Research teams at the University of Kentucky and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have won a prestigious $300,000 award from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) for a new program devoted to transformative science.

The BSF defines transformative science as “research driven by ideas that have potential to radically change our understanding of an important scientific concept, or lead to the creation of a new paradigm, or a new field of science.”

The winning collaborative research proposal aims to investigate how organisms regulate the readout of their genomic information. It is currently not known how the genetic information, stored in DNA, is interpreted to allow the formation of an organism.

The University of Kentucky-Hebrew University of Jerusalem team will investigate the role of a new class of short forms of ribonucleic acids (RNA) molecules that are directly made from DNA, the molecule that stores the genomic information. They will look into the role of these molecules that are expressed only in the nucleus of cells in controlling and coordinating the expression of genetic information in a biological meaningful way.

The group hopes their work will help understand how the information in the genome is used to build an organism. The verification of this assumption would open a new chapter in molecular biology.