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Molecular Biology and Genetics
study of molecular mechanisms by which genetic information in DNA is able to result in the processes of life

Trichodina pediculus (freshwater ciliates), ventral view, living specimens (1000x). Image coutersy of Gerd A. Guenther, Duesseldorf, Germany

Conventional diffraction-limited microscopes cannot be used to distinguish single molecules.  However, using a variety of fluorescence techniques, researchers can probe the behaviour of single molecules.  These include techniques such as FRET, FRAP and FLIP.  Nikon’s A1R+ confocal microscope provides an ideal platform for carrying out such imaging experiments.  The regulation of genetic activity is not only dependent on cis-acting elements in the genome but also appears to depend on the spatial location of the gene.  Using the A1R+ confocal, researchers can examine the location of genes within the three dimensional nucleus, relative to various other nuclear markers and examine how the location changes in response to various stimuli.  Genes and their transcripts can be visualized by fluorescence in situ hybridization techniques (FISH) or by labelling molecules that bind specifically to the gene or transcript. Nikon’s suite of imaging systems including the A1R+ confocal and LiveScan sweptfield system allow researchers to track the birth of transcripts, their translocation to the cytoplasm, and the synthesis of their protein products, in live cells. In vitro assays designed to study the mechanisms of DNA replication, repair and transcription can benefit from the high signal-to-noise imaging of Nikon’s TIRF system. To gain molecular level resolution, researchers can use Nikon’s super resolution microscopes N-SIM and N-STORM. RNAi screens are commonly used these days to knockdown genes and to explore their effects on various molecular processes.  Nikon’s high content screening system with automated image acquisition and analysis can aid in these types of high throughput imaging screens.  

Imaging Challenges

How can I ensure that I have as flexible a microscope as possible for my research?

Molecular biology covers such a vast range of science with many different research areas and techniques. Utilise a flexible and upgradable microscope for multi-model imaging such as Nikon’s Eclipse Ti-E which can serve as the core structure for confocal, super-resolution, and TIRF imaging applications.

Eclipse Ti-E

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