Posted in Science Stories

Hildegard Lamfrom: building the theory of messenger RNA

Tenacious, skilled, and self-effacing – these are words used to describe Dr. Hildegard Lamfrom by her colleagues and family. Born in 1922 to a Jewish family in Germany, Lamfrom fled with her parents and sisters to Portland, Oregon in 1938, and worked her way through Reed College by working as a welder in wartime shipyards. Twenty years later, with a PhD and years of working on the renin protein system in blood, she began to study protein synthesis as the field of molecular biology was just starting to take off.

Continue reading “Hildegard Lamfrom: building the theory of messenger RNA”

Posted in Biology Basics

RNA: An Introduction

While RNA is built on the same backbone and structural concept as DNA (read this post for a refresher!), its slight biological differences lead to significant functional diversity. We’ll examine the structure of RNA molecules first, then dig more deeply into the myriad of functions performed by these molecules within (and even outside of!) the cell. Continue reading “RNA: An Introduction”

Posted in Sequencing Technology and Methods

Stranded mRNA Sequencing

mRNA – messenger RNA – is typically around 5% of the total RNA in a cell, and in most eukaryotic organisms the vast majority of it is tagged with a poly(A) tail. This allows these molecules to be isolated out from a total RNA sample, reducing the number of reads needed to sequence the transcriptome or analyze gene expression. Continue reading “Stranded mRNA Sequencing”