In the two years since Iowa State University's Dr. Adam Bogdanove, along with student Matthew Moscou, published their groundbreaking gene research in the cover story of the journal Science, researchers around the world have built on those findings to explore further breakthroughs. Science has published another article by Dr. Bogdanove in its September 30, 2011 issue that updates the scientific community on where the research has been since 2009 and where it is heading. "In the past two years, an extraordinary number of things have happened in this field," said Dr. Bogdanove, a professor of plant pathology. "This is really pretty revolutionary." Dr. Bogdanove's research published in 2009 uncovered how so-called TAL (transcription activator-like) effector proteins bind to different DNA locations, and how particular amino acids in each protein determine those locations -- called binding sites -- in a very straightforward way. Knowing this, scientists are using the proteins to target and manipulate specific genes, something that was much more difficult to accomplish prior to this research. That could lead to breakthroughs in understanding gene function and improving traits in livestock and plants, and even treating human genetic disorders, according to Dr. Bogdanove. He says that in the two years since his and Moscou's work was published, nearly two dozen research papers have been published using this discovery. "We are so excited about the potential of these proteins. Just in the past six months, they have been used successfully in model organisms such as yeast, zebrafish, and C. elegans, and even in human stem cells. There is some really innovative stuff going on," he said. Dr. Bogdanove collaborated on this Science article with Dr.
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