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Pioneers in small RNA research to present at UD symposium, April 16
Date:3/14/2008

Three of the world's pioneers in small RNA research--Victor Ambros, Gary Ruvkun and David Baulcombe--will lecture on their recent discoveries at a special half-day symposium at the University of Delaware from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, in the Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts.

The event will be held in their honor, as the 2008 winners of the Franklin Institute's Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science.

UD's symposium is part of a weeklong series of activities aimed at familiarizing students and the community with the accomplishments of the Franklin Institute laureates. The three will formally receive their awards, which are among science's oldest and most prestigious honors, at a ceremony at the Philadelphia-based institute on April 17.

The discovery of small RNAs and their regulatory roles is widely considered the most exciting development in biology in recent times, said Pamela Green, the Crawford H. Greenewalt Endowed Chair in Plant Molecular Biology, who organized the event at UD. Green serves on the Franklin Institute's Committee on Science and the Arts.

The University of Delaware is honored to welcome three world-renowned scientists who are not only leaders in this field, but also pioneered it by discovering the very first examples of these interesting molecules that can turn off, or 'silence,' genes, she noted.

Through their research, Ambros, Ruvkun and Baulcombe discovered tiny strands of RNA on the order of 20 nucleotides long, which can turn off genes, preventing them from functioning. Their pioneering work revolutionized the scientific understanding of RNA, which previously had been perceived as having an essential, but less interesting role than DNA. Their findings helped spawn a vast, new world of research on small RNAs, which is advancing the development of new genetic tools for basic research and for improving agriculture and human health.

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Contact: Tracey Bryant
tbryant@udel.edu
302-831-8185
University of Delaware
Source:Eurekalert

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