Unique collaborative effort proves value of some “junk” genes

January 21, 2014

From his days in graduate school, through his postdoctoral fellowship, and now as a Harvard Stem Cell scientist, John Rinn, PhD, has been digging through the bulk of the human genome, challenging the prevailing belief that the bulk of the genome is biological “junk.” Ever since the Human Genome Project decoded the genome, the prevailing view has been that only the two percent of the genome making proteins, the building blocks of cells, was important. The rest of the genome was deemed not functional, or “junk.”

Mutation linked to male infertility

June 25, 2013

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers have found a link between male infertility and a mutation in a gene critical for sperm production. If the gene, Elongator Protein 1/Inhibitor of KappaB Kinase-associated Protein (Elp1/IKAP), is turned off, male germ cells – which give rise to sperm – encounter errors during division.