Genome Editing: Origin, Development, Problems

Prof. Gerolamo Lanfranchi

DATE: 04 September 2019
TIME: 15:00-16:00 pm
LOCATION: Centro Linguistico di Ateneo, University of Padova

The precise correction of mutated and non-functional genes in the genome of living organisms has been a “Shangri-La” since the developing of the original technologies of Genetic Engineering. With the discovery in bacteria of a specific immunity pathway against phage infection mediated by the Crisps/Cas9 mechanism, this goal has suddenly become affordable. This powerful system is in fact exportable to animal and plant cells and, in principle, is capable of fine (single-base level) modifications of specific genome sequences to which it can be precisely targeted. The first part of the lecture will describe the discovery of the genome-editing system and the molecular mechanism by which Crispr/Cas is able to target and modify specific genes virtually in each cell, describing the problems and weakness that still are present in this technology. Examples of recent application will be given.

Gerolamo Lanfranchi is Professor of Genetics and Director of the Department of Biology of the University of Padova. His scientific interests and expertise are in the field of functional genomics and regulation of gene expression applied to skeletal and heart muscles in different physiological and pathological conditions, both in animal models and in humans. Among his major contributions in research, is the first catalog of genes expressed in human and mouse muscles which led to the discovery and functional characterization of many unknown structural and regulative proteins involved in important pathways of these tissues. In the last period, his research is focused in the profiling and functional characterization of short (miRNAs) and long (lncRNA) non-coding RNAs involved in the pathophysiology of these tissues. He recently introduced a powerful single-cell approach in these studies, since also muscles are composed by a repertoire of different cells, being able to profile the transcriptional signature of each muscle fiber in a given muscle under dynamic changes of physiological and pathological conditions. Lanfranchi is author of more than 100 papers and reviews published in international peer-reviewed Journals. He is teaching courses of Genetics and Epigenomics at the School of Sciences in the University of Padova.


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