Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What's the shape of a gene?

One of the rewards we promised in our Kickstarter campaign for is a dozen of "Lenny's Gene-shaped Black Russian Espresso Cookies." When we added the reward, I had exon-intron-exon shape in mind.

Well, after extensive experimenting, this structure clearly won't hold up during shipping. It got me to ponder what exactly a gene looks like. With all of my bioinformatics and comp. bio. training, I keep thinking of genome browsers. But what does a gene look like deep inside the nucleus. How do others imagine gene shapes?

I considered putting ZappyLab on hold to do a 5-year postdoc and figure out the shape of a gene, but Alexei (co-founder) and our board of directors protested. Then I remembered the gene-looping papers from the lab of Nick Proudfoot. Looked up his papers, and viola! Problem solved.
Gene looping model, figure 6D  (Tan-Wong SM, et. al., Science, 2012)
Please do let me know if you have other visions of gene shapes!

The "gene-shaped" part of the reward promise is clearly complicated. However, I should also disclose that "Lenny's..." should be "Lenny's and Eeva's." My older daughter is very excited about this project and is helping the hand-crafted, small-batch, reward baking.

1 comment:

  1. Well, some genes don't have introns, so that's not a requirement. But I think the direction of transcription is useful. Maybe the "pentagram" style would work out?