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Using bioinformatics to tease out the functions of long non-coding RNA in mammals

The Kouzarides lab and colleagues used bioinformatics to identify which of the many long non-coding (lnc)RNAs in the mammalian genome may have functions in development and disease. They found lncRNAs that shared conserved genomic positions in human and mouse relative to orthologous coding genes, and over half of which were linked to chromatin features such as loop anchor points.

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Tissue morphogenesis: A laboratory for statistical physics

Increasing attention is paid to how concepts in physics can provide insight into the dynamics of biological systems - but what about the reverse relationship? In a new study, the Simons lab, with the Huch lab and others, mapped the behaviour of lineage-labelled cell clusters onto the behaviour of particles in aerosols, showing how cellular systems provide an arena to study statistical physics.

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How mitochondrial diseases can strike unexpectedly

The Surani lab worked with Patrick Chinnery's lab and colleagues to examine mitochondrial (mt) DNA in primordial germ cells, the precursors of eggs. They found that in all eggs from healthy females there were some defects in the mtDNA, which helps explain why mitochondrial disease can suddenly strike in a new generation, as defective mtDNA escapes the normal quality-control step in a tiny proportion of mature eggs.

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Neural stem cells remodel their own niches

Speder & Brand show that both nutritional (systemic) and stem cell (local) signals cause glial cells to remodel to create the supportive niche for neurogenesis in the Drosophila brain. A dedicated membrane structure is formed around each neural stem cell lineage and is essential for neuronal survival.

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Revealing chromatin remodelling during brain development

Marshall and Brand use Targeted DamID to show that large-scale chromatin remodelling occurs during Drosophila neural development. Polycomb-mediated repression regulates cell lineage-specific transcription factors that control spatial and temporal gene expression patterns of the developing brain.

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Special seminar by Cayetano Gonzalez on 23rd March

Professor Gonzalez will give a seminar titled 'Using Drosophila tumours to understand malignant and normal growth during development' at 11.30am on Friday 23rd March, in the Biochemistry Lecture Theatre (Sanger Building). He will describe three lines of research: genome instability, somatic expression of germline genes and centrosome dysfunction. Everyone welcome.

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Special seminar by Julie Ahringer on 21st March

Join us to hear Julie Ahringer, Wellcome Senior Research Fellow and Professor of Genetics and Genomics at the Gurdon Institute, deliver this Special Seminar titled: Genome architecture and regulation. On Wednesday 21st March at 11.30am in the Biochemistry Lecture Theatre (Sanger Building); everyone welcome.

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Next Gurdon Institute Seminar on Tuesday 20th March

Our next speaker is Jan Huisken, Director of Medical Engineering and Lead Investigator of Multiscale Imaging, Morgridge Institute for Research (Madison, USA) with a talk titled 'Smart light sheet microscopes for you and me'. All welcome to the Biochemistry Lecture Theatre, Sanger Building, at 11.30am on 20th March.

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CRISPR-Cas9 inventor Jennifer Doudna draws capacity crowd

Our annual Anne McLaren Lecture on 6th March by Jennifer Doudna (Professor and HHMI Investigator, UC Berkeley) was a resounding success judging by the huge audience and the lengthy applause. People arrived from all over Cambridge to hear the co-inventor of CRISPR technology describe her discovery and her latest research on Cas enzymes. Steve Jackson and Eric Miska (pictured) hosted her visit.

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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