Berkeley Lab researchers have shed new light on a type of molecular motor used to package the DNA of a number of viruses, including herpes and the adenoviruses. Their findings could help in the development of more effective drugs and inspire the design of new and improved synthetic biomotors.
Berkeley Lab researchers led the development of a new technique for identifying gene enhancers – sequences of DNA that act to amplify the expression of a specific gene – in the genomes of humans and other mammals. Called SIF-seq, this new technique complements existing genomic tools, such as ChIP-seq, and offers additional benefits.
A collaboration led by Berkeley Lab’s Jennifer Doudna and Eva Nogales has produced the first detailed look at the 3D structure of the Cas9 enzyme and how it partners with guide RNA to interact with target DNA. The results should enhance Cas9’s value and versatility as a genome-editing tool.
Berkeley researchers have answered a central question about Cas9, an enzyme that plays an essential role in the bacterial immune system and is fast becoming a valuable tool for genetic engineering: How is Cas9 able to precisely discriminate between non-self DNA that must be degraded and self DNA that may be almost identical within genomes that are millions to billions of base pairs long.
Berkeley Lab researchers found thousands of gene enhancers – regulatory sequences of DNA that act to turn-on or amplify the expression of a specific gene – that are involved in the development of the human face. These enhancers help explain why every human face is as unique as a fingerprint.
A new Berkeley Lab study challenges the orthodoxy of microbiology, which holds that in response to environmental changes, bacterial genes will boost production of needed proteins and decrease production of those that aren’t. The study found that for bacteria in the laboratory there was little evidence of adaptive genetic response.
What keeps Mtakai Ngara and Teddy Amuge up at night? Thinking about cassava. These young, ambitious, researchers working at the International Institute for Tropical Africa (IITA) just outside Nairobi, Kenya are learning more about genomics to help breed more effective cassava to feed hungry mouths in their native Africa and further afield. To feed their