Potential Benefits of Transposons

Transposons pic

Image: broadinstitute.org

Genetics researcher Jef Boeke is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Jef Boeke’s research interests include mobile genetic elements in humans and yeast, often referred to as transposable elements, or “transposons.”

Commonly known as “jumping genes,” transposons are mobile pieces of DNA that can move from one segment of the genome to another. Because transposon insertion can interrupt the expression of important genes, many researchers think of transposons as harmful. However, recent research suggests that transposable elements may play a beneficial role in different types of organisms.

When two strains of bacteria, one with relatively few transposable elements and one with the normal amount, are grown in competitive conditions, the strain with more transposable elements tends to grow more vigorously. Although the exact reasons for this competitive advantage are not yet known, researchers have proposed that transposition facilitates the repair of chromosome breaks. More genetics research needs to be done on the role of transposons at a molecular level.


The Allied Genetics Conference to Take Place in July 2016

2016 Allied Genetics Conference pic

2016 Allied Genetics Conference
Image: genetics2016.org

A genetics and molecular biology researcher focusing on transposable elements and synthetic chromosomes, Jef Boeke is the founding director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Among other professional associations, Dr. Jef Boeke belongs to the Genetics Society of America.

A professional organization dedicated to promoting the field of genetics, the Genetics Society of America organizes the Allied Genetics Conference on an annual basis. In 2016, the conference will take place July 13-17 in Orlando, Florida.

Held at the Orlando World Center Marriott, the 2016 Allied Genetics Conference will include meetings on topics ranging from gene expression and cell biology to yeast genetics and zebra fish development. The conference will also play host to the 57th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, as well as the Ciliate Molecular Biology Conference. Other events at the conference include trainee workshops for new faculty members, mentoring lunches, and plenary sessions for undergraduate researchers.

Dr. Jef Boeke will be a keynote speaker at the 2016 Allied Genetics Conference, as will Dr. Cori Bargmann, the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor in the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at Rockefeller University. Other keynote speakers include Dr. Francis S. Collins from the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Harry Dietz from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.