A group of geneticists from Berkeley Lab, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Berkeley are unraveling new details about human evolution by studying the uniquely regulated portion of our chromosomes that surround the centromeres.
Nearly ten years ago, a group of Israeli clinical researchers emailed Berkeley Lab geneticist Len Pennacchio to ask for his team’s help in solving the mystery of a rare inherited disease that caused extreme, and sometimes fatal, chronic diarrhea in children. Now, following an arduous investigative odyssey that expanded our understanding of regulatory sequences in the human genome, the multinational scientific group has announced the discovery of the genetic explanation for this disease.
Marking a step forward in Berkeley Lab’s vision to expand the footprint of the biological and environmental sciences, the Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) was dedicated during a two-hour ceremony that culminated in the cutting of a double helix ribbon representing DNA. By uniting leading experts and world-class technologies under one roof, the IGB will help transform plant and microbial genomics research into solutions for today’s most pressing environmental and energy issues.
An open-source RNA analysis platform has been successfully used on plant cells for the first time – a breakthrough that could herald a new era of fundamental research and bolster efforts to engineer more efficient food and biofuel crop plants. The technology, called Drop-seq, is a method for measuring the RNA present in individual cells, allowing scientists to see what genes are being expressed and how this relates to the specific functions of different cell types.
Mice have been instrumental in the study of cancer, but like all animal models of human diseases, they have their limitations. For stomach cancer in particular, mice have historically been regarded as quite poor research organisms because rodents rarely develop spontaneous stomach tumors. But results from a new study are about to shake up the paradigm.
A human’s health is shaped both by environmental factors and the body’s interactions with the microbiome, particularly in the gut. Genome sequences are critical for characterizing individual microbes and understanding their functional roles. However, previous studies have estimated that only 50 percent of species in the gut microbiome have a sequenced genome, in part because many species have not yet been cultivated for study.
In what could address a critical bottleneck in biology research, Berkeley Lab researchers announced they have pioneered a new way to synthesize DNA sequences through a creative use of enzymes that promises to be faster, cheaper, and more accurate.
Scientists answered a long-standing question about the role of enhancers. And by better linking the genomic complement of an organism with its expressed characteristics, their work offers new insights that further the growing field of systems biology, which seeks to gain a predictive understanding of living systems.
Researchers at the DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute, in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute, are reporting the first whole-genome sequence of a mutant population of Kitaake, a model variety of rice. Their high-density, high-resolution catalog of mutations facilitates the discovery of novel genes and functional elements that control diverse biological pathways.
The mechanisms that separate mixtures of oil and water may also help the organization of a part of our DNA called heterochromatin, according to a new Berkeley Lab study. Researchers found that liquid-liquid phase separation helps heterochromatin organize large parts of the genome into specific regions of the nucleus. The work addresses a long-standing question about how DNA functions are organized in space and time, including how genes are silenced or expressed.