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Building Global Connections with the International Mentorship Program USA-EUROPE

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 6, 2015 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest bloggers and IMP organizers Rosario F. Godino, Rocío López-Diego, & Zafira Castano Corsino.

When someone says “internationalization” young hearts often shake with the fear of uncertainty. However, internationalization, the ability to cross country boundaries for both professional and personal development, is essential to excelling in the modern world. Talent knows no boundaries and should not be confined by birth country or financial means. Instead, talent should be realized through equal opportunities for all regardless of origin. It is therefore essential that internationalization become a reality available to all youth, our future, around the world.

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Topics: Career, Networking, Career Readiness

The CRISPR Software Matchmaker: A New Tool for Choosing the Best CRISPR Software for Your Needs

Posted by Guest Blogger on Nov 3, 2015 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Cameron MacPherson at the Institut Pasteur

CRISPR Software and the Piñata Effect

Two years ago I was a part of a group (Biology of Host-parasite Interactions, Institut Pasteur, Paris) that changed genome editing in the malaria community for the better (Nat. Biotechnol., 2014). Given the timing, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the CRISPR system was involved. Today, that same laboratory enjoys a successful edit rate of over 90% in their work editing the genome of Plasmodium falciparum (the parasite that causes malaria). I attribute their success to technical expertise, thoughtful single guide RNA (sgRNA) design, and the abnormally low GC content of the Plasmodium falciparum genome. To put this last point into perspective, the Plasmodium falciparum genome contains only 0.66 million targetable NGG PAM sites whereas the human genome has about 300 million. With such a sparsely targetable genome, off-targeting is less of a worry and on-targeting likely more efficient. 

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Topics: Genome Engineering, CRISPR

Plasmids 101: A Brief History of Plasmids and an Improved eBook!

Posted by Marcy Patrick on Oct 29, 2015 10:30:00 AM

Bioblasts? Plasmagenes? In the 1940s and 50s, scientists were working to understand genetic cytoplasmic factors that could be transferred between cells. At the time, these extranuclear agents of heredity were thought of as everything from parasites, to symbionts, to genes and the labels applied to them were vague or contradictory, owing in part to the fact that very little was known about the role these factors played within an organism. 

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Topics: Plasmids 101, Plasmid Cloning

Avoiding the Dark Side of Fluorescent Protein Fusions with mOX FPs

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 27, 2015 11:00:00 AM

 This post was contributed by guest bloggers Erik L. Snapp and Lindsey M. Costantini.

"You underestimate the power of the Dark Side."

--Darth Vader in "Return of the Jedi"

While Vader was referring to the evil side of a mystical "Force," this quote is equally applicable to many microscopy experiments with fluorescent proteins (FPs) localized to compartments other than the cytoplasm. That is, unfortunately, some investigators realize too late that they have missed the impact of dark, non-fluorescent, and misfolded FP-fusions on quantitative imaging experiments and cell physiology in general.

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Topics: Imaging, Fluorescent Proteins

Tips for Screening with Yeast Two Hybrid Systems

Posted by Jessica Welch on Oct 22, 2015 10:30:00 AM

Two hybrid systems were developed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in 1989 and are still used extensively to screen for molecular interactions in the cell, including protein-protein, protein-DNA and protein-RNA interactions.

The 1980s saw a flurry of discovery in the field of eukaryotic transcriptional activation and cell biology. During this period, proteins were successfully expressed as fusions that retain their individual activities (1). Researchers also discovered the modular format of some transcriptional activators: that the DNA binding domain (DBD) and transcriptional activation (TA) domains retain their individual activities when separated (2), and that DBD and TAs from different systems could be combined effectively (3).

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Yeast

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