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Developing Effective Teams

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This tutorial reviews the structure of mRNA then goes on to describe the structure of transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal RNA (rRNA).

Source: M. O'Mahony, open source figures

Student notes for tutorial

These are the student notes for the RNA tutorial.


Source: M. O'Mahony, open source images

RNAi Discovered

This video segment adapted from NOVA scienceNOW explores a mechanism called RNA interference (RNAi), which has evolved in cells to prevent viral infection. Cells must carefully regulate the synthesis of proteins from genes to ensure normal development and to prevent disease. Having accidentally discovered this mechanism while experimenting with color in petunias, scientists now know that RNAi serves a critical role in this process.

Source: PBS Learning Media; NOVA scienceNOW

RNAi explained - Interactive Activity

RNAi, short for "RNA interference," is a remarkable way to shut down the expression of genes. Harnessing its power could lead to great advances in medical science and molecular biology. But how does it work? In this interactive, see RNAi explained both through easy-to-grasp cartoon metaphors as well as using the standard terms of biology textbooks.



Source: Lexi Krock, NOVA scienceNOW


RNA, the close chemical cousin of DNA, was once thought to be a bit player in the life of a cell, but not anymore. RNA is now at the heart of a scientific and medical revolution. It’s a revolution that started with the cultivation of a purple petunia, and it has led scientists to what may be the most important advance in biology in decades. Through a process known as RNAi (the "i" is for interference), researchers have a new way to shut off specific genes, yielding insights into the human genome as well as providing potential treatments for a wide range of diseases. This 15 min video is a great summary of the discovery of RNAi.


Source: NOVA scienceNOW

Crispr -A Powerful New Way to Edit DNA


Source: Andrew Pollack. March 3, 2014. New York Times, Health


Protein Folding - á les gamers

Source: Carnegie Mellon and Stanford University

The centrality of RNA for engineering gene expression

Synthetic biology holds promise as both a framework for rationally engineering biological systems and a way to revolutionize how we fundamentally understand them. Essential to realizing this promise is the development of strategies and tools to reliably and predictably control and characterize sophisticated patterns of gene expression. Here we review the role that RNA can play towards this goal and make a case for why this versatile, designable, and increasingly characterizable molecule is one of the most powerful substrates for engineering gene expression at our disposal. We discuss current natural and synthetic RNA regulators of gene expression acting at key points of control – transcription, mRNA degradation, and translation. We also consider RNA structural probing and computational RNA structure predication tools as a way to study RNA structure and ultimately function. Finally, we discuss how next-generation sequencing methods are being applied to the study of RNA and to the characterization of RNA's many properties throughout the cell.

Keywords: Gene regulation, Next-generation sequencing, Non-coding RNA, RNA structure, Synthetic biology


Source: James Chappell, Melissa K Takahashi, Sarai Meyer, David Loughrey,1 Kyle E Watters, and Julius Lucks* Biotechnol J. Dec 2013; 8(12): 1379–1395. Published online Oct 4, 2013. doi: 10.1002/biot.201300018

Small Silencing RNAs and Gene Therapy

Within one decade, ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi), that is, the sequence‐specific knockdown of gene expression triggered by small silencing RNAs, has rapidly matured from a biological curiosity into our single most promising biotherapeutic for a wide array of human diseases. Its exciting looming clinical translation is particularly accelerated by the increasingly pursued juxtaposition of RNAi technologies with established gene therapy methodologies. Fostering this mutual attraction of two potent clinical modalities and paving the way to fully harness their therapeutic power are the abilities of viral gene transfer vectors to mediate stable, efficient and tailored transduction of RNAi into recipient cells. Finally, moreover adding to the enormous promise of combining small silencing RNAs and gene therapy are latest findings on the role of endogenous microRNAs for various human diseases, further enlarging our already fertile chest of tools and targets for intervention and fortifying the optimism that RNAi gene therapies will soon become a clinical reality.


Source: Grimm, Dirk(Jun 2010) Small Silencing RNAs and Gene Therapy. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0022396]