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CRISPR screen used to study germ line development

Surani lab current and former members analysed an in vitro model of mouse germ cell development using a combination of reporters and a CRISPR screen. By deleting one gene at a time in stem cells and tracking the effect on development into primordial germ cells, the researchers identified the network of genes involved in this cell transition, and went on to explore the roles of two in particular.

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'Window into brain' tracks developing human neurons

The Livesey lab worked with the De Paola lab at Imperial College London to combine their in vitro engineered neural stem cells with in vivo 2-photon microscopy in live mice, to image human neural cell transplants developing over long time-scales in the mouse brain. The scientists discovered differences in the maturation of cells from Down syndrome patients and normal controls, showing the potential of this technique to explore neural function in other neurological conditions.

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Link between embryonic cell state transitions and cell metabolism

Tischler et al. examine the mitochondrial oxidative metabolite, alpha-ketoglutarate, in mouse early developing germ cells in vitro. They find that the early steps in germ cell specification are regulated by epigenetic mechanisms that are modulated by the metabolite, providing evidence for an intricate link between cell metabolism and cellular identity.

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New neural stem cells discovered in the Drosophila optic lobe

The Brand lab identify a new, embryonic phase of neural stem cell production by the optic lobe neuroepithelium. Their findings show that the neuroepithelium generates neural stem cells over 60 hours earlier than thought previously and challenge the dogma that stem cells in the optic lobe are dormant during the early stages of development.

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New technique determines virus-host interacting RNA sequences

The Miska lab and colleagues have developed a new technique that can determine how RNA viruses interact with a host’s own RNA. This provides insight into how viruses direct the host cell to create new virus particles and potentially allows researchers to design artificial molecules capable of blocking the virus replication process to prevent the virus spreading. NEW VIDEO at 'Read more' link:

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New group leader sought in Cancer Biology

Cancer scientists: This is an ideal opportunity to launch an ambitious research programme as an independent group leader. You will complement and expand our existing strengths, from mechanistic studies to developmental processes involved in cancer. You will have full access to all of the Institute's resources and you will be supported by an exceptional team of core staff.

More info and to apply:

What is genomic imprinting? Azim Surani explains

Azim Surani discovered and named the phenomenon of genomic imprinting in the 1980s. In our new video he describes what led to this research, and his subsequence findings, which kick-started the field of epigenetics.

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Hansong Ma and her 3-parent flies

Hansong Ma joins our previous line-up of group leaders to explain her research in this short video. She uses 'three-parent' flies to research how DNA specific to mitochondria is transmitted from one generation to the next, with effects on ageing, longevity and fertility. This work can also improve our understanding of human mitochondrial diseases.

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Highlighting cytoskeletal dynamics

Two papers from the Gallop lab have been selected for inclusion in a special collection on Cytoskeletal Dynamics, curated by Journal of Cell Biology, to be made free online for three weeks. The publications are about i) control of actin polymerization by coincidence of phosphoinositides and high membrane curvature , and ii) an analytical tool for quantifying filopodia growth.

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Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK to study the biology of development, and how normal growth and maintenance go wrong in cancer and other diseases.

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