Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Boeke, Jef D.
Location New York University
Primary Field Genetics
 Election Citation
Boeke has made groundbreaking contributions to understanding the mechanism and regulation of mobile genetic elements in yeast and humans, to identifying and understanding rDNA transcriptional silencing and to analyzing and understanding the mechanism and roles of histone and other protein modifications. He has also helped develop high-throughput genetic methods.
 Research Interests
Jef Boeke elucidated one of the major forms of DNA movement (transposition) in yeast cells, in which Ty1 elements move via reverse transcription of RNA. He coined the term retrotransposition to describe the process, which is common in virtually all eukaryotic genomes. His genetic and biochemical studies helped elucidate intricate molecular mechanisms involved in retrotransposition in yeasts, mammalian cells and mice. The Boeke laboratory has also constructed highly active synthetic retrotransposons as a probe of retrotransposition in cells and mice. Retrotransposition formed about half of all human DNA and has been a major force in genome evolution. Another current interest is exploration of the frequency and impact of ongoing retrotransposition in the human germ line, somatic cells, and cancer. In the area of Synthetic Biology, Jef Boeke is using yeast as a platform for exploring the construction of fully synthetic chromosomes for practical and theoretical studies. He is leading an international team to synthesize an engineered version of the yeast genome called Sc2.0, the first synthetic eukaryotic genome.

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