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How We Make a Billion Antibodies: Genetics and Epigenetics

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Our B lymphocytes (white blood cells) make millions of different antibodies every day to be ready to fight the billions of infections we may encounter. We only have 200 antibody-encoding genes in our genome – so how do we do this? The answer is a multi-layered story of ingenious sharing of resources in the world of the nucleus, of enormous pieces of DNA looping in 3D space to bring genes together, using global epigenetic processes including non-coding RNA transcription, while each gene’s local chromatin neighbourhood also plays a vital role in cutting and pasting gene segments together to maximise our defences.

Following a postdoc at the LMB , Dr Corcoran established her group at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge in 2000 to identify and study these recombination mechanisms and their dysregulation in leukaemia, immunodeficiency and ageing.

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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