Genetically identical cells may be far more different than previously believed. Published this week in linkurl:Science,; researchers find striking variation in levels of gene expression among individual, genetically identical E. coli, seemingly the result of simple chance. "The paper is quite rich," said linkurl:Sanjay Tyagi,; a molecular biologist at New Jersey Medical School who was not involved in the research. "People think that if an organism has a particular genotype, it determines its phenotype -- that there's a one-to-one relationship," said Tyagi. "But as it turns out, [differences in gene expression] can arise just from chance."
Microfluidic device allows multiplex
imaging of library strains.

Image courtesy of Yuichi Taniguchi,
Paul Choi, Gene-wei Li, and Huiyi Chen,
Harvard University
In traditional gene expression studies, researchers grind up a population of cells, then identify overall amounts of gene products from the resulting mixture. Researchers at Harvard University instead studied cells...
E. coliE. coliScience.E. coli,Y. Taniguchi. "Quantifying E. coli proteome and transcriptome with single-molecule sensitivity in single cells," Science, 329:533-8, 2010.

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