Genetics and Microbiology

Using DNA Databases to Track Down the Golden State Killer Suspect

May 08, 2018
It’s been widely reported that investigators got a break in the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer case when they uploaded a DNA profile to a genealogy database, GEDmatch, and identified relatives of the suspect, Joseph DeAngelo. Did they get lucky, or did they have a good chance of finding him? UC Davis population biologists Graham Coop and M. D. “Doc” Edge have written a nice explainer of the science behind this search.

Bacteria of the Flies: Tracing the Spread of Disease-Controlling Wolbachia

March 09, 2018
In a study appearing in Current Biology, Michael Turelli, distinguished professor of genetics in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, and his colleagues traced the spread of closely related Wolbachia across Drosophila fly species. They found that while the flies evolutionarily diverged tens of millions of years ago, their Wolbachia bacteria diverged only tens of thousands of years ago.

New Machine Learning Algorithm Finds Patterns in RNA Structures

March 01, 2018
Software inspired by speech recognition technology could help scientists understand the secret language inside cells. A machine learning algorithm called patteRNA, designed by UC Davis researchers, rapidly mines ribonucleic acid, commonly called RNA, for specific structures, providing a new method to establish links between structure, function and disease.

Guardians of the Genome

February 26, 2018
For many, breast cancer is more than just a disease – it’s personal. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. But through new discoveries at the genetic level, the personal nature of cancer will eventually be what helps to beat it.

Hydra and the Quest to Understand Immortality

January 04, 2018
The Hydra, a small freshwater invertebrate, is an advantageous model organism for regenerative biologists. Named after the serpent from Greek mythology that grew two new heads for each one cut off, this tiny, jellyfish-like creature holds within its genomic code the key to biological immortality.

Long-Lived: Remembering Melvin Green, A UC Davis Genetics Pioneer

December 11, 2017
Melvin M. Green, distinguished professor emeritus of molecular and cellular biology, was a geneticist and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Green co-founded the historic UC Davis Genetics Department (now part of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology). He passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, at the age of 101.