The self-building of the organism
By comparing the genetic programs of different animals, at the molecular level, our research seeks to discover the principles by which evolution achieves this feat. Our lab at the Technion is composed of developmental, molecular, and computational biologists. We have developed tools to allow us to experimentally study gene programs in individual cells and to computationally stitch together genomes never before studied. In particular, we have developed a method that simultaneously measures what every one of the many thousands of genes does in each and every cell of an organism. Using this method, we have found that the genetic program of an animal is very flexible, such that most changes do not affect the animal. We have also contributed evidence that as the embryo develops it passes through distinct and modular stages. We found that even extremely different animals such as a worm and a frog share common genes that act during such stages in the building of the organism. Discovering such rules promises to teach us how we can eventually reprogram our bodies.
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