Mechanistic Approaches to Biology Lab

  Home     Group    Research    Teaching    Publication    Contact

RNA Biology

In the famous molecular biology dogma, RNA was considered as "just" a passive intermediate in the information transfer pathway.  However, one of the surprising revealations of post-genomic era is that the human genome with about 3 billion base pairs encodes only about 25000 open reading frames (ORF) that code for proteins. What is the function of the remaining so called "junk DNA" was elusive for a while. Only in the recent past, we are beginning to understand that many of these non (protein) coding DNA performs diverse functions at the RNA level. It is becoming increasingly clear that RNA is just not a passive carrier of genetic information, but a versatile molecule that functions in information storage (in retroviruses), catalysis (ribozyme) and regulation of gene expression (RNA interference) to name a few. Our interest in RNA Biology concerns with the mechanistic understanding of
(i) CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune system
(ii) Ribosome Assembly
(iii) Riboswitch mediated gene regulation


 Tetrahymena  Group I Intron depicts the complex structure adopted by RNA

Evolution of Life
Source: Tree of Life Web Project

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution"
-Theodosius Dobzhansky
Molecular Evolution

Though we have surpassed the celebration of 150 years of the master piece “The origin of species” by Charles Darwin, we are yet to understand the historic mutations that led to the evolution of diversity in molecular structure and function. This is partly because most of the evidences including fossil records do not preserve information about all the intermediate stages in evolution. However, thanks to the emerging fusion of evolutionary biology and molecular biology coupled with improved technologies, it is now possible to resurrect the ancient genes inferred from molecular phylogenies in the laboratory. This new approach combines statistical analyses of gene sequences with manipulative molecular experiments to reveal how ancient mutations altered biochemical processes and produced novel phenotypes. This new possibility now offers ways and means to ask fundamental questions in evolutionary biology.

Our research is supported by


"Unit of Excellence in RNA Biology"

"Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award"


     2010 Indian Institute of  Technology Guwahati
Designed & Maintained by B. Anand
Last Updated Oct, 2015