evolutionary biology

Genus envy

In 1997, a breakthrough was made in rare/orphan disease research. An evolutionarily conserved gene called NPC1 was shown to be responsible for Niemann-Pick disease type C, a degenerative lysosomal storage disorder that affects 1 in 150,000 people on Earth, half of whom manifest symptoms as children. The discovery of NPC1 should have unleashed a torrent of follow up studies in simple model organisms like yeast, worms and flies, all of which have an ancestral version of NPC1. Instead, what followed was a trickle, with clunky rodent models getting all the basic research attention.

Stalking the Fourth Domain with Jonathan Eisen, Ph D

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Guest: Jonathan Eisen, Ph D, UC Davis Genome Center, Bio and Contact Info

Today we have a special show. In our first video production, we’re coming to you from the UC Davis Genome Center where we’re joined by evolutionary biologist, Dr. Jonathan Esien. Jonathan and his lab here are becoming better known since the release of a paper in February which suggested evidence of a fourth domain to the basic tree of life. What do we mean by 4th domain? We’ll be asking Jonathan that soon. He is this year’s recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award, and we’re pleased he had us to his lab.