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In this podcast, Larry Simpson, PhD, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, UCLA, provides an overview of his long career in scientific research.

Podcast Points:

  • A discussion of RNA editing
  • What’s in a genome? 
  • How does RNA modification occur?

Dr. Simpson has long been interested in the molecular biology of the mitochondrial genome of trypanosomes. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and throughout his extensive and celebrated career, Dr. Simpson was elected as a Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Science, as well as a distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and as a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Simpson provides some information about his background, past work, and current research. He talks about his career studying the molecular biology of the mitochondrial genome of trypanosomes, and why this area of study interested him so intently. Continuing, Dr. Simpson discusses the types of molecules he studied in past research. 

Throughout the years of research, Dr. Simpson spent a fair amount of time investigating a novel type of RNA modification phenomenon known as ‘RNA editing,’ which occurs in the single mitochondrion. Dr. Simpson goes on to discuss DNA molecules, modification, translation, gene sequences, bacteria and function, and ‘guide RNAs.’

He provides an overview of enzymes within the mitochondrion, discussing types of gene editing. And he goes into an in-depth discussion of how mRNA transcripts of the mitochondrial maxicircle DNA molecules are modified, after transcription, by the insertion, and deletion, of uridine residues at exact sites within coding regions to form a translatable sequence.

A list of web sites where people can get information on the parasites and the diseases:

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