The University of Nebraska State Museum's next Sunday with a Scientist program for children and families explored plant gene silencing.
Bin Yu, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences, introduced children and families to gene silencing triggered by RNAs and related technologies used to improve crop traits and fight against human disease. Gene silencing refers to mechanisms by which organisms turn off the expression of certain genes. An important gene silencing mechanism is RNA silencing which regulates important biological processes such as development, metabolism and adaptation to environmental stress. Visitors compared normal plants to those that are defective in gene silencing as well as observed plants with traits altered by gene silencing technologies.
Assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences and member of UNL's Center for Plant Science Innovation, Bin Yu's long-term research interest is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying small RNA metabolism and function. Recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Yu and his team's findings help better understand the role MicroRNAs play in regulating diverse cellular processes.