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DNA / RNA Manipulation and Analysis

The Beginner’s Guide to Reading Plasmid Maps

Very often plasmid maps, especially historical ones that are hand-drawn by a long-forgotten PhD student, are a puzzle. What are these arrows and boxes? Where do I start? Don’t worry, we have a crash course introduction into deciphering plasmid maps. Familiarizing Yourself with Your Plasmid of Interest Let’s start with a classic plasmid: pBR3221. It…

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RNAseq Library Preparation: From Cells to cDNA

RNAseq libraries, also called whole transcriptome shotgun sequencing libraries, provide a snapshot of cellular processes. This allows the researcher to gain information regarding changes in transcriptome in response to environmental changes, during disease, or after a drug application. RNAseq libraries also allow for the detection of mRNA splicing variants and SNPs. RNAseq libraries have virtually…

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Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA)

Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) is a molecular technique developed by MRC-Holland back in 2002. In a nutshell, MLPA is a sensitive technique that allows quantification of nucleic acid sequences, quickly and efficiently. It is performed in many laboratories worldwide, and can be applied to detect copy number changes (like deletions or duplications) of a…

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RNA Strandedness: A Road Travelled In Both Directions

For most molecular biology purposes, DNA is thought of as a string of nucleotides running from 3’ to 5’, and the corresponding mRNA sequence is complementary to this DNA string. However, visualizing this quirky DNA structure for what it is – two antiparallel strands joined together – it quite important for many applications, such as…

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The Next Big Thing: Alternative Polyadenylation

What Is Alternative Polyadenylation? Processing of mRNA and its regulation plays a fundamental role in gene expression. As science progresses, alternative polyadenylation takes center stage in the undercurrents of gene expression. 1,2 Polyadenylation is part of the pre-mRNA maturation process and involves polyadenylation of the 3’ end of the emerging RNA.  This process happens to…

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The Importance of Non-coding RNAs

What Are Non-Coding RNAs? What was once considered “junk” may end up being the most important part of our genome. Non-coding RNA (ncRNA) is RNA that is transcribed from DNA but diverts from the “central dogma” because it does not code for proteins. NcRNAs are ubiquitous in eukaryotes: while 90 percent of eukaryotic genomes are…

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Protocols for Cloning Without Restriction Enzymes or Ligases

There are many cloning methods that do not require restriction enzymes or ligases. Read below to learn about how to achieve seamless cloning results via Topoisomerase cloning, SLIC, and Gibson. Method #1: Topoisomerase Technology Topoisomerase technology requires no special primers and no ligases – it is as easy as cloning comes. This technology is based…

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Cloning Methods: 5 Different Ways to Assemble

Over the past few decades molecular biologists have developed procedures to simplify and standardize cloning processes, allowing vast arrays of artificial DNA structures to be more easily assembled. Are you familiar with all the cloning options out there? Let’s look at five different cloning methods you can use to get your construct. At the end…

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Ligation Independent Cloning Primer Design

Ligation independent cloning (LIC) is an easy and effective method to ensure successful cloning, all without the need for ligation. As easy as the technique is, designing primers can be a bit tricky. In this article, we will present a quick overview on primer design for ligation independent cloning.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Lentiviral Transduction

The use of viral delivery systems to transduce cells for gene and protein investigations has become prominent over the last 20 years. In particular, the use of lentiviral vectors permits stable expression of your gene of interest. This is all possible with a little bit of nucleic acid magic. Lentiviruses (a genus of retrovirus) express reverse…

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Old Reliable: Two-Step Allelic Exchange

Manipulating the genes of organisms is crucial for studying their functions. In times before genetic engineering, scientists would shoot bacteria with X-rays or expose them to destructive chemicals until spontaneous mutations would arise. Fortunately, current methods are more sophisticated and less torturous. Researchers now use more directed techniques to introduce mutations. There are several ways…

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4 Important Considerations for Your Cell Lysis

You’ve cultured your cells and completed your treatments, now it’s time to harvest them and proceed to the downstream effects. Cell lysis is the crucial stage that determines if your experiment has a chance of producing the data that you have been waiting for. Part of the starting biological material is inevitably lost on each…

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New-ISH on the Block: Introduction to RNAscope®

When sensitive detection of RNA is required, many scientists turn to qPCR as it is a versatile technique that can detect many different types of RNAs from mRNA, non-coding RNA, to microRNA. However, if you also require spatial information, like which cells are producing your RNA, the technology of choice has historically been in situ…

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Get to Know Your Reference Genome (GRCh37 vs GRCh38)

Whether your experiment relies upon a reference-based genome assembly or mapping reads to a reference genome to identify variants, you need to choose a human reference genome assembly. But wait! You go to the FTP site of NCBI’s refseq and click on the Homo sapiens folder. There you are presented with two choices. Which one…

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Extracting Circulating microRNA, Part Two: Isolation Methods

In the second part of this two part series on analyzing extracellular microRNA (miRNA) from blood or serum, we continue with the methods for miRNA extraction. Generally, there are two different approaches for microRNA isolation. The first of these is organic, liquid-liquid. The total RNA extraction method employs phenol/chloroform isolation with guanidine isotiocyanate as a…

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DNA Footprinting

Studying DNA–protein interactions is an important aspect of molecular biology. Researches use a variety of methods to study these like the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay, electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), DNA pull down assay, luciferase reporter assay, filter binding assay, yeast one hybrid system, etc. Another interesting assay that helps investigate DNA–protein interactions is the…

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