The Recent Discovery of the How and Why of DNA Replication Timing

Hannah Hull
July, 2022

For the last 60 years, the sequence of DNA replication has been a mystery. The Gilbert laboratory has focused their efforts on cracking this code to better treat conditions like pediatric leukemia and premature aging. Dr. Gilbert, Sasaki and associates have identified specific sequences that regulate genome-wide replication timing and have begun to answer the question “Why do cells replicate DNA in a specific order?” and “why is this temporal order altered in cancer and other diseases”?

Data sequencing plays a huge role in searching for these long-undiscovered answers and the FSU Department of Biological Science Molecular Cloning Facility (MCF) and the FSU College of Medicine Translation Science Lab (TSL) work closely together with FSU faculty to generate that sequencing data. First, the Gilbert laboratory sends its sequences to the MCF in the form of a “sequencing library” to check the quality of the DNA and prepare it for sequencing, then the TSL receives the DNA samples and performs the next generation sequencing to generate hundreds of billions of tiny bits of DNA sequences (“sequencing reads”). Next the data is transferred to the Research Computing Center (RCC) analysis server where it is then archived into our system. Archiving the DNA replication data is how the RCC aids the search for replication timing answers. Researchers in the Gilbert lab then can retrieve the data whenever they are ready to perform different types of analyses with the data.

“We need to archive a huge amount of data we cannot have at our personal computer, so we use the [RCC] archival storage,” states Sasaki. “The RCC does dedicated work, and I really appreciate it.”