Thursday, December 5, 2013
Physics Research Conference
Life at the Single Molecule Level
Sunney Xie, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
DNA are single molecules carrying genetic codes in individual cells. For this reason, gene expression is stochastic. Single-molecule gene expression experiments in live single cells, when combined with the understanding of physical underpinnings, allowing quantitative and mechanistic interpretations of the fundamental processes of gene expression. The fact that there are 46 different individual DNA molecules (chromosomes) in a human cell dictates that genomic variation occurs stochastically and cannot be synchronized among cells. To probe such genomic variations necessitates single-cell single-molecule measurements, which have been made possible recently, opening opportunities to investigate and diagnose cancer, and to avoid genetic disorders in newborns.