Genetics underwater – cephalopod RNA editing

By Larissa Potapova Cephalopods have intrigued scientists for thousands of years1. Despite being invertebrates, they have unusually large brains and a myriad of complex behaviours2. The most unusual amongst this clade are the coleoids: soft-bodied cephalopods that are widely considered to have the greatest behavioural complexity amongst invertebrates1. Numerous studies have sought to understand theirContinue reading “Genetics underwater – cephalopod RNA editing”

Bio-resistance of ionising radiation

By Jhonata Lam Extremophiles are organisms able to tolerate and survive in even the harshest environments on Earth. While such conditions can be attributed to their temperature, pH or pressure, different extremophiles’ tolerance to radiation remains a particularly great interest to the scientific community.1 Radiation itself is generated through the natural decay of radioactive elements –Continue reading “Bio-resistance of ionising radiation”

Sex determination systems in different organisms

By Jhonata Lam Using common model organisms – Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster and the like – researchers have uncovered many pathways leading to sexual development. The dissection of procedures responsible for the diversity of different animal systems, however, remains challenging.1 Human physiology is partially determined by the genetic contribution of a pair of chromosomes known as the sex chromosomes.Continue reading “Sex determination systems in different organisms”

Adenoviral vectors – promising a new therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment

By Nishka Mahajan Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death, caused by changes in gene expression with consequent impacts on cell proliferation. Owing to modern-day innovative recombinant DNA technologies, gene therapy can be used to provide the patient with a correct copy of the defective gene – promising a new therapeutic strategyContinue reading “Adenoviral vectors – promising a new therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment”

The contribution of HDAC as a potential therapeutic agent for cancer

By Nishka Mahajan DNA within cells carries an individual’s genetic information packaged in the form of chromatin – a dynamic structure comprising nucleosomes as fundamental building blocks. Each nucleosomal subunit is composed of a 147-base-pair DNA segment wrapped around an octamer of four core histone proteins (H2A, H2B, H3 and H4). Each of these coreContinue reading “The contribution of HDAC as a potential therapeutic agent for cancer”

What makes G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) highly desirable drug targets?

By Nishka Mahajan G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) comprise the most extensive class of cell-surface receptors within eukaryotes, with over 820 encoded by the human genome. They are primarily responsible for mediating multiple cell-signalling pathways (physiological processes), making them ideal targets for more than one-third of pharmaceutical applications and therapeutic interventions. Furthermore, their characteristic features ofContinue reading What makes G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) highly desirable drug targets?

The story of Henrietta Lacks and her cells that changed science

By Lisa Ding Since their establishment in 1953, the HeLa cell line has become the most commonly used human cell line in the world. Over 110,000 publications involved the use of these cells, which can divide indefinitely in culture, making them valuable for scientific research.1 The HeLa cell line, the oldest cell line, are derivedContinue reading The story of Henrietta Lacks and her cells that changed science

Females: Genetic Mosaics

By Alice Barocco Have you ever wondered what makes mosaics such a breath-taking piece of art? Perhaps, for some people, the answer lies in their beautiful colours ranging from vibrant shades to more subtle hues, whilst for others it may be the random scattering of small irregular pieces of cobblestone coming together to form aContinue reading Females: Genetic Mosaics

Gene therapy advancements to treat Sickle Cell Disease

By Easha Vigneswaran Since the advent of CRISPR-Cas9 technology for gene editing, the medical world has been met with a new way of targeting many chronic genetic diseases. One of these includes sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder that results in defective haemoglobin. Whilst treatments exist to minimise the effects of the disease onContinue reading “Gene therapy advancements to treat Sickle Cell Disease”

Doublecortin and the Death of a Dogma

By Isabella Savin Doublecortin (DCX) is a microtubule-associated protein (MAP) that stabilises microtubules, dynamic protein polymers within cells that are critical to cell motility and migration. DCX contains two separate domains, namely CDC and NDC, which cryo-electron microscopy studies have shown to contribute to the nucleation of the tubulin subunits and its long-term stability, respectivelyContinue reading “Doublecortin and the Death of a Dogma”