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Human and pig germlines reveal similar programmes

The Surani lab, with collaborators in the Alberio lab at University of Nottingham, show that pig PGCs undergo a transcriptional programme and epigenetic remodelling that closely follows that in the human germline. The pig PGCs could therefore provide a valuable model to validate the findings on human PGCs that are difficult to investigate in our species.

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Probing piRNA biogenesis and activity

The piRNA pathway regulates germ cell development and promotes fertility in animals. The Miska lab's finding that RNA Polymerase II subunit RPB‐9 recruits the Integrator complex to terminate transcription at piRNA genes in C. elegans provides new insight into the mechanisms of piRNA biogenesis.

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Redefining the S-phase checkpoint

Johnson et al. in the Zegerman lab examine the S-phase checkpoint in DNA replication in yeast, and show that the pathway that results in slowing of replication can operate beyond S-phase. This study redefines the scope of the 'S-phase checkpoint' with implications for understanding checkpoint function in cancers that lack cell cycle controls.

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Embryo polarisation link to cell cycle

The Zegerman lab, with Gurdon Institute colleagues, provide the first direct molecular mechanism through which polarisation of the embryo is coordinated with DNA replication initiation factors, linking developmental cues with changes in the cell cycle, in the nematode C. elegans.

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Role for RNA 5-methylcytosine modification in C. elegans

Using C. elegans, the Miska lab and colleagues generated the first animal strain completely devoid of m5C in RNA, demonstrating that this modification is not essential for viability under standard conditions. They used this genetic tool as a powerful control to reliably determine the localisation of modified sites throughout different RNA classes, and unravelled a function of m5C in supporting normal fertility and in a translational response to heat stress.

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Long-range interactions in SARS-CoV-2 RNA

Omer Ziv from the Miska lab, in collaboration with Justus-Liebig University colleagues, has revealed precise details of the base-pairing patterns formed by the long RNA genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Ziv devised the method that takes a snapshot of both short- and long-range interactions in the RNA, which are essential for viral function and therefore present potential therapeutic targets.

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New videos describe alpelisib findings

In this new video, Jenny Gallop describes exciting findings with the University of Zurich and lab colleagues on the cancer drug alpelisib. Beginning with the lab's study of cell membranes and actin, the team's results in a mouse model suggest alpelisib might help people with the rare genetic diseases Lowe syndrome and Dent disease 2. The video is also available with French or Italian subtitles.

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Aztekin becomes ELISIR scholar

Can Aztekin has won a highly selective scholarship with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne. The ELISIR scholarship provides funds, facilities and infrastructure to allow a recently completed PhD student to move directly to independent principal investigator. Aztekin studied tail and limb regeneration for his PhD in the Gurdon lab, discovering regeneration-organizing cells (ROCs) and tracking the influence of inflammation on the regeneration process.

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Public engagement award for Institute

The Gurdon Institute is the first part of the University of Cambridge to receive a Silver Engage Watermark from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. The award acknowledges the strategic support for public engagement across the Institute, as well as the plans to develop this work in the future.

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Ma selected as EMBO Young Investigator

Congratulations to Gurdon Institute Group Leader Hansong Ma, who has been selected as one of 30 new EMBO Young Investigators, judged to be "among the next generation of leading life scientists". The awardees join a four-year programme that provides financial support, training and networking opportunities, and access to EMBL Heidelberg core facilities.

Full details on EMBO website

Institute reopening

The Gurdon Institute reopened on Monday 15th June. Many staff will continue to work from home, and all staff may be contacted by email.

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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