SISTA Colloquium Details
Monday, February 14, 2011
12:00 – 12:50 p.m.
Gould-Simpson Building, Room 906Light refreshments in 9th floor atrium area - 11:50 a.m.
Giovanni Bosco, Associate Professor
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Chair, Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program
University of Arizona
Maintenance and transmission of biological information: How 3-dimensional organization of genetic material contributes to function and variation.
Abstract: Biologists have known since before the time of Mendel that biological information must be stored, maintained, transmitted from one generation to the next and then read in order to be used as a blueprint for building biological structures, cells, tissues and organisms. We now accept that genes, made of DNA, contain this information in their string of AGCT four-letter code. Although the last two centuries of research have focused on discreet genetic elements, genes, that contain biological information and contribute directly to physical traits, it is still largely unknown how variation in genes actually contributes to variation in physical traits. Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that our understanding of how biological information is stored, transmitted and read via genes and DNA is not sufficient for a full understanding of how biological information is manifested in even simple organisms. I will present a broad introduction to how genes and DNA are organized in 3-dimensional space, and propose a hypothesis that this spatial organization of genetic information imposes an additional layer of regulation that contributes significantly to how genes function. Specifically, I will discuss the work of my lab and others that seek to provide evidence in support of models that explain how biological information can be stored and transmitted in structural and 3-D spatial differences of gene environments, in addition to their actual sequence of letters found within the DNA of genes.