Genetics and Microbiology

Visualizing “Unfurling” Microtubule Growth

November 13, 2018
Microtubule fibers are hollow rods made of much smaller tubulin subunits that spontaneously assemble at one end of the rod, but exactly how they do this inside the crowded environment of living cells has been a mystery. UC Davis have uncovered the mechanism that puts these blocks in place, illustrated in a new animation.

“Cellular Memory” of DNA Damage in Oocyte Quality Control

September 27, 2018
During oocyte quality control, a decision is made whether each oocyte should continue and join the reserve of eggs or undergo cellular death. New research from Neil Hunter’s laboratory at UC Davis reveals the surprising way that this critical oocyte quality control process works.

Wayward Ways: New Study Reveals How the Nucleus Travels

September 20, 2018
Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools, Dan Starr created mutant versions of the worm C. elegans, to explore how the nucleus moves and repositions itself in the eukaryotic cell.

Perfect Chemistry: CBS Faculty Are Partners In and Outside the Lab

May 21, 2018
After a long day of teaching and research, biochemists Richard McKenney and Kassandra Ori-McKenney usually find themselves on their patio discussing topics like the cytoskeleton and motor proteins. It’s shop talk for the couple, both assistant professors in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

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.

Discovering Curiosity: Learning Genetics through Family Illness with Mark Winey

May 02, 2018
Mark Winey, dean of the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, became fascinated by science at an early age. But the draw to biology—specifically, genetics—was prompted by Winey’s younger sister Christine, who as an infant was diagnosed with an inherited metabolic disease called galactosemia.

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.

Understanding Traffic Congestion on the Shifting Roadways of Cell Division

January 23, 2018
In a new study appearing in Developmental Cell, Ruensern Tan, a biochemistry, molecular, cellular and developmental biology graduate student, and Assistant Professor Richard McKenney, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, provide a new molecular model to describe the role of motor proteins in restructuring the cytoskeleton for cell division.

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.