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NIH backs Rice University study of delay in gene transcription networks
Date:8/14/2012

mical sensing, the production of energy and even food.

"We've learned that delays can have a significant impact on the function of genetic networks, and the discoveries have changed our fundamental understanding of how genes talk to one another," Bennett said. "There are many processes in cells that require specific timing in order to operate: Stress responses, circadian oscillations, cellular growth and division. We've found the dynamics of these networks are important to their function, and delay can have a profound effect. Understanding that delay and being able to model is critical for accurate computational simulations."

While simple models are able to help build simple cellular "circuits," Bennett felt a more sophisticated model will expand the possibilities for synthetic biology and lower the cost of engineering new synthetic microbes.

Much of the modeling will take place at the University of Houston, where co-investigators Kreimir Josić is an associate professor and William Ott an assistant professor of mathematics, while the synthesis of gene networks in bacteria will happen at Bennett's Rice lab.

Bennett also noted the new work will call for an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon expertise from microfluidic engineers and theoretical biologists. In the big picture, he hopes better computational models enhance understanding of living systems.


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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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