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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

Open Resources and Plasmid Tools For Studying C. elegans

Posted by Alyssa Cecchetelli on Jul 18, 2019 8:55:32 AM

The C. elegans community has always emphasised the need for open science and collaboration. The field already has comprehensive reference pages and curated databases for scientists including Wormbook, Wormatlas and Wormbase. And scientists have been continuously sharing their worm strains through the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center (CGC) which maintains and distributes the strains all over the world.

When I was at the 22nd International C. elegans meeting, I was again reminded of the extent that C. elegans researchers embrace open science and share resources and tools. That message was fully exemplified in Cori Bargmann’s keynote speech and in the workshops on CRISPR techniques and new tools for conditional expression and degradation. These workshops not only highlighted new tools but also included time for questions and a group discussion on the best strategies and protocols for different experiments. 

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Topics: Open Science

Zebrafish as a Model for Behavior: Swimming into the Optogenetic Spotlight

Posted by Maya Peters Kostman on Jul 16, 2019 8:59:05 AM

Optogenetics, the use of light sensitive proteins (opsins) to manipulate cell activity, enables researchers to silence or incite neuronal firing and study subsequent effects on behavior. The system is an especially powerful tool for in vivo behavioral studies because it is non-invasive and offers a high degree of control over time and space.

Zebrafish have become a popular model organism because their larval stage lends itself well to studies of neuroscience. The larvae of zebrafish are translucent and allow for noninvasive live imaging with fluorescent tags and activation of light sensing proteins. Furthermore, during the first 2 weeks of life, larvae already exhibit distinct behaviors such as spontaneous swimming and escape reflex. These traits, coupled with short generation times and high fecundity, make zebrafish ideal for high throughput studies of optogenetics. 

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Topics: Viral Vectors

Mouse Modeling, Part 1: Genetically Engineered Mice

Posted by Aliyah Weinstein on Jul 11, 2019 9:26:08 AM

Mice are a common model organism used to understand mammalian traits and genetically engineered mouse models provide researchers with useful and adaptable tools to perform basic and preclinical research. For scientists new to using mouse models, the possibilities may seem endless - and overwhelming.

In the first blog post in this series, I’ll highlight terminology you should be familiar with before working with mouse models, several common techniques used to create engineered mouse models at embryonic stages, and the pros and cons of different genome editing techniques.

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Topics: Genome Editing

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