The weekly seminar series organized by CNT and the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute provides a forum for bringing national and international leaders in nanoscale science and technology to campus, and for graduate students enrolled in our Dual Ph.D. program in Nanotechnology to present their research.
All seminars are held on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 3:20 PM in Johnson Hall Room 102 (North end of building and across from MolE).
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RNA Fitness Landscapes
Asst. Prof. Irene Ann Chen, University of California, Santa Barbara - Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
NaNSA, Nanotechnology Student Association
The origin of life is believed to have progressed through an RNA World, in which RNA acted as both genetic material and functional molecules. Understanding early evolution requires systematic knowledge of the relationship between RNA sequence and functional activity. In particular, knowing the structure of the fitness landscape of RNA is critical to estimating the probability of the emergence of functional sequences and the role of historical accident during evolution. Much theoretical work has been devoted to fitness landscapes, but experimental maps have been relatively limited. We use in vitro selection on a pool of short RNA sequences that nearly saturates sequence space to reconstruct the form of a comprehensive fitness landscape. We also study mutations during non-enzymatic polymerization to understand how early RNA replicators would 'move' in sequence space.
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