Solving the mysteries of bioscience
Foundational Science Fuels Breakthroughs
Inspiring Next-Generation Scientists
Synthetic biology is helping scientists understand development
1 min read
A new system called MultiFate that was devised by researchers at Caltech, led by Allen Discovery Center for Cell Lineage Tracing principal investigator Michael Elowitz, Ph.D., recapitulates some of that cell-fate complexity through synthetic biology. The scientists engineered cells in the lab to carry a synthetic circuit that switches through combinations of three different proteins that regulate how genes are switched on or off, resulting in seven different “states.” In this movie made by Caltech doctoral student Ronghui Zhu, each cellular state is represented by a different color — as cells divide, the state is stably passed on to future generations.
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Rachel Tompa is a science and health writer and editor. A former molecular biologist, she’s been telling science stories since 2007 and has covered the gamut of science topics, including the microbiome, the human brain, pregnancy, evolution, science policy and infectious disease. During her tenure as Senior Editor at the Allen Institute, Rachel wrote stories and created podcast episodes covering all the Institute’s scientific divisions.
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