Word of the day

  • Word of the day: Fusion gene

    Alice McCarthy, September 19th, 2011 | Filed under

    When Peter Nowell looked under his microscope at some cancer cells at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and noticed that chromosome 22 was unusually short and chromosome 9 was longer than normal, he found what would become known as the first fusion gene. Two genes, each on different chromosomes, had combined – or fused – in an abnormal way in the cancer cell. The year was 1960 and chromosomal abnormalities could then only be identified visually.

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  • Word of the day: Biomarkers

    Leah Eisenstadt, July 7th, 2011 | Filed under

    Last week on the Broad website, we told you about a new approach to detect and verify biomarkers, using the search for signals of heart attack as a test case. In this study, the team of scientists from the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital looked for proteins in the blood that are released when heart cells are injured and that can be detected quickly after the attack.

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  • Word of the day: Metabolites

    Haley Bridger, March 21st, 2011 | Filed under

    Chemical reactions are constantly happening in the body as molecules are assembled or broken down. These internal molecules are called metabolites, and more than 6,000 can be found in humans. Metabolites include amino acids, vitamins, hormones, and just about any other naturally occurring molecule that is not DNA, RNA, or protein. Metabolite profiling, or metabolomics, is the study of the levels of all of the body's naturally occurring small molecules.

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  • Word of the day: Proteomics

    Elizabeth Cooney, March 2nd, 2011 | Filed under

    People who work at the Broad Institute are passionate about projects that connect basic biology to human health and disease. Sometimes when they see the Broad referred to as a “genomics institute,” they want to say, “Wait, there’s more!” That’s because they’d like everyone to know that genomics -- central as it may be -- is just the beginning of the story.

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  • What is a translocation?

    Haley Bridger, February 10th, 2011 | Filed under

    DNA is powerful but delicate. At only 2 nanometers in diameter (a nanometer is the equivalent of one millionth of a millimeter), it is a fine thread that can snap during the process of cell replication. Each of our cells is equipped with DNA repair machinery, which, when it is working properly, detects and immediately repairs any breaks. But if something goes wrong during this process, the consequences can be disastrous. Under rare circumstances, the repair machinery can accidentally reattach a broken-off piece of DNA to the wrong chromosome.

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  • What is an ORF?

    Leah Eisenstadt, November 30th, 2010 | Filed under

    Last week, researchers at the Broad announced exciting study results that reveal how cancer cells can evade treatment and become resistant. They found that although anti-melanoma drugs can block the B-RAF gene that drives these cancers, malignant melanoma cells can “turn on” another gene called COT and survive, pointing to this gene as another potential target for therapy.

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  • Broadies take the seven words challenge

    Leah Eisenstadt, November 15th, 2010 | Filed under

    Our colleagues in New Zealand took the seven words challenge: Can you describe your scientific pursuits in seven words or less? We posed the question to our own scientists here at the Broad and got some enlightening results!

    Taking the guesswork out of cancer

    I discover the molecular causes of cancer

    Assemble genome sequence from billions of pieces

    DNA isolation, preparation, quantification, management and storage

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  • What is exome sequencing?

    Leah Eisenstadt, October 15th, 2010 | Filed under

    The human genome consists of 3 billion nucleotides or “letters” of DNA. But only a small percentage — 1.5 percent — of those letters are actually translated into proteins, the functional players in the body. The “exome” consists of all the genome’s exons, which are the coding portions of genes. The term exon was derived from “EXpressed regiON,” since these are the regions that get translated, or expressed as proteins, as opposed to the intron, or “INTRagenic regiON” which is not represented in the final protein.

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  • Word of the day: Genome

    Haley Bridger, July 9th, 2010 | Filed under

    This afternoon, Ira Flatow will be talking with medical educator Howard Markel about the word genome on Science Friday and I can't wait to tune in! The word has a pretty fascinating 80-year history and we use it all the time in the stories we write and blog entries we post. As such, we've added "genome" as a term to our glossary.

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