Part of being a grad student is dealing with technologies related to your projects and their limitations.
Sometimes I feel old when I remember the way we used to have to do things in the lab. As a grad student, I manually poured, ran, and read giant sequencing gels. Back then, gene synthesis of a sort always had to be attempted by PCR from cDNA. BLAST searching sequences was a new and sometimes clunky thing.
Of course, things are much better now in some ways. Something as simple as sending out your DNA for sequencing, which has been an option for a few decades now, is so far superior to doing it all yourself. As a grad student, I would have loved that. Now you can get many plasmids from places like Addgene or commercial vendors instead of making them entirely yourself. What you can’t get as an off-the-shelf product can be made to order via gene synthesis. I’m not sure BLAST searching is really that different after twenty-something years. Maybe quicker.
Reading papers and media stories often brings up innovative methods that are relatively new even for these “modern” times in science.
- The Gene Synthesis Revolution, NYT.
- Stamping Bar Codes on Cells to Solve Medical Mysteries, NYT
- Implanted pluripotent stem-cell-derived pancreatic endoderm cells secrete glucose-responsive C-peptide in patients with type 1 diabetes, Cell Stem Cell. And also this paper from ViaCyte too in Cell Reports Medicine: Insulin expression and C-peptide in type 1 diabetes subjects implanted with stem cell-derived pancreatic endoderm cells in an encapsulation device. See image of histological analysis of the capsule.I’m hoping to have time to do a post dedicated to these new clinical reports from ViaCyte in the coming week. They come shortly after the news of one patient doing well so far after getting a stem cell-derived infusion for Type I diabetes, which I mentioned in our previous weekly reads.
- A tumour-resident Lgr5+ stem-cell-like pool drives the establishment and progression of advanced gastric cancers, Nat Cell Bio.
- First Patient Dosed in Phase 1 Trial of IMS001 Therapy, Multiple Sclerosis Today. The Clinicaltrials.gov listing has more information. IMS001 is an MSC product derived from hESCs.
- Cell-fate transition and determination analysis of mouse male germ cells throughout development, Nat Comm.
- Functional human gastrointestinal organoids can be engineered from three primary germ layers derived separately from pluripotent stem cells, Cell Stem Cell.
- Histone variant H2A.Z regulates zygotic genome activation, Nat Comm.
- NPR Short Wave podcast: The secret history of DNA: Pus, fish sperm, life as we know it.