Nature interviews Cai Lab in this week’s Technology Feature. In a vivid review article, Long Cai, along with Mitch Guttman (Caltech) and peers, describe how in situ microscopy works jointly with proximity ligation and sequencing to expand our understanding of the 3D world inhabited by our chromosomes. The article details how Cai’s first ideas about sequencing laid the theoretical groundwork for seqFISH and the giant leap made by former student, Yodai Takei, in applying it to DNA. Read the full article at

“Caltech bioengineer Long Cai’s approach to spatial genomics stemmed from a simple realization: “Fundamentally, a DNA sequencer is a microscope.” Many modern sequencing machines decode DNA by incorporating fluorescently tagged nucleotide bases into the DNA as it is copied, reading those additions letter by letter. Cai figured: “Why take everything out of the cell, prepare it, and put it in the sequencer?” He wondered whether he could instead analyse nucleic acids right where they lie.”

Image credit: Nature