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Golden Gate Assembly upgrades: More fragments, faster assembly, and higher fidelity

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 11, 2018 8:30:35 AM

This post was contributed by guest bloggers Becky Kucera, M.Sc. and Eric Cantor, Ph.D. from New England Biolabs.

Golden gate assembly limitations

Embraced by the synthetic biology community, Golden Gate Assembly is commonly used to assemble 2–10 DNA fragments in a single “one-pot” reaction to form complex, multi-insert modular assemblies that enable biosynthetic pathway engineering and optimization. However, current best practices for assemblies of more than 10 modules often rely on two-step hierarchical approaches using different Type IIS restriction enzyme specificities at each step. Factors such as enzyme efficiency, stability, and buffer compatibility have placed practical limits on single- or two-step assemblies.

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Topics: Plasmid Cloning

9 tips for a successful postdoctoral experience

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 9, 2018 8:21:40 AM

Today's postdoctoral fellows (PFs) face a number of challenges ranging from long periods of training to limited job opportunities in academia - the main reason most people enter postdoctoral training. Similarly, there are several factors to consider when selecting a postdoc mentor and lab. These topics have been addressed in numerous essays and workshops (see the Careers essays in the journals Nature and Science, for example).

This blog post is about how to get the most out of your postdoctoral training experience. If you're going to commit to doing a postdoctoral fellowship, what are you signing up for and how can you do it well? Below, I briefly describe some tips for a successful postdoc fellowship.

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Topics: Career Readiness, Career

Engaging with science and society at pgEd

Posted by Guest Blogger on Sep 20, 2018 8:17:37 AM

This guest post was contributed by Johnny Kung, Director of New Initiatives for the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd).

Advances in genetic technologies and other biomedical innovations promise an improved understanding of how our bodies work, new treatments for debilitating diseases, and maybe even ways to alleviate health disparities. But as the science moves forward at a blistering pace, it is becoming ever more urgent for scientists to engage broadly with diverse communities, to raise awareness about where science is and where it is going, and to thoughtfully address the hopes and concerns of these communities. This kind of engagement and two-way dialogue is crucial if we as a society are to figure out the best way to shepherd technologies through thorny ethical issues, ensure that everyone will have the possibility of benefiting from the fruits of scientific research, and prevent technological advances from exacerbating existing inequalities and injustices.

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Topics: Career, Science Communication

When GFP lets you down

Posted by Guest Blogger on Aug 23, 2018 8:05:04 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Joachim Goedart, an assistant professor at the Section of Molecular Cytology and van Leeuwenhoek Centre for Advanced Microscopy (University of Amsterdam).

GFP is the most popular, most widely used genetically encoded fluorescent probe. Several factors contribute to the popularity of GFP including (i) fast and complete maturation to functional, fluorescent protein in almost all organisms and cell types, (ii) no need to add a co-factor, (iii) easy visualization with standard filter sets on a fluorescence microscope, and finally (iv) good toleration in fusion proteins.

Since GFP is such a well-validated, all-round good performing probe, it is the first choice when selecting a genetically encoded fluorescent tag. There are, however, a number of limitations that you may run into if you choose to use it. Several of these limitations and possible solutions are discussed below.

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Topics: Fluorescent Proteins

Creating accessible biology activities in schools with BioBits

Posted by Guest Blogger on Aug 2, 2018 8:56:38 AM

This guest post was contributed by Ally Huang is a 4th year PhD student at MIT.

While I had always enjoyed learning about biology in high school, it wasn’t until I started working in my first molecular biology lab in college that I really fell in love with it. Something about being able to actually hold all those seemingly abstract biological reactions that I learned about from textbooks just made everything click in my head and left me thinking: I wish I had this kind of experience earlier!

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