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Kendall Morgan

Kendall is a science writer based in North Carolina. She has a PhD in Biology from the University of Oregon and a certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She writes about science, medicine and science culture and is dedicated to making it easier for scientists to share what they make and do with each other and the world.

Recent Posts

Quick, Versatile Plant Transgenesis with GreenGate Plasmids

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Jan 23, 2014 10:23:00 AM

A few years ago, researchers introduced what’s been called a major breakthrough in cloning technology with the Golden Gate method. For the first time, it was possible to quickly and efficiently assemble a large number of building blocks with just two or three inexpensive enzymes. Now, a new toolkit - aptly named GreenGate – offers all of those same advantages to researchers working in plant model systems.

“The cloning is all done in vitro; it’s no different in mouse, human or plants,” explained Jan Lohmann of Heidelberg University. “What is different is the plasmids you use to bring this into your target organism. We have designed a Golden Gate system based on the daily needs of an advanced molecular plant science lab.”

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, Synthetic Biology, Plasmid Kits

Using CRISPR/Cas9 to Edit Disease Out of the Genome

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Jan 7, 2014 10:45:00 AM

There can be no doubt that CRISPR/Cas9 technology has been a breakthrough for the genome-editing field. Now two studies reported in Cell Stem Cell last month show that this tool - already so useful in the laboratory - might also find its way to the clinic.

A team led by Jinsong Li from the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that mice with a dominant mutation in a gene that causes cataracts could be rescued by coinjection into zygotes of Cas9 mRNA and a single-guide RNA targeting the mutant allele. An independent team led by Hans Clevers at Hubrecht Institute in The Netherlands used the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system to correct the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductor receptor (CFTR) by homologous recombination in cultured intestinal stem cells of patients with cystic fibrosis.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, CRISPR

Top 10 Open Science Developments of 2013

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 19, 2013 10:46:52 AM

It should come as no surprise that those of us at Addgene believe in the power of sharing, and especially in keeping the products of science accessible in one way or another to those who might be in a position to build on that work. That’s how science progresses after all, with each generation of scientists standing on the shoulders of their colleagues and all those who’ve gone before them. Given this interest in the ways science is shared and in making it easier to share, we take special note as the open science movement continues to gain traction.

One way to consider where the open access (OA) movement might be going is to consider some of the places it’s been. So, as 2013 comes to a close, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on some of the most noteworthy developments in open science this year. Here it goes, in no particular order, my top 10 open science developments, 2013 edition.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing

Drew Endy Introduces the Biobrick Public Agreement Plasmid Collection

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 12, 2013 10:35:00 AM

Drew Endy's lab at Stanford develops engineered DNA systems capable of storing data and computing inside living cells. He's also a co-founder of the BioBricks Foundation, an organization working to advance biological engineering openly so as to benefit all people and the planet. For his many efforts in open science, Endy was recognized earlier this year by the White House as a Champion of Change, a program created as part of President Barack Obama's Winning the Future Initiative.

Endy's team made news in March with a publication in Science describing the development of “transcriptors,” transistor-like digital genetic switches that enable cellular computing. These logic gates built from transcriptors are now available at Addgene through the Biobrick Public Agreement (BPA) Plasmid Collection along with a BIOFAB kit comprised of well-characterized bacterial transcription and translation initiation elements.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Interview, Investigator Feature, Synthetic Biology, Plasmid Kits

Kiran Musunuru on the Newest TALEN Genome-Editing System

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 10, 2013 10:13:00 AM

The goal of Kiran Musunuru's lab in Harvard's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology is to understand the basis for cardiovascular and metabolic human diseases. They do that by studying patients to uncover new gene variants associated with conditions of interest, then studying those variants in model systems: either human cells or mice.

In a recent issue of Cell Stem Cell, Musunuru, Chad Cowan and their colleagues describe a much more efficient tool for doing that disease modeling work in human pluripotent stem cells: a transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) kit consisting of 834 plasmids. The researchers showed they could use their TALEN kit to quickly and efficiently generate human stem cells edited to carry mutant versions of 15 different disease-associated genes.

Addgene spoke to Musunuru about how the new kit works, the research the kit now makes possible, and how it compares to his CRISPR/Cas9 system.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, Interview, Investigator Feature, Plasmid Kits

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