Tag: Genetics

Noninvasive technique reveals how cells’ gene expression changes over time

Sequencing all of the RNA in a cell can reveal a great deal of information about that cell’s function and what it is doing at a given point in time. However, the sequencing process destroys the cell, making it difficult to study ongoing changes in gene expression. An alternative approach developed at MIT could enable […]

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How cell identity is preserved when cells divide

Every cell in the human body contains the same genetic instructions, encoded in its DNA. However, out of about 30,000 genes, each cell expresses only those genes that it needs to become a nerve cell, immune cell, or any of the other hundreds of cell types in the body. Each cell’s fate is largely determined […]

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Making genetic prediction models more inclusive

While any two human genomes are about 99.9 percent identical, genetic variation in the remaining 0.1 percent plays an important role in shaping human diversity, including a person’s risk for developing certain diseases. Measuring the cumulative effect of these small genetic differences can provide an estimate of an individual’s genetic risk for a particular disease […]

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Excel no longer messes things up for scientists trying to store genetic codes in a spreadsheet

Excel is one of the programs that gets used in a multitude of sectors, from banking and finance, to engineering and medicine. In the case of the latter, geneticists routinely struggled with the program’s habit of converting text into a date, causing gene naming errors to crop up in research papers. Well, it’s taken years […]

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Thousands of programmable DNA-cutters found in algae, snails, and other organisms

A diverse set of species, from snails to algae to amoebas, make programmable DNA-cutting enzymes called Fanzors — and a new study from scientists at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research has identified thousands of them. Fanzors are RNA-guided enzymes that can be programmed to cut DNA at specific sites, much like the bacterial enzymes […]

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A more effective experimental design for engineering a cell into a new state

A strategy for cellular reprogramming involves using targeted genetic interventions to engineer a cell into a new state. The technique holds great promise in immunotherapy, for instance, where researchers could reprogram a patient’s T-cells so they are more potent cancer killers. Someday, the approach could also help identify life-saving cancer treatments or regenerative therapies that […]

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Decoding the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 6 million people in the United States, and there are very few FDA-approved treatments that can slow the progression of the disease. In hopes of discovering new targets for potential Alzheimer’s treatments, MIT researchers have performed the broadest analysis yet of the genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic changes that occur in […]

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Study explains why certain immunotherapies don’t always work as predicted

Cancer drugs known as checkpoint blockade inhibitors have proven effective for some cancer patients. These drugs work by taking the brakes off the body’s T cell response, stimulating those immune cells to destroy tumors. Some studies have shown that these drugs work better in patients whose tumors have a very large number of mutated proteins, […]

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Study connects neural gene expression differences to functional distinctions

Figuring out how hundreds of different kinds of brain cells develop from their unique expression of thousands of genes promises to not only advance understanding of how the brain works in health, but also what goes wrong in disease. A new MIT study that precisely probes this “molecular logic” in two neuron types of the Drosophila fruit […]

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