The concept that the brain has a structure is not obvious. While it’s been a long time since Aristotle argued the heart was the thought center of the body, it wasn’t until the 1700s that scientists hypothesized and began to gather evidence that the brain has distinct regions with specialized functions. Phineas Gage, the man whose personality changed drastically after an accident where an iron spike was driven through his head, is a famous early example of the link between brain regions and behavior. Also around that time, French scientists Marc Dax and Paul Broca independently discovered the speech production center of the brain when autopsies of speech-impaired patients revealed lesions in a particular brain region, later named the Broca’s area. In this post I’ll describe a new virus with retrograde function and how it’s enabling scientists to access neurons in a powerful way. Keep reading to find out what retrograde function is and how it gives us better access and ultimately a better understanding of the brain.
In the middle of 2016 Addgene started distributing a small but growing catalog of ready-made AAV and Lentiviral preps. This new Viral Service represents Addgene’s largest new initiative since we started distributing plasmids in 2004. We’ve already distributed over 500 viral samples to scientists all over the world. Now that the service is successfully launched, I would like to thank some of the people and organizations who helped us reach this milestone.
Topics: Viral Vectors
If you are interested in using lentiviral vectors to introduce your favourite gene into your favourite cell line or into primary cells, this blog article will give you some tips to plan your experiment using the lentiviral vector system.
Viral vectors have been increasingly popular in fundamental and applied research since their first use in the early 90’s to genetically modify primary cells. Amongst the different vectors used, lentiviral vector constructs have proven very useful due to their ability to infect both dividing and non-dividing cells, including stem cells. These properties make lentiviral vectors fantastic options for delivering shRNA, CRISPR/Cas9 components, and fluorescent sensors.
Topics: Viral Vectors
In July 2016, we launched our Viral Service and began delivering ready-to-use lentivirus and adeno-associated virus (AAV) to scientists around the world. We began with only a few inventory items offered domestically, but by the end of 2016, we expanded our viral inventory to 25 lentiviruses and 25 AAVs. These viruses have been distributed in over 200 packages to more than 20 countries. With this initial success, we will continue to provide and expand this diverse and useful collection of tools so that researchers around the world can accelerate their work. After all, as we like to sayat Addgene, productivity is infectious.
Curious which viruses researchers have found the most useful so far? We crunched the numbers on our Viral Service (and then we crunched them again) to find the most requested lentivirus and AAV of 2016.
The top viruses of 2016 were (drumroll please)...
Numbers in the large colored circles are rough approximations of the total number of CRISPR plasmids for that particular organism available at Addgene. Percentages represent the fraction of that total with the indicated function.
One huge reason CRISPR has become such a popular genome editing tool is its developers’ willingness to make their CRISPR technologies available to the academic research community. At Addgene, we’ve helped distribute many of these technologies in plasmid form and are proud to have facilitated their fast adoption. However, in many cases the plasmids themselves are only the starting point for the production of viruses used to deliver CRISPR components to cells or organisms under study. In the past we’ve left the arduous task of virus production to individual labs, but now we’re very excited to provide ready-to-use CRISPR lentiviral preps to researchers across the globe.