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Particles bouncing off a surface, altering their direction of movement; electric fields acting on charges; mass continuing its motion after a push. These are the basic physical properties many are intimately familiar with, yet the laws of underpinning them — those of quantum mechanics — are far less intuitive. More importantly, these physical properties interact on a larger scale and constitute observations in daily lives, once again eluding intuition.

Cells also contain similar mysteries. On one hand, the genomes — guides to the creation of raw materials for the mansion of organisms — of various species including humans, have been accurately sequenced since the 1990s. One notable example is the yeast cell that was sequenced in 1996. This was the first eukaryote, which has linear DNA capable of highly complicated coiling, to be sequenced. On the other hand, biologists have had little insight into how to construct the intricate machinery of cells — holding every single building block in their hands — without a guidebook of how to put those blocks together. The ambition of Dr. Kerry Bloom in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with his lab members, is to contribute to writing this guidebook, specifically regarding DNA.

“Change is our one constant,” remarked Dr. Bloom when discussing the path of exploration undertaken by his lab.

READ MORE on page 14 in the most recent issue of Carolina Scientific

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