Genome editing reveals role of gene important for human embryo development

20 Sep 2017

Researchers have used genome editing technology to reveal the role of a key gene in human embryos in the first few days of development. This is the first time that genome editing has been used to study gene function in human embryos, which could help scientists to better understand the biology of our early development.

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The bug hunters and the microbiome

21 Jun 2017

Trevor Lawley and Gordon Dougan are bug hunters, albeit not the conventional kind. The bugs they collect are invisible to the naked eye. And even though we’re teeming with them, researchers are only beginning to discover how they keep us healthy – and how we could use these bugs as drugs.

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New stem cell method produces millions of human brain and muscle cells in days

23 Mar 2017

Scientists at the University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have created a new technique that simplifies the production of human brain and muscle cells - allowing millions of functional cells to be generated in just a few days. The results published today in Stem Cell Reports open the door to producing a diversity of new cell types that could not be made before in order to study disease.

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Enhanced CRISPR lets scientists explore all steps of health and disease in every cell type

29 Nov 2016

Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge have created sOPTiKO, a more efficient and enhanced inducible CRISPR genome editing platform. Today, in the journal Development, they describe how the freely available single-step system works in every cell in the body and at every stage of development. This new approach will aid researchers in developmental biology, tissue regeneration and cancer.

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Anatomy of a decision: mapping early development

06 Jul 2016

In the first genome-scale experiment of its kind, researchers have gained new insights into how a mouse embryo first begins to transform from a ball of unfocussed cells into a small, structured entity. Published in Nature, the single-cell genomics study was led by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the University of Cambridge.

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Early-stage embryos with abnormalities may still develop into healthy babies

29 Mar 2016

Abnormal cells in the early embryo are not necessarily a sign that a baby will be born with a birth defect such as Down’s syndrome, suggests new research carried out in mice at the University of Cambridge. In a study published today in the journal Nature Communications, scientists show that abnormal cells are eliminated and replaced by healthy cells, repairing – and in some cases completely fixing – the embryo.

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Embryo development: Some cells are more equal than others even at four-cell stage

24 Mar 2016

Genetic ‘signatures’ of early-stage embryos confirm that our development begins to take shape as early as the second day after conception, when we are a mere four cells in size, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and EMBL-EBI. Although they seem to be identical, the cells of the two day-old embryo are already beginning to display subtle differences.

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The periodic table of proteins

10 Dec 2015

Researchers have devised a periodic table of protein complexes, making it easier to visualise, understand and predict how proteins combine to drive biological processes.

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