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Scientific Peer-review: Providing Critical and Kind Feedback and Advocating for Open Science

Posted by Guest Blogger on Aug 8, 2019 9:19:49 AM

This post was contributed by Magdalena Julkowska, a postdoctoral researcher at KAUST, Saudi Arabia.

From the perspective of an author submitting a paper, the peer-review seems like another dragon to slay on the way to publish your work in a scientific journal. The peer-review is a service that we, as scientists, provide for journal editors to help decide whether work is suitable for publication in their journal. The early peer-review attempts took place at the beginning of the 18th century. Yet the peer-review was not widely adopted by the scientific community until the mid-20th century, and many iconic papers, including the ones on the structure of the DNA, were not peer-reviewed (Baldwin, 2015).

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Topics: Open Science

Mouse Modeling, Part 2: Breeding and Crossing Mice

Posted by Aliyah Weinstein on Aug 6, 2019 8:55:01 AM

In Part 1 of our mouse modeling blog series, we covered techniques that can be used to introduce genetic modifications into mouse embryos. But once you generate a growing colony of genetically engineered mice, what can you do? In this post, we’ll cover why and how to cross mice to create double knockout lines and Cre-lox lines, and how to properly control for genetically engineered mice in your experiment.

As you’ve learned in Part 1, there are many types of genetically engineered mice: transgenic mice, knockin and knockout mice, and conditional knockin or knockout mice. While these techniques are each useful for introducing one modification into the mouse genome, they are not commonly used to introduce multiple mutations. This is because as more mutations are introduced into a single embryo, the likelihood that a mouse will end up with the intended genotype at every allele decreases.

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Topics: Genome Engineering, Cre-lox

Sensing Neuronal Dopamine

Posted by Leila Haery on Jul 30, 2019 8:59:00 AM

Feelings of delight associated with the brain’s reward circuits are generally linked to dopamine (DA), a well-known reward chemical and neurotransmitter. But aside from DA’s famous role as the “happy hormone,” it’s also involved in reinforcement learning, decision making, and motor control. 

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Topics: Viral Vectors

Save Time with Transient Plant Leaf Transformations

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 25, 2019 8:03:52 AM

This post was contributed by Samuel Mortensen, a PhD candidate at Northeastern University.

Working with plants doesn’t always have to be a time-consuming process. While developing transgenic hairy root lines in tissue cultures takes half a year, and generating a transgenic plant can take even longer, a transient plant leaf transformation process could save the plant biologist some time… months, in fact.

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Topics: Plant Biology

Beyond the Blood Brain Barrier: PHP.B Enters the Central Nervous System Via the LY6A Receptor

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Jul 23, 2019 8:46:19 AM

One of the biggest barriers to gene therapy treatment of central nervous system (CNS) diseases is the blood brain barrier (BBB). It’s the BBB’s job to block the entry of pathogens to the CNS, but this also stops viral vectors, such as adeno-associated virus (AAV), from reaching their targets.

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Topics: Viral Vectors

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