CRISPR is associated with a technique first recognized as a bacterial defense against viral infection. • Compares a DNA sequence to a target RNA sequence • Edits the DNA by removing or replacing the matching gene sequence Applications include: • Vaccine development • Targeting / modifying DNA “typos” to treat genetic disease, e.g. vision defects • Promising treatment & disease prevention, e.g. cancer, heart disease, mental illness, HIV, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
The 3D illustration depicts measles virus outside / inside a host cell. Knobby structures on the virus surface are two surface proteins that aid in binding and invading a host cell.
Measles: enveloped single strand RNA virus with 1 -serotype: Family:paramyxoviridae; Genus: morbillivirus -humans: the only natural host of measles virus -contagious disease typically spread by coughing, sneezing -virus enters respiratory system, then spreads throughout the body -virus can spread before symptoms appear -virus can live outside human body for 2 hrs -can cause serious health complications
Our illustration at right, “Gene Regulated Transcription,” appeared in last year’s Medical Illustration SourceBook. Briefly, the illustration shows an unwound segment of DNA made available for use as a blueprint to create, e.g., cell membranes, enzymes, hormones, etc.
I loved the illustration but wasn’t keen on submitting it to the SourceBook– the science behind the illustration is complicated, complex, and far-removed from our everyday experiences.
Now there is a book by Pulitzer Prize winning science reporter / author, Amy Ellis Nutt, that connects the world of genes and DNA to people in the world around us. Becoming Nicole is the true story of two identical twin boys who had obvious differences in gender identification from an early age. Identical twins with identical DNA, but variation in genetic blueprint reading resulted in twins that are no longer identical.
*Lewis Carroll from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Our workday starts like it does for many people, a quick meeting over coffee to discuss what we’re working on today, what needs to be done next. The rest of the day, Don and I typically work alone. Not action-packed, but what is needed to get technical projects right.
Last week was different. We attended a large international trade show. It was fantastic to be out of the office for a few days–seeing people we knew, meeting others we didn’t, learning something from everyone.
Visiting booths, listening to company reps, reading product literature, talking to other attendees was both exhausting and energizing. We have a better understanding of current industry trends and the changing landscape for scientific / biotech companies: more technical content, increasing international presence, efforts to widen market reach to more diverse audiences. We’ll try to incorporate last week’s experiences as we’re back working on projects.
I mentioned earlier that we are a small company. That’s by choice. We find it’s easier and more satisfying to concentrate on doing work we want to do in the biological sciences. It also happens to be a good model for our business.
When clients come to us, they work with Don, a 3D illustrator / animator accustomed to working with technical content discussions with subject matter experts. Don translates scientific / biological discoveries into 3D illustrations / animations that explain why those findings are important to a larger audience. For example, a client’s product may have a mode of action that works faster and / or is more effective. Our illustrations / animations are visual reminder of our client’s significant investment in company & product branding, R & D, technical service.