A Reaction-Diffusion Model of the Centromere-Signaling Network; Human Gene Editing: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Raghuwanshi, Jasraj, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Janes, Kevin, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Paudel, B. Bishal, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Stukenberg, Peter, MD-BIOC Biochem/Mole Genetics, University of Virginia
Truong, Tan, MD-MPHY Mole Phys & Biophysics Medicine, University of Virginia

How can genetic science improve disease treatments? Genetic medicine offers extraordinary possibilities for human health, but entails substantial hazards.

How can a model of the Centromere-Signaling Network (CSN) be constructed? The CSN is a cellular signaling pathway that occurs directly before cell division to ensure correct mitotic spindle attachment to the chromosome, and it contains numerous cancer-associated genes. The research team built a two-dimensional reaction-diffusion model of this pathway, using previous data and estimation to determine model parameters, that will enhance our understanding of cancer and possibly reveal new protein targets for chemotherapy. The chromosomal recruitment of the proteins Haspin, Ndc80, and KNL1 are critical for pathway function. When there is excess concentration of the proteins Aurora B kinase, Bub1, Sgo1, Mps1, or Haspin, as observed in certain cancers, then [results]. Future researchers should first validate our model with laboratory experiments. In later work, they may introduce chemotherapeutic drugs into our model to fix pathway dysfunctions, simulating cancer treatment.

How do social groups compete to distinguish responsible from reckless applications of gene editing? Genetic engineering capabilities have surpassed regulatory and ethical codes. Some researchers and patients have pursued advances in genetic engineering at the expense of safety. Governments have just begun to regulate gene editing, but scientists have policed each other since the field’s origins in the 1970s.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
gene editing, ethics, precautionary principle, biochemical signaling, computational model, centromere-signaling network

School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Technical Advisors: Kevin Janes, Bishal Paudel, Peter Todd Stukenberg, Tan Truong
STS Advisor: Peter Norton
Technical Team Members: Lydia Erbaugh

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