Ancient DNA shines light on Caribbean history, prehistory

New answers have emerged from the largest genome-wide study to date of ancient human DNA in the Americas.

Stephanie Dutchen • harvard
Dec. 23, 2020 ~12 min

science-technology dna archaic-age caribbean-people ceramic-age

Enzymatic DNA synthesis sees the light

Controlling a DNA-synthesizing enzyme with photolithographic methods from the computer chip industry facilitates multiplexed writing and storage of digital data in DNA.

Benjamin Boettner • harvard
Oct. 19, 2020 ~9 min

science-technology dna harvard-medical-school george-church wyss-institute

Analyzing toehold sequences for synthetic biology

Computational algorithms enable identification and optimization of RNA-based tools for myriad applications.

Lindsay Brownell • harvard
Oct. 7, 2020 ~16 min

science-technology dna synthetic-biology rna wyss-institute james-collins

In clinical study, blood test can detect range of cancers

In a study involving thousands of participants, a new blood test detected more than 50 types of cancer as well as their location within the body with a high degree of accuracy.

Harvard Gazette • harvard
March 31, 2020 ~4 min

 dna  cancer  basic-research  harvard-medical-school  health-medicine  annals-of-oncology  grail  pathfinder

How CRISPR technology is advancing

Fewer off-target edits and greater targeting scope bring gene editing technology closer to treating human diseases.

Caitlin McDermott-Murphy • harvard
Feb. 14, 2020 ~7 min

 science-technology  dna  chemistry  crispr  genome  chemistry-and-chemical-biology  rna  gene-editing  broad-institute  caitlin-mcdermott-murphy  cas9  base-editing  base-editors  biotechnology-nature  david-liu  genetic-disease  genetic-engineering  sickle-cell-anemia

Study likens Earth’s evolution to creation of Frankenstein’s monster

The evolution of the first building blocks on Earth may have been messier than previously thought, likening it to the mishmash creation of Frankenstein’s monster.

Caitlin McDermott-Murphy • harvard
Jan. 28, 2020 ~4 min

 science-technology  engineering  dna  chemistry  genetics  basic-research  chemistry-and-chemical-biology  jack-szostak  origins-of-life  rna  science  caitlin-mcdermott-murphy  primordial-soup  prebiotic  seohyun-kim

Evolution more complex than ‘survival of the fittest’ had us believe

By re-barcoding the DNA of yeast, researchers were able to follow evolution for approximately 1,000 generations, finding surprises along the way.

Clea Simon • harvard
Nov. 13, 2019 ~4 min

 science-technology  dna  evolution  physics  yeast  organismic-and-evolutionary-biology  alex-n-nguyen-ba  barcoding  ivana-cvijovic  michael-desai

Harvard researchers create DNA ‘propellers’

Understanding how DNA and proteins interact — or fail to — could help answer fundamental biological questions about human health and disease.

Caitlin McDermott-Murphy • harvard
July 19, 2019 ~7 min

 science-technology  dna  chemistry  biotechnology  optics  nanotechnology  nature  microscopy  biomechanics  cell-biology  micromachines  molecular-biology  xiaowei-zhuang

New tool calculates genetic risk for obesity

A “polygenic score” for obesity, a quantitative tool that predicts an individual’s inherited risk for becoming overweight, may identify an opportunity for early intervention.

Karen Zusi • harvard
April 18, 2019 ~6 min

 dna  obesity  genetic  health-medicine  uk-biobank  broad-institute  amit-v-khera  avon-longitudinal-study-of-parents-and-children  clinical-interventions  coronary-artery-risk-development-in-young-adults-study  framingham-offspring-study  polygenic-score  polygenic-scoring