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Science Communication Snapshot: DayCon 2015

Posted by Mary Gearing on Jun 17, 2015 5:04:11 PM


SITN DayCon 2015 Team

Here at Addgene, we’re dedicated to advancing and sharing science! In association with the Harvard graduate student organization Science in the News (SITN), we recently sponsored a first-time event called DayCon. DayCon is a one-day conference aimed at the general public that provides an accessible introduction to various scientific topics. Over twenty graduate student volunteers worked hard to make this Saturday event a success, a true testament to the commitment of SITN members.

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Science Communication

More Data for You: Find Articles Citing Addgene Plasmids

Posted by Caroline LaManna on Jun 16, 2015 10:15:40 AM

Exciting news! Addgene recently rolled out a new feature on our plasmid pages - links to articles citing this plasmid. Now you can learn how a plasmid has been used by multiple labs and see what experimental systems it has been validated in. 

If a plasmid's Addgene ID # has been referenced in other publications, you'll find a link to the list of citing articles under the "Resource Information" heading in the right column of the plasmid page. Check out the purple arrow in the screenshot below to see what I mean.

Additional Features

Once you've clicked on the "# References" link under the "Resource Information" heading, you'll be directed to a page listing the articles that cite this plasmid. You can use the dropdown to increase the length of the list (purple oval in the screenshot below). You can also use the "Search Table" box at the upper right of the table to search and filter the list of citing articles. From the article list you can click on the PubMed link to find the article abstract and more.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, Scientific Sharing, Inside Addgene, Using Addgene's Website

Plasmids 101: Blue-white Screening

Posted by Jessica Welch on Jun 4, 2015 9:03:00 AM

This post is part of our ongoing Plasmids 101 series. Plasmids 101 will provide you with an overview of general molecular biology knowledge and techniques. If you are interested in reading more, you can find the rest of the Plasmids 101 posts here.

Now that we have covered antibiotic selection here at Plasmids 101, we can talk about an even more specific method of screening your cloning reaction. Being able to select for colonies that contain your plasmid is a great start when cloning, but how about being able to choose those that contain plasmid with an insert? Blue-white selection is a widely used method to do just that!

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Topics: Plasmid Elements, Plasmids 101

Back to Bacteria: CRISPR gRNA Multiplexing Using tRNAs

Posted by Mary Gearing on Jun 2, 2015 2:06:00 PM

In the short time since its development, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing has been used to study the effect of gene knockout in vivo and in vitro, as well as to insert targeted mutations through homologous recombination. To further increase the utility of CRISPR/Cas9, it will be necessary to improve its multiplexing capacity. Multiplexing is key due to the natural redundancy of biological pathways;  to observe a phenotype, the modification of multiple genes is often necessary.

Guide RNAs (gRNAs) are commonly packaged in 400-500 bp cassettes containing the RNA pol III promoter, gRNA and pol III terminator. These relatively large cassettes (considering the gRNA itself is ~100 bases) limit the number of gRNAs that can be packaged together in a single vector. In addition, the pol III promoter is relatively weak, and low expression of gRNAs from these constructs could lower genome editing efficiency.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, CRISPR

Transgenic Organisms, Cas9 Gene Drives, and Appropriate Safeguards

Posted by Guest Blogger on May 22, 2015 12:58:12 PM

This post was contributed by Kevin Esvelt, a Wyss Technology Development Fellow at the Wyss Institute and Harvard Medical School.

Scientists making transgenic organisms with Cas9 should be aware of the potential hazards of creating “gene drives” capable of spreading through wild populations. Whereas most genomic changes impose a fitness cost and are eliminated by natural selection, gene drives distort inheritance in their favor and consequently can spread even when costly.

If even a single organism carrying a synthetic gene drive were to escape the laboratory, the drive could eventually spread through the entire wild population with unpredictable ecological effects. Because the consequences of such a mistake would necessarily extend far beyond the laboratory and seriously damage public trust in scientists, experiments involving potential gene drives should be conducted with extreme caution.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Lab Tips, CRISPR, CRISPR 101

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