Ep 56- Unlocking Genetic Regulation with Rachel Cherney and Connor Wander


How did you get so put together?  DNA is the blueprint, but it doesn’t determine everything.  DNA gets turned into RNA, and then finally into proteins that help build your body and brain.  But there are SO many steps in that process that affect the final product- you.   The sum of these steps is a process called genetic regulation.  Genetic regulation makes sure that not all of our genes are expressed and turned into protein at the same time and same place- that would be a mess!

This episode is all about genetic regulation by long, non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs, pronounced “link-R N A”).  LncRNAs are long segments of RNA that serve non-traditional functions in the genome.  Although recently discovered, lncRNAs seem to be involved in everything from the genetic regulation of development to diseases like cancer.  LncRNAs could help rewrite the field of genetic regulation, and might be the biggest shift to understanding genetics since epigenetics became a hot topic.

Rachel Cherney

Rachel is also highly involved in other forms of science communication!  Check out the Pipettepen and UNC SWAC for more info!  If you’re at UNC, make sure to check TIBBS for career training and opportunities.


Specific visual references and their approximate timestamps are listed below.  Make sure to watch the Youtube Video for the full experience!

  • 5:00: DNA vs RNA vs Protein – (image in video)
  • 7:30: Alternative splicing – (image in video)
  • 9:00: Jimena giudice lab at UNC  – http://giudicelab.web.unc.edu/ (Alternative splicing and intracellular trafficking in development and diseases)
  • 9:30: It’s estimated that >90% of proteins undergo alternative splicing

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