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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.

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Plasmids 101: Origin of Replication

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Nov 11, 2020 9:23:38 AM

Originally published Feb 6, 2014 and last updated Nov 10, 2020.

Now that we know all about antibiotic resistance genes, let’s consider another basic element of any plasmid: the origin of replication/replicon. The replicon is comprised of the origin of replication (ori) and all of its control elements. The ori is the place where DNA replication begins, enabling a plasmid to reproduce itself as it must to survive within cells.

The replicons of plasmids are generally different from the those used to replicate the host's chromosomal DNA, but they still rely on the host machinery to make additional copies. ori sequences are generally high in As and Ts. Why, you ask? Well, A-T base pairs are held together with two hydrogen bonds not three as G-C pairs are. As a result, stretches of DNA that are rich in A-T pairs can be separated more readily at lower temperatures and allows the replication machinery room to come in and get busy making copies.

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Topics: Plasmid Elements, Plasmids 101, Plasmids

Modulate the Activity of 17 Signaling Pathways with One Kit!

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Mar 22, 2016 10:30:00 AM

When cancers are treated with drugs designed to hit them right where it hurts, the effects are often remarkable but fleeting.

“What’s been shown by others is that, in a relatively short amount of time, cancers become resistant to drugs, particularly targeted therapies,” said Kris Wood of Duke University Medical Center. “While we do not yet have a comprehensive understanding of how cancers become resistant, an emerging theme is that they do so by activating signaling pathways controlling properties like growth, survival, and differentiation.”

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Topics: Cancer, Other Plasmid Tools, Plasmids

Donations from Addgene to Yield Answers for Rare Disease Researchers

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Sep 15, 2015 10:30:00 AM

Every year, the Rare Genomics Institute sponsors a global competition for researchers working on rare diseases, offering them the chance to win some of the latest tools and technologies in life sciences research. The rare disease research community has certainly noticed: This year, the BeHEARD (Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries) Award attracted submissions from 99 universities and foundations in 21 countries.

“Over $600,000 worth of cutting-edge technologies were awarded to study 31 rare diseases,” said Claudia OuYang, BeHEARD Co-Director in a release. The research teams studying four of those rare diseases will receive plasmids from Addgene worth a total of $5000.

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Topics: Inside Addgene, Addgene News

Protein Tagging with CRISPR/Cas9: A Conversation with Mendenhall and Myers

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Jul 28, 2015 10:30:00 AM

As Eric Mendenhall of the University of Alabama in Huntsville explains it, a major goal in his laboratory is to understand the function of the non-coding portion of the genome. Mendenhall and Richard Myers of HudsonAlpha (where Mendenhall is also an adjunct faculty member) have together been working toward this goal for years as members of the ENCyclopedia of DNA Elements Project (ENCODE), an NIH-funded effort to define all of the functional elements in the human genome.

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Topics: CRISPR, Other CRISPR Tools

Online Social Networking for Scientists

Posted by Kendall Morgan on May 19, 2015 8:17:00 AM

 

As Joanne Kamens has pointed out, there’s surely no better place for scientists to meet and mingle with other scientists than at a conference. But in this increasingly wired world, more and more of our day-to-day personal interactions are taking place online. And if findings from network science apply to scientists, then building and maintaining an open social network is key when it comes to career success. In this enterprise, more scientists are finding online tools to be instrumental. At Addgene, we're all about helping develop a scientific community, so here are some tips to help you get more involved with your scientific network online.

As Holly Bik and Miriam Goldstein wrote in their PLoS Biology paper, “In the age of the internet, social media tools offer a powerful way for scientists to boost their professional profile and act as a public voice for science.” In “An Introduction to Social Media For Scientists,” Bik and Goldstein offer many tips on how to take advantage of mainstream social media. The article focuses on some of the popular social media tools available and the potential benefits that can be reaped from using these tools.

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Topics: Science Careers, Networking

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