Tag: Genetics + Genomics

X chromosome

Sex chromosome shocker: The “female” X a key contributor to sperm production

July 21, 2013

Painstaking new analysis of the genetic sequence of the X chromosome—long perceived as the “female” counterpart to the male-associated Y chromosome—reveals that large portions of the X have evolved to play a specialized role in sperm production.

Image showing difference in Nanog markers

Study challenges long-held assumption of gene expression in embryonic stem cells

July 3, 2013

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined that the transcription factor Nanog, which plays a critical role in maintaining the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells, is expressed in a manner similar to other pluripotency markers.

Image: Glucocorticoids stimulates the production of ZFP36l2, which promotes the self-renewal of BFU-Es.

Scientists identify potential drug target for treatment-resistant anemias

June 9, 2013

Researchers at Whitehead Institute have identified a key target protein of glucocorticoids, the drugs that are used to increase red blood cell production in patients with certain types of anemia, including those resulting from trauma, sepsis, malaria, kidney dialysis, and chemotherapy.

Cartoon of CRISPR/Cas technique

Scientists revolutionize the creation of genetically altered mice to model human disease

May 2, 2013

Using a bacteria-based technique, Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch has efficiently created mouse models with multiple gene mutations in a matter of weeks.

Diagram comparing enhancers and super-enhancers of two cell types

Genetic master controls expose cancers’ Achilles’ heel

April 11, 2013

In a surprising finding that helps explain fundamental behaviors of normal and diseased cells, Whitehead Institute scientists have discovered a set of powerful gene regulators dubbed “super-enhancers” that control cell state and identity.

Model of mitochondrion

Engineering cells for more efficient biofuel production

February 17, 2013

Whitehead Institute and MIT chemical engineers and biologists have now devised a way to dramatically boost isobutanol production in yeast, which naturally make it in small amounts. They engineered yeast so that isobutanol synthesis takes place entirely within mitochondria, cell structures that generate energy and also host many biosynthetic pathways.

Long noncoding RNAs control development of fat cells

February 13, 2013

Whitehead Institute researchers report that 10 long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) play a vital role in the regulation of white fat cells. When each of these lncRNAs is individually knocked down, fat precursor cells fail to mature into white fat cells and have significantly reduced lipid droplets compared with white fat cells with unmodified lncRNA function.

Diagrm of transcription of mRNA and lncRNA that start at the same location

Paired genes in stem cells shed new light on gene organization and regulation

February 4, 2013

Research from Whitehead Institute shows that transcription at the active promoters of protein-coding genes commonly runs in opposite directions. This leads to coordinate production of both protein-coding messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs).

Information security image

Scientists expose new vulnerabilities in the security of personal genetic information

January 17, 2013

Using only a computer, an Internet connection, and publicly accessible online resources, a team of Whitehead Institute researchers has been able to identify nearly 50 individuals who had submitted personal genetic material as participants in genomic studies. 

Charts of global genetic analyses

Whitehead scientists identify major flaw in standard approach to global gene expression analysis

October 25, 2012

Whitehead Institute researchers report that common assumptions employed in the generation and interpretation of data from global gene expression analyses can lead to seriously flawed conclusions about gene activity and cell behavior in a wide range of current biological research.

Electron micrograph of egg and sperm

Study reveals rate at which key genetic deletions contribute to male infertility

October 25, 2012

A large-scale analysis of Y chromosomes from more than 20,000 men finds that two spontaneously recurring deletions along a complex region of the Y chromosome are responsible for approximately 8% of cases of failed sperm production.

Image of mouse embryonic fibroblasts undergoing reprogramming

Whitehead scientists bring new efficiency to stem cell reprogramming

September 13, 2012

New genetic markers identified by researchers at Whitehead Institute and MIT could help make the process for reprogramming regular body cells into pluripotent stem cells more efficient, allowing scientists to predict which treated cells will successfully become pluripotent.

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