Much of the universe is thought to be made up of invisible ‘dark matter’; in the same way, much of the genome consists of DNA that does not code for a protein and was thought to be unimportant. However, this ‘genomic dark matter’ may be important in controlling gene function in health and disease, and it is these interactions that Steven Witte is exploring [Image Credit: ESA/Hubble]

Is arthritis due to DNA’s dark matter?

27 March 2013: Steven Witte explains how his fascination with the cause of autoimmune diseases such as arthritis has brought him to the Sanger Institute to study the effects of non-coding DNA [Image credit: ESA/Hubble]

No more free rides for tapeworms?

13 March 2013: Tapeworm’s leave all the hard work to their hosts. But their laziness could be their undoing. Genome sequencing has revealed that the parasites’ genetic simplicity makes them extremely reliant on certain genes and processes to live, and these ‘weak spots’ may be vulnerable to existing drugs

piggyBac jumping gene jumping around the mouse genome

Mouse jumping genes don’t always land where they should

27 Feb 2013: piggyBac is a jumping gene that normally leaps from TTAA sequence to TTAA sequence. But, sometimes, it lands in unexpected places, causing point mutations. Zemin Ning explains how the Sanger Institute used next-generation sequencing and a lot of computing power to chase the gene around the mouse genome to understand how it works

Malaria blood-stage parasite called schizonts in blood film

Resisting malaria

15 Feb 2013: Susana Campino explains how her lab works in partnerships to uncover the genes that make people resistant to severe malaria.

Cause of selective male deafness discovered

13 Feb 2013: For one family at least, selective male deafness is true. A team at the Sanger Institute has discovered a mutation on the male-only Y chromosome that causes adult deafness, Yali Xue reveals…

Bacteria that cause the sexual diseases Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can swap DNA between their peers and hide from medical tests, explains Helena Seth-Smith. Genetic sequencing may help us penetrate their camouflage [Credit: Genome Research Limited]

Chlamydia: Silent, Treacherous, Invisible?

04 Feb 2013: Bacteria that cause the sexual diseases Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea can swap DNA between their peers and hide from medical tests, explains Helena Seth-Smith. Genetic sequencing may help us penetrate their camouflage

Using genome sequences and computer analysis, we are able to understand the rapid evolution of the influenza virus, explains Chris Illingworth… [Credit: CDC/Brian Judd]

How our computers crack flu’s evolution

29 Jan 2013: Using genome sequences and computer analysis, we are able to understand the rapid evolution of the influenza virus, explains Chris Illingworth.