Thursday, June 23, 2005

NYT does microRNAs

[As brought to my attention by QoW] The NYT has a nice little article on microRNAs, the main focus of the lab I'm in. My advisor, Dave Bartel, is quoted a bunch of times. The field of microRNAs is pretty hot at the moment [there are new articles published on it every week, in a bunch of journals], which [I think] is a reflection of the fact that it's still relatively new and not very well-understood, so there's lots of low-hanging fruit to be harvested ie relatively simple experiments that help to illuminate the basic mechanisms of how microRNAs work. It's also a big deal because a huge number of human genes appear to be regulated by microRNAs and microRNAs participate in some pretty important processes -- blood cell differentiation, heart muscle cell differentiation, stem cell division [at least in fruit flies] etc. Understandably, the discovery of an entirely new mechanism of widespread gene regulation has lots of people pretty excited, leading to the current feeding frenzy.

Hopefully I'll get to participate in the publishing frenzy too sometime soon =)


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