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Our laboratory studies all aspects of the cell nucleus, with particular emphasis on the structure of chromosomes, the transcription and processing of RNA, and the role of nuclear bodies, especially the Cajal body (CB) and the histone locus body (HLB).
Much of our work makes use of the giant oocyte of amphibians and the equally giant nucleus or germinal vesicle (GV) found in it. The GV contains the largest known chromosomes, the so-called lampbrush chromosomes, named after their fuzzy appearance at low magnification.
Even at moderate magnification this fuzziness is clearly resolved into paired loops of chromatin that extend laterally from the main axis of the chromosome, each pair of loops (sister chromatids in cytological terminology) corresponding to one or a few actively transcribing genes. Thus, it is possible to study transcription at the single gene level using a variety of immunofluorescent and fluorescent in situ hybridization probes.