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Plasmids 101: FLEx Vectors

Posted by Michelle Cronin on Apr 28, 2016 10:30:00 AM

In a previous post from our Plasmids 101 series, we learned how the Cre-loxP recombination system can be used to induce site-specific recombination events, and that the orientation of the flanking loxP sites directs the Cre recombinase to invert, translocate, or excise a DNA fragment. The availability of both wild-type and mutant loxP sites has allowed scientists to leverage this system in new, creative ways. Today’s post will focus on one such strategy--the FLEx switch--which utilizes recombination elements to turn off expression of one gene, while simultaneously turning on the expression of another!

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Plasmids 101, Cre-lox

Casilio: An Adaptive, Multitasking “CRISPR-OS”

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 26, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest bloggers Albert Cheng and Mark Wanner.

CRISPR-Cas9 offers a leap forward for genome editing, providing researchers with greatly enhanced accuracy, efficiency, and versatility. It has led to a tremendous acceleration of biomedical research, allowing for the modeling of human disease mutations in experimental model systems with previously unthinkable speed and precision. Furthermore, the ability to excise detrimental mutations and introduce functional sequences—as is being investigated with dystrophin/Duchenne muscular dystrophy at this time—is potentially transformative for human clinical care for some Mendelian diseases.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, CRISPR

R Bodies: Membrane-Rupturing Microscopic Tools

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 14, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Jessica Polka, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Pamela Silver. 

Most types of biological motion (whether endocytosis, vesicle trafficking, or muscle contractions) are produced by orchestrated movements of networks of proteins consuming molecular fuel sources. While the importance of understanding these complex processes can’t be overstated, we can also learn a lot from Nature’s simpler solutions to transmitting forces over long distances. For instance, how much force can be generated by conformational changes in proteins? How can information propagate through a structured material over a long distance? And can we understand such a structure well enough to engineer it to suit our purposes?

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Synthetic Biology

Pairing CombiGEM and CRISPR for Combinatorial Genetic Screening

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 12, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Alan Wong.

The complexity of biological systems can hinder our attempts to study and engineer them, but what if we had a simple tool that allowed us to rapidly decode the complexity? The CombiGEM-CRISPR technology was developed with the goal of providing an easy-to-use tool to analyze the complex combinatorial genetic networks underlying your favorite biological phenotype in a scalable way. This blog post will introduce you to this new technology, and guide you through the basics of CombiGEM-CRISPR experiments.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, CRISPR

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: Plasmid Technology, Cancer, Plasmid Kits

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