Biology, biochemistry, and biotechnology of retroelements, retroelement reverse transcriptases, and functional RNAs.
We are applying our insights from decades of studying telomerase and telomere maintenance to investigate eukaryotic retroelements, their reverse transcriptases, and the biogenesis and RNP assembly of processed RNA used as template for nick-primed cDNA synthesis. Site-specific targeting of transgene cDNA insertion has promise as a genome engineering method complementary to CRISPR/Cas. Also, retroelement reverse transcriptases have fascinating biochemical properties that we are discovering and exploiting for RNA-seq. Our new approaches for cDNA library production capture comprehensive, end-to-end RNA sequence inventory of even fragmented or damaged RNAs.