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Faculty Research in the News

Beyond genomics, biologists and engineers decode the next frontier

Written by Chandra Shekhar

A team of Princeton biologists and engineers has dramatically improved the speed and accuracy of measuring an enigmatic set of proteins that influences almost every aspect of how cells and tissues function. The new method offers a long-sought tool for studying stem cells, cancer and other problems of fundamental importance to biology and medicine.

The research allows scientists an unprecedented look at a special class of proteins called histones, which are at the core of every chromosome and control the way instructions in DNA are carried out. Despite rapid progress in understanding the information encoded in DNA and genes, scientists have achieved much less insight into the so-called "histone code," which determines why a gene in one cell functions differently than the same gene in another cell.

"We take a cutting-edge approach to a field that has been using more or less the same techniques for the past 15 years," said Benjamin Garcia, assistant professor of molecular biology, who supervised the experimental aspects of the study.

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