Alex Neil


Alex Neil
BS, Biology
Stanford University 
Stanford, CA
MD, PhD Student in Genetics
Sergei Mirkin, PhD, Adviser




Friedreich ataxia is caused by autosomal recessive inheritance of an expanded GAA trinucleotide repeat in the first intron of the frataxin gene, which results in gene repression and heterochromatic silencing. Interestingly, transcription through homopurine sequences, like the GAA repeat, has been shown to cause transcription arrest due to the formation of R-loops – RNA:DNA hybrids formed between template DNA and nascent mRNA behind a transcribing RNA polymerase. The goal of my project is to explore the effect of R-loop formation on GAA repeat expansion and gene silencing in yeast.

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