First Images of Key Viral Protein Could Lead to New Strategies for Human Gene Therapy

September 12, 1997

New images of an L-shaped molecule on the surface of a mouse leukemia virus could help scientists realize the promise of human gene therapy—the effort to cure disease by inserting genes directly into human cells. The images, published in the September 12 issue of Science, show the crystal structure of a piece of the virus's envelope protein—the piece required to recognize and bind to receptors on the surface of a mammalian cell.

Discovery of Genetic Pathways May Provide New Ways to Combat Candida Infections

September 5, 1997

A new study has uncovered the genetic wiring diagram underlying the infectiousness of Candida albicans, a fungus that causes thrush in babies, vaginal infections in women, and life-threatening infections in chemotherapy and AIDS patients. The study, led by Dr. Gerald R. Fink, Director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, reveals that one key to Candida's infectiousness lies in its ability to switch from a rounded form to filamentous forms. When the wiring diagram underlying this switch is inactivated, Candida infections are no longer deadly in mice.

Newly Discovered Human Protein Provides Important Target for Cancer Therapy

August 14, 1997

The discovery of a key molecule linked to the immortalization of human tumor cells provides an important new target for anti-cancer drug design. Researchers led by Dr. Robert A. Weinberg of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have isolated and cloned the gene for the long-sought catalytic subunit of human telomerase, a molecule believed to play a major role in the transition from normal to cancerous growth.

Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC) Gene Plays a Role in Wiring the Mouse Brain and Spinal Cord

April 24, 1997

A new study has found that Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC), a gene thought to play a role in human colorectal cancer, does not play a role in the development of mouse colon cancer. Instead, the mouse version of the DCC gene, called Dcc, functions as a receptor involved in the wiring of the brain and the spinal cord. DCC was first identified in 1990 as a candidate "tumor suppressor" gene that acts as a brake during normal growth of colonic cells but is missing in most colon cancer cells. The new mouse study, led by Dr. Amin Fazeli in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, weakens the candidacy of DCC as a cancer gene and sho;ws that the gene helps establish connections in the developing nervous system.

New respect for the Y chromosome: sheltering genes that enhance male fertility

October 31, 1996

For decades the human Y chromosome, the male sex chromosome, has been the Rodney Dangerfield of human genetics: "it don't get no respect." For long, the Y was considered to be little more than a smaller, less stable version of the X. Now, new evidence from Dr. Page and his collaborators at the Whitehead Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Washington reveals that the Y chromosome has led an independent existence after all.

A Gene Map of the Human Genome: International Group Maps a Fifth of all Genes on the Human Genome

October 25, 1996

An international consortium of genome laboratories from North America, Europe, and Japan has created a unified gene map that establishes the location of more than 16,000 human genes. The unified gene map represents the first edition of the quintessential goal of the Human Genome Project—a catalog of all the genes that make up a human being—and provides the location of one in five of all human genes.

International Research Group Locates New Gene Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

September 2, 1996

Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) affects more than 100 million people worldwide. Screening more than 4,000 individuals from an isolated region in Finland, an international research group has located a gene, called NIDDM2, that may be involved in a significant fraction of adult-onset diabetes tied to low insulin secretion. The strategy used to find this gene has important implications for genetic analysis of other complex diseases (caused by the interaction of multiple genes and the environment), as well as our understanding of the causes of human diabetes.

Genetic Factors Cause Low Sperm Counts in Some Otherwise Healthy Males

May 11, 1996

Scientists have found that a specific defect in the male sex (Y) chromosome, known to cause azoospermia, or the inability to make sperm, can also cause the most common form of male infertility-low sperm production, or oligozoospermia. This study is the first to definitively show that genetic defects can cause low sperm counts in some males and suggests that intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)—the now popular technology of injecting a single sperm into an egg to circumvent low sperm counts—may cause the sons of these men to inherit infertility.

Whitehead Receives $26 Million NIH Grant to Begin Sequencing the Human Genome

April 11, 1996

The Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research has received a three year, $26 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin sequencing specific portions of the human genome. The Center's effort, along with others in the country, launches the final and most important phase of the Human Genome Project-decoding the exact sequence of the 3 billion DNA letters that make up the human being. Ultimately, sequencing the genome will help researchers identify disease-related genes and result in unprecedented advances in health care.

Pages

© Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research              455 Main Street          Cambridge, MA 02142