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Lights, camera, action for cells

Story Summary: They perturbed gene expression using short interfering RNA molecules (siRNA) and then observed the effects over two days on fluorescently labelled chromosomes using time-lapse imaging. The method recognized with 87% accuracy changes in the nuclear shape that were related to basic functions such as cell division, proliferation, survival and migration. Technically this paper is really a tour de force, says Jason Swedlow, a cell biologist at the University of Dundee, UK. The systematic way the group has gone through and knocked down genes and filmed the results is really impressive. Even though we know the sequences of different genomes, we dont yet know the names of all the genes involved in a fundamental process like cell division. The systematic way the group has gone through and knocked down genes and filmed the results is really impressive. Nearly half of these genes are involved in mitosis (see videoshowing normal cell division). This showed that delays in mitosis result in cell death and abnormal chromosome segregation, the process by which paired chromosomes split (see videoof cell division disrupted using siRNA). Some genes were associated with problems in early cell division, and others were linked to problems in a later stage called cytokinesis, in which cells containing two nuclei divide in half. Its a very comprehensive study, says Michael Boutros, a cell biologist at the German Cancer Research Center, also in Heidelberg. It broadly reflects the different effects that genes have on the cell cycle. Thats going to be a very important contribution. Thats going to be a very important contribution. Thats going to be a very important contribution. Cellular YouTubeThe next step is for multiple research groups to validate the hundreds of candidate mitotic genes found in this screen and to figure out how they guide cell division, Ellenberg says. Cellular YouTubeThe next step is for multiple research groups to validate the hundreds of candidate mitotic genes found in this screen and to figure out how they guide cell division, Ellenberg says. Cellular YouTubeThe next step is for multiple research groups to validate the hundreds of candidate mitotic genes found in this screen and to figure out how they guide cell division, Ellenberg says. Cellular YouTubeThe next step is for multiple research groups to validate the hundreds of candidate mitotic genes found in this screen and to figure out how they guide cell division, Ellenberg says. In the long run, the technology will really allow us to diagnose and treat cancer much better, he says. In the long run, the technology will really allow us to diagnose and treat cancer much better, he says. Overwhelmingly the reaction is very positive, Ellenberg says. Overwhelmingly the reaction is very positive, Ellenberg says. People bombard me with e-mails and ask, Can I have the movies for my favourite gene? People bombard me with e-mails and ask, Can I have the movies for my favourite gene? People bombard me with e-mails and ask, Can I have the movies for my favourite gene? Now they can log on to the database and discover clusters of genes that underlie a particular response in cells, he says. Now they can log on to the database and discover clusters of genes that underlie a particular response in cells, he says. They dont want to do the silencing experiments themselves anymore. They dont want to do the silencing experiments themselves anymore. People can go to the data set and discover new relationships that have not been described in the paper. To have everything available online is a big step forward. There are currently no comments. Add your own commentThis is a public forum. Remember our threads are for feedback and discussion – not for publishing papers, press releases or advertisements. You need to be registered with Nature to leave a comment….Read the Full Story

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Future funding for agricultural research uncertain

Story Summary: The lions share of that funding comes from financial donors that include government agencies in the United States and United Kingdom, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Agricultural strategyUnder the proposed reforms, donor contributions would go into a common pot, which would then be distributed among eight broad research areas, or mega programmes. ) The idea is to cut out research overlap between centres, create a clear mission and refocus research on the questions and problems donors want tackled. Donors say that they want this reform process accelerated, and to see more flesh on the bones of the outlined research proposals. In particular, they want to see three fast-tracked research programmes launched by the end of the year, including one on the impact of climate change on agriculture, says Jonathan Wadsworth, senior agricultural research adviser to Britains Department for International Development (DFID). DFID is one of the centres largest donors, and has said that it wants to double funding to the group in future. But Wadsworth told that funding hikes will depend on the reforms, and on the centres achieving their research targets. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the worlds largest private foundation, contributes around $80 million per year to the CGIARs budget and has committed funding to the centres until 2013. Changes to be madeThere is some truth in Pingalis criticisms, says Colin Chartres, director general of the International Water Management Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka, one of the CGIARs centres. But he says that he and others developing the reforms have deliberately not presented specific ideas so that the conference participants, including farmers, can have input into the strategy. In particular, the CGIAR would focus research on specific regions, and target the more vulnerable groups of people for its programmes. A meeting on 24 May will decide which of the broad programmes will be the first to be put to donors for funding decisions, Perez del Castillo added. You can be controversial, but please dont get personal or offensive and do keep it brief. You need to be registered with Nature to leave a comment….Read the Full Story

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New Mouse Models Give Insight to Gene Mutation That Is Potential Cause Of Parkinsons Disease

Story Summary: Newswise — Using new one-of-a-kind mouse models that promise to have a significant impact on future Parkinsons disease research, Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers are among the first to discover how mutations in a gene called LRRK2 may cause inherited (or familial) Parkinsons disease, the most common form of the disease. Even though it was clear that LRRK2 played a role in causing Parkinsons, scientists had not been able to fully pursue the discovery of the gene mutation due to lack of a suitable animal model with abnormal forms of the gene. They are now pursuing the question whether the increased kinase activity accounts for the reduced dopamine levels, subsequently leading to neurodegeneration. About The Mount Sinai Medical CenterThe Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nations oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center. Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education….Read the Full Story

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Max Planck scientists develop gene switch for chloroplasts in plant cells

Story Summary: These RNA molecules are the instruction manuals that show the ribosomes – the cells protein factories – how to build a protein. A few years ago, scientists studying bacterial cells discovered sections in certain messenger RNAs that metabolic products (metabolites) can bind to. The scientists smuggled a gene into the chloroplast DNA and equipped it with a riboswitch. Thats because each tobacco cell contains as many as 100 chloroplasts. As a result, it is capable of building more proteins than the DNA in the cell nucleus. In many cases, however, these foreign proteins damage cellular metabolism or photosynthesis if the cells produce them continuously. Foreign genes have another advantage in the chloroplasts besides this: they are inherited almost without exception through the female egg cell. It is therefore extremely rare for foreign genes to spread through the pollen of the tobacco plants. Source: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft– 27 July 2009Researchers have developed a new technique that allows them to make a movie of bacteria infecting their living host. — full story– 9 July 2009Although the fact that we generate new brain cells throughout life is no longer disputed, their purpose has been the topic of much debate. — full story– 8 July 2009The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today the discovery of a new monkey in a remote region of the Amazon in Brazil. The monkey is related to saddleback tamarins, which….Read the Full Story

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BioNanomatrix Announces Issuance of Key Nanochannel Array Patent for High Throughput Macromolecular Analysis

Story Summary: Also disclosed are methods of preparing nanochannel array chips, methods of analyzing macromolecules such as entire strands of genomic DNA, and systems for implementing these methods. Dr. Han Cao, the Companys founder and chief scientific officer, said: This patent covers the fundamental method and device for isolating, imaging, and analyzing nucleic acid biopolymers confined within nanoscale fluidic channels. We are very excited about the official issuance of this key patent, which places BioNanomatrix in the forefront of this emerging field. Single molecule analysis of intact native DNA has been limited by the difficulty of linearizing and manipulating these long, complex molecules. To address these limitations, a Princeton University research team, including Dr. Cao, developed a simple approach that uses a nano-fluidic chip to untangle and guide individual molecules into an array of nanochannels. It is designed to provide ultra high-resolution analyses of macromolecules, such DNA and proteins, and their interactions more rapidly, comprehensively, and cost effectively than currently available approaches. BioNanomatrix is the worldwide exclusive licensee of the technology covered by this patent. The companys platform technology permits users to image directly and analyze very long strands of DNA in real time at the single-molecule level, at both high resolution and very high throughputs. This technology has the potential to increase the utility of whole genome imaging and analysis for a wide range of research and diagnostic applications, providing fast, comprehensive and low-cost analysis of genomic, epigenomic and proteomic information. Note: NanoAnalyzer is a registered trademark of BioNanomatrix, Inc. The names of other companies, other entities, products and/or services mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. com or Tamara Bright tbright@tiberendstrategicadvisors….Read the Full Story

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Songbirds Give Clues About Vocal Learning

Story Summary: The researchers also found evidence that song behavior engages complex gene regulatory networks within the brain of the songbird- networks that rely on parts of the genome once considered junk. The zebra finch genome sequence and analysis published in the April 1 issue of the journal Nature was funded in part by the National Human Genome Research Institute, a component of the National Institutes of Health. A major reason researchers decided to study the zebra finch genome was the male birds ability to learn complex songs from his father. However, researchers discovered that some genes associated with vocal behavior have undergone accelerated evolution in the finch. For example, they found a disproportionately high number of ion channel genes among the 49 genes in the finch genome that are suppressed, or turned off, in response to song. Ion channels allow the movement of ions (electrically charged particles) across cell membranes. It was once thought that the non-coding part of the genome was not essential, amounting to biological junk. Recently, researchers have begun to amass evidence that many parts of the non-coding regions serve important biological functions. Analysis of the zebra finch genome sequence suggested that ncRNAs, which have been proposed to contribute to the evolution of greater complexity in humans and other animals, may be a driving force behind learned vocal communication. Although scientists understand much about how songbirds acquire and modify their vocal patterns, the availability of the genome sequence will allow insight into the molecular underpinnings of this natural behavior. —Image Caption: NHGRI-supported researchers have sequenced the genome of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). —Image Caption: NHGRI-supported researchers have sequenced the genome of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). —Image Caption: NHGRI-supported researchers have sequenced the genome of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)….Read the Full Story

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Researchers sequence DNA of peach tree at Clemson University

Story Summary: This genome sequence is the culmination of an extensive research program pioneered at Clemson University under the leadership of Albert Bert Abbott, who holds the Robert and Lois Coker Trustees Chair in Molecular Genetics and is a professor in the genetics and biochemistry department. The choice of this tree was crucial to the overall success of the project, and the extremely high quality of the peach genome sequence assembly is a direct result of this choice. The peach genomics efforts of the Clemson research team and its international collaborators led the Joint Genome Institute, a federally funded sequencing facility, to underwrite the sequencing the genome of peach as one of the key plant species of interest worldwide. Bryon Sosinski, a graduate of the Clemson genetics program, now an associate professor of horticultural science at N. C. State University, served as the American coordinator of an effort to sequence the genome of the peach. Sosinski said the effort spanned the globe, involving scientists in Italy, Spain and Chile. Sosinski said the effort spanned the globe, involving scientists in Italy, Spain and Chile. Sosinski said the effort spanned the globe, involving scientists in Italy, Spain and Chile. In the United States, N. C. State, the Joint Genome Institute, Clemson and Washington State universities were the principal partners. In the United States, the effort was funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, while the Italian government funded the international effort. In the United States, the effort was funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, while the Italian government funded the international effort. In the United States, the effort was funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, while the Italian government funded the international effort. The peach genome should be useful to scientists working with a number of peach relatives whose genomes appear to be similar to that of the peach, according to Sosinski. The peach genome should be useful to scientists working with a number of peach relatives whose genomes appear to be similar to that of the peach, according to Sosinski. The peach genome should be useful to scientists working with a number of peach relatives whose genomes appear to be similar to that of the peach, according to Sosinski. Some of these relatives, such as apple or plum, might be expected, but others, such as strawberries and raspberries, and trees, such as poplar and chestnut, would seem unlikely in that the plants are quite different from peaches, he said. Some of these relatives, such as apple or plum, might be expected, but others, such as strawberries and raspberries, and trees, such as poplar and chestnut, would seem unlikely in that the plants are quite different from peaches, he said. Some of these relatives, such as apple or plum, might be expected, but others, such as strawberries and raspberries, and trees, such as poplar and chestnut, would seem unlikely in that the plants are quite different from peaches, he said. It is likely, Sosinski added, that all these plants had common ancestors, and that while they have evolved to be quite different today, their genetic makeup remains similar. It is likely, Sosinski added, that all these plants had common ancestors, and that while they have evolved to be quite different today, their genetic makeup remains similar. It is likely, Sosinski added, that all these plants had common ancestors, and that while they have evolved to be quite different today, their genetic makeup remains similar. As a result, what scientists learn about the peach genome may transfer to these relatives, as the peach genome appears to be relatively unchanged or ancestral in nature. If, for example, scientists identify a peach gene that influences sugar content in the fruit, strawberries and raspberries may have that same gene and it may have the same function. While sequencing the genome of an organism is a significant scientific achievement, Sosinski said, it is just the beginning of scientific work related to the genome. The genomic sequence of an organism is roughly equivalent to a book that is simply a long list of letters, without spaces between words or punctuation, paragraphs or chapters. This long list of letters, by itself, has little meaning; however, if the letters are organized into words and punctuation added, creating meaningful sentences, paragraphs and chapters, the book begins to make sense, said Sosinski. This long list of letters, by itself, has little meaning; however, if the letters are organized into words and punctuation added, creating meaningful sentences, paragraphs and chapters, the book begins to make sense, said Sosinski. At the Musser farm in Oconee County, S. C. , researchers field test more than 350 different types of peaches, including varieties from Italy, China and France. At the Musser farm in Oconee County, S. C. , researchers field test more than 350 different types of peaches, including varieties from Italy, China and France. The stone fruit industry in South Carolina and the nation faces many significant challenges. These varieties will help growers gain a competitive edge in the marketplace….Read the Full Story

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Mapping Heart Disease

Story Summary: Recently, an international team of investigators at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA), Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) and other organizations shed new light on the subject. Studying Drosophila (fruit flies), the team investigated 7061 genes and built a detailed map that shows how a portion of these genes contribute to heart function and disease. Turning off CCR4-Not complex genes caused heart muscle abnormalities (cardiomyopathies) in both flies and mice. They were assisted by researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Toronto General Hospital, Keio University School of Medicine (Japan), Strand Life Sciences (Bangalore, India), New York University, Institute of Human Genetics (Munich, Germany), General Central Hospital (Bolzano, Italy) and the University of Lubeck (Germany). About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (formerly Burnham Institute for Medical Research) is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham, with operations in California and Florida, is one of the fastest-growing research institutes in the country. From 1999 – 2009, Sanford-Burnham ranked #1 worldwide among all types of organizations in the fields of biology and biochemistry for the impact of its research publications, defined by citations per publication, according to the Institute for Scientific Information. According to government statistics, Sanford-Burnham ranks #2 nationally among all organizations in capital efficiency of generating patents, defined by the number of patents issued per grant dollars awarded. org. Contact InformationAvailable for logged-in reporters onlyDescriptionStudying Drosophila (fruit flies), an international team investigated 7061 genes and built a detailed map that shows how a portion of these genes contribute to heart function and disease….Read the Full Story

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First songbird genome arrives with spring

Story Summary: The little songbirds genetic instruction book has just been deciphered. Male zebra finches memorize their fathers songs and practice singing the song for a month or two. In the new study, the researchers decoded DNA taken from a male zebra finch called Black 17. Comparing Black 17s genetic blueprint to that of chickens revealed several notable features in the birds genomes. For instance, in zebra finches, immune system genes of the major histocompatibility complex are scattered across several chromosomes, while chickens and humans keep such genes in clusters on a single chromosome. The finding supports a previous study by Claytons group, which showed that a large number of RNA molecules change levels when a bird is listening to a song. The new genome sequence revealed that many of those RNAs are regulatory molecules known as noncoding RNAs. Levels of one of those molecules, a tiny snippet of RNA known as microRNA-124, drop rapidly when a bird hears a new song, the researchers report. Levels of one of those molecules, a tiny snippet of RNA known as microRNA-124, drop rapidly when a bird hears a new song, the researchers report. Levels of one of those molecules, a tiny snippet of RNA known as microRNA-124, drop rapidly when a bird hears a new song, the researchers report. MicroRNAs are known to regulate production of proteins and have been suggested to be important for brain function (SN: 03/01/2008, p. 136), but this is the first time a microRNA has been shown to respond to a particular thought process, Clayton says….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Songbird genome may shed light on speech disorders

Story Summary: Songbird genome may shed light on speech disorders(Reuters) – Scientists have cracked the genetic code of a songbird for the first time, identifying more than 800 genes linked to song learning in a finding that may shed light on human speech disorders. Song learning is an excellent paradigm for all types of learning, said Chris Ponting, a professor with the Medical Research Council Functional Genomics Unit at University of Oxford, who was involved in the research. It gives the zebra finch genome a unique relevance to human neuroscience, a team of international scientists led by Wes Warren of Washington Universitys Genome Center reported in the journal Nature Wednesday. Significantly, many of the genes activated by bird song do not act like genes in the usual way as code for making proteins. They may have two birds in the bag, but scientists still want to learn more about these feathered descendants of the dinosaurs. Next up is the parrot genome, which researchers hope to complete by the end of this year. (Editing by Hereward Holland)I suppose the gubbermint will want to use the study to help people with speech problems!Who will us conservativie types make fun of then?DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors posted a 43 percent jump in U. S. sales for March from a year earlier in its continuing brands, the first of expected sharp gains by automakers driven by incentives and better weather. Apple doesnt want you to know whats inside its new gadget, but two guys armed with heat guns and suction cups have other ideas. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbookwhich requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests….Read the Full Story

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Dr. Marilyn M. Li, M.D., FACMG, is the 2010 Luminex/ACMGF award recipient

Story Summary: Marilyn M. Li, M. D. , FACMG, is the 2010 Luminex/ACMGF award recipientThe American College of Medical Genetics Foundation has awarded Dr. Marilyn M. Li, of the Tulane Medical Center and the Tulane University School of Medicine the 2010-2011 Luminex/ACMGF AwardThe American College of Medical Genetics Foundation (ACMGF) has awarded Dr. Marilyn M. Li, of the Tulane Medical Center and the Tulane University School of Medicine the 2010-2011 Luminex/ACMGF Award at the ACMG 2010 Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting in Albuquerque, NM. The award includes a $100,000 grant and is aimed at the promotion of safe and effective genetic testing and services, including the development of research guidelines. Dr. Li and her co-PI Dr. Iqbal will study the efficacy of microarray-based testing for detection of genetic aberrations in hematologic malignancies. ACMGs activities include the development of laboratory and practice standards and guidelines, advocating for quality genetic services in healthcare and in public health, and promoting the development of methods to diagnose, treat and prevent genetic disease. Genetics in Medicine, published monthly, is the official ACMG peer-reviewed journal. net) offers a variety of resources including Policy Statements, Practice Guidelines, Educational Resources, and a Medical Geneticist Locator. The educational and public health programs of the American College of Medical Genetics are dependent upon charitable gifts from corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Companys xMAP(r) multiplex solutions include an open-architecture, multi-analyte technology platform that delivers fast, accurate and cost effective bioassay results to markets as diverse as pharmaceutical drug discovery, clinical diagnostics and biomedical research, including the genomics and proteomics markets. The Companys xMAP Technology is sold worldwide and is already in use in leading clinical laboratories as well as major pharmaceutical, diagnostic and biotechnology companies….Read the Full Story

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Picking our brains: Can we regenerate the brain?

Story Summary: In the 1990s, decades of dogma were overturned by the discovery that mammals, including people, make new neurons throughout their lives. Lindvall is now looking for ways to make these specialised neurons from embryonic stem cells or stem cells made by reprogramming adult skin cells. Macklis has shown that in animals at least, these progenitors can be directed to form functional neurons. In mice, he has found chemical cues that tip progenitors into becoming motor neurons, the cells damaged by motor neuron disease. Im a great optimist with respect to regulating neurogenesis in normally non-neurogenic parts of the brain. But the nervous system was built with precision, and we will have to rebuild it with that precision. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing optionsavailable for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to….Read the Full Story

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Traces of early Native Americans — in sunflower genes

Story Summary: The Current Biologypaper suggests reality may be a little more complex. FT genes play a role in sensitizing flowering plants to seasons, and their expression is usually triggered by changes in day length. As far as biologists know, all flowering plants have at least one FT gene. Blackman and his colleagues identified four FT genes in sunflower, Helianthus annuus, which are known as HaFT paralogs. Based on the level of divergence between the various HaFTs and the presence of a single FT copy in lettuce, we inferred that one copy became two during a whole genome doubling event that occurred roughly 30 million years ago, Blackman said. The scientists examined each paralogs expression patterns within sunflower, and by strategically cloning variants of the HaFT genes into the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, discerned the paralogs physiological properties in one anothers presence. One of the paralogs, HaFT3, has lost function and is no longer expressed. HaFT1 isnt produced in the leaves but at the site of HaFT2 and HaFT4s target — the shoot tip and the green bracts that will radiate out from the flower itself. Only two of the 23 wild populations surveyed possess both types of the HaFT1 allele. That is not the case for domesticated sunflower populations, for which the domestic version of HaFT1 completely (or almost completely) dominates. Modern domesticated sunflowers used in farming are homogeneous for domesticated HaFT1. Genetic evidence the scientists collected from a broad survey of domesticated and wild HaFT1 genes suggests domesticated HaFT1 experienced a selective sweep around the time early Native Americans would have begun cultivating sunflower. How HaFT1 was exerting its flower-delaying effects was not clear until the scientists cloned HaFT1, HaFT2 and HaFT4 into Arabidopsis thaliana in different combinations. Domesticated HaFT1 had no impact on flowering in the presence of HaFT2. But HaFT1 did delay A. thaliana flowering in the presence of HaFT4. Rieseberg has dual appointments at IU Bloomington and the University of British Columbia. It was supported with grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation….Read the Full Story

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10 Years on, aThe Genome Revolution Is Only Just Beginninga

Story Summary: The human genomes sequencing has profoundly influenced basic research and the refinement of genome-reading tools. In the same room that Merriweather Lewis and William Clark presented Thomas Jefferson with a map of the Louisiana Purchase territories, the researchers announced that the human genomes three billion base pairs of DNA had been mapped. Mostly lost in the ceremony was the fact that the genome sequence was not truly complete, but only a first draft. The parts that had been read, still needed to be verified. Since then, it has guided researchers in investigations of human development and disease. Some of their investigations have yielded new tests and drug targets and insights into the basis of human disease and development. But theyve also revealed just how complicated human biology is, and how much remains to be understood. Wisely, the president did not attach timetables to his bold predictions, wrote Collins in Nature. Perhaps the greatest genomic advances of the last decade involve tools. The Human Genome Project — the Collins-led governmental side of the genome-sequencing race, with Venter leading the private side — commenced only when the cost of reading DNA finally approached $1 per unit, or $3 billion for a whole genome. The International HapMapproject was formed in 2002, and compared the genomes of several hundred people from around the world. This produced a map of genomic hotspots where people — any two of whom are roughly 99 percent identical at the genetic level — are most likely to have DNA differences. This helps researchers narrow their focus on genes involved in disease. 5 percent of all human genes code for the proteins that make up our cells and tissues. As for what the rest are doing, they are still learning. In 2003, the NIH started the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, or ENCODE, which supports researchers in identifying functions for the rest of our genes. Many genes control when protein-coding genes are turned on and off at different places and times in the body, adding a whole new layer of complexity to the genome. This field of study is called epigenomics, and many researchers think its just as important as genomics. Scientists hope these projects will fill the massive gaps that remain in current genetic explanations for most common diseases. Scientists hope these projects will fill the massive gaps that remain in current genetic explanations for most common diseases. Scientists hope these projects will fill the massive gaps that remain in current genetic explanations for most common diseases. The ability to make meaningful predictions is still quite limited, wrote Collins. Indeed, personalized genomics companies like 23andMe, Navigenics and deCODE have struggled, as the novelty of genomic information gives way to a realization that its still of limited medical use. But all for all that turn-of-the-millennium expectations have been tempered, the genomic age has produced significant medical advances. Analyses of gene disturbances in cancer tissues have produced several promising drugs. Testing for breast cancer mutations is now common. Testing for breast cancer mutations is now common. For some complex diseases, such as schizophrenia, researchers are now looking at genes and physiological systems they never suspected were involved. For some complex diseases, such as schizophrenia, researchers are now looking at genes and physiological systems they never suspected were involved. Making sense of massive new genomic datasets has fueled the growth of systems biology, now one of the hottest areas of science. Making sense of massive new genomic datasets has fueled the growth of systems biology, now one of the hottest areas of science. Knowledge of the human genome wasnt scattered and hoarded. It was freely shared with any researcher who wanted it. As Venter, now the leader of the eponymous J. Craig Venter Institute, responsible for the designing the first synthetic genome, concluded his essay: The genome revolution is only just beginning. Nature, Vol. By Todd Golub. Comments (0)Not a member?If youre not yet registered with Wired. com, join now so you can share your thoughts and opinions….Read the Full Story

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Hunt for Missing Genetic Killer Comes Up Empty

Story Summary: Known as copy-number variations, or CNVs, these extra or missing sequences of the genome have been linked to some rare diseases. Researchers thought they might play a role in common diseases, too. To find whether CNVs might play a part, Wellcome Trust researchers compared CNVs in the genomes of 3,000 healthy people with CNVs in the genomes of 16,000 patients. No individual CNVs had a powerful effect on disease, nor did large numbers of them. Though some rare CNVs are linked to disease, and more remain to be found, the bulk appear to do nothing, wrote the researchers. Comments (2)Not a member?If youre not yet registered with Wired. com, join now so you can share your thoughts and opinions. But what studies/experiments that can be done to continue this research? Sounds like the study attempted to examine junk DNA for correlations to specific diseases, without considering genes at all. If genes are active variables in how junk DNA might be expressed to produce disease, the study would not see it. Statistics is funny that way. If you dont look at all the connected variables, you dont get good results. All rights reserved….Read the Full Story

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Study provides proof in humans of RNA interference using targeted nanoparticles

Story Summary: Moreover, the team provided the first demonstration that this new type of therapy can make its way to human tumors in a dose-dependent fashion, meaning a higher number of nanoparticles sent into the body results in a higher number of nanoparticles found in the tumor cells. Published in the March 21 advance online edition of the journal Nature, the results demonstrate the feasibility of using both nanoparticles and RNA interference-based therapeutics in patients. RNAi is a new way to stop the production of proteins, researchers said. Even before the discovery of RNAi, Davis and his team had begun working on ways to deliver nucleic acids into cells through systemic administration. They eventually created a four-component system featuring a unique polymer that can self-assemble into a targeted, siRNA-containing nanoparticle. These nanoparticles are able to take the siRNAs to the targeted site within the body, Davis said. In addition, Davis and his colleagues were able to show that the higher the nanoparticle dose administered to the patient, the higher the number of nanoparticles found in tumor cells — the first example of dose-dependent response using targeted nanoparticles. Even better, Davis said, the results showed the siRNAs had done their job. In the tumor cells analyzed by the researchers, the mRNA encoding the cell-growth protein ribonucleotide reductase had been degraded. Its the first time anyone has found an RNA fragment from a patients cells showing the mRNA was cut at exactly the right base via the RNAi mechanism, Davis said. There are many cancer targets that can be efficiently blocked in the laboratory using siRNA, but blocking them in the clinic has been elusive, said the studys senior author, Dr. Antoni Ribas, an associate professor of medicine and surgery and a researcher at UCLAs Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. This is because many of these targets arent amenable to be blocked by traditionally designed anti-cancer drugs, said Ribas, who ran the Phase 1 clinical trial….Read the Full Story

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Blog – Gene Patents Ruled Invalid

Story Summary: Next, lets look again at whether its proper to patent software, which is merely the reduction of a mental process. We will never know what is not discovered or not invented when factors affecting human motivation are changed. For your information, the BRCA1 gene was discovered in an academic lab (at Berkeley), funded by tax payers money. Dr. Mary Claire King made the initial discovery, and after that the other BRCA genes were also identified. Companies jumped into the fray, and patented things, but mostly on legal technicalities. Dr. Mary Claire King is now at the University of Washington. Myriads critics have long argued that they give the company a monopoly over this type of genetic screening, allowing it to keep prices high–the test costs more than $3000, despite continual decreases in the cost of genomic analysis tools–and preventing women from seeking confirmatory tests from other sources. Because the ACLUs lawsuit challenges the whole notion of gene patenting, its outcome could have far-reaching effects beyond the patents on the BRCA genes. The overall tone of the Courts ruling is best captured by this passage (from page 135):The identification of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene sequences is unquestionably a valuable scientific achievement for which Myriad deserves recognition, but that is not the same as concluding that it is something for which they are entitled to a patent. Its not yet clear how it will affect the market for BRCA screening. Its not yet clear how it will affect the market for BRCA screening. For the moment, however, we do not foresee this decision producing any radical changes in commercial, clinical or other activity surrounding Myriads BRCA patents, or gene patents more broadly, Vorhaus wrote in his post. For the moment, however, we do not foresee this decision producing any radical changes in commercial, clinical or other activity surrounding Myriads BRCA patents, or gene patents more broadly, Vorhaus wrote in his post….Read the Full Story

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The dynamic genome of Hydra

Story Summary: Present addresses: Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK (P. A. W. ); Institute of Human Genetics, University of Heidelberg, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany (A. -K. Here we report the genome of Hydra magnipapillataand compare it to the genomes of the anthozoan Nematostella vectensis6and other animals. Comparisons of the Hydragenome to the genomes of other animals shed light on the evolution of epithelia, contractile tissues, developmentally regulated transcription factors, the Spemann-Mangold organizer, pluripotency genes and the neuromuscular junction. The genomic basis of cnidarian evolution has so far been viewed from the perspective of an anthozoan, the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis6. Hydrais a medusozoan that diverged from anthozoans at least 540 millions year ago. We generated draft assemblies of the Hydra magnipapillatagenome using a whole-genome shotgun approach (Supplementary Information sections 1-3and Supplementary Figs 1-3). Although the sequenced strain reproduces clonally in the laboratory by asexual budding, it is diploid with substantial heterozygosity (~0. Two complementary assemblies (CA and RP) were generated (Supplementary Information section 3) and deposited in GenBank. The CA assembly gives an estimated non-redundant genome size of 1. 9Gb (see Supplementary Information section 3for a discussion of genome size calculations). 4) as expected based on the longer branch leading to Hydrain peptide-based phylogenies6. Transposable elements make up ~57% of the Hydragenome and represent over 500 different families (Supplementary Information section 9). 1and Supplementary Table 3), is a non-long-terminal-repeat (non-LTR) retroelement of the chicken repeat 1 (CR1) family. a, The top panel shows phylogenetic relationships between four Hydraspecies based on ESTs (using Nei-Gojobori synonymous substitution rates; see Supplementary Fig. The bottom panel shows the fraction of the genome that is occupied by a specific repeat class at a given divergence from the repeat consensus generated by the ReAS (recovery of ancestral sequences) algorithm (see Supplementary Information section 9). Substitution levels are corrected for multiple substitutions using the Jukes-Cantor formula K= -3/4ln(1-i4/3), where iis per cent dissimilarity on the nucleotide level from the repeat consensus. Three element expansions are inferred, the most distinct are the most ancient at ~0. b, c, Example of periods of activity of a single HydraCR1 retrotransposon family (b) and the maximum likelihood phylogeny of the family (c). Electron micrographs reveal bacterial cells underneath the glycocalyx, the coat that overlies the apical surface of the ectodermal epithelial layer of Hydra(Supplementary Fig. Our assembly yielded eight large putative bacterial scaffolds as evidenced by: (1) high G+C content (in contrast to the low G+C content of the Hydragenome); (2) no high-copy repeat sequences typical of Hydrascaffolds; and (3) closely spaced single-exon open reading frames with best hits to bacterial genes (Supplementary Information section 11, Supplementary Fig. These scaffolds span a total of 4Mb encoding 3,782 single-exon genes and represent an estimated 98% of the bacterial chromosome. 12) and conserved clusters of orthologous groups of proteins (COGs) indicate that this bacterium is a novel Curvibacterspecies belonging to the family Comamonadaceae (order Burkholderiales)11. Non-metazoan genes among cnidarian ESTs have been reported previously12, and we have now found further examples of such genes in the Hydragenome assembly. These genes are candidates for horizontal gene transfer (HGT) (Supplementary Information section 12). Of these, 51 have no blast hits to other metazoans, except in a few cases to Nematostella. Potential donors of these HGT candidates are widely distributed among different bacterial phyla (Supplementary Table 15) and show no enrichment for close relatives of Curvibacter. The HGT candidates generally have fewer introns than Hydragenes and nearly one-half are single-exon genes (Supplementary Fig. This pathway could modify endogenous glycoproteins or proteoglycans in Hydra. We also identified 90 transposable elements that were potentially horizontally transferred into the Hydragenome. Transposable elements have been shown previously to be horizontally transferred in metazoans13. With the exception of engrailed, descendants of all of the classes of homeobox genes in the megacluster are found in Nematostella16, 17. Hydrais missing a substantial fraction of megacluster descendants16, indicating secondary loss. In addition to the loss of emxand evegenes, Hydrahas undergone several other marked gene losses; for example, it lacks fluorescent protein genes and key circadian rhythm genes (Supplementary Information section 14). All major bilaterian signalling pathways, including Wnt, transforming growth factor-b, Hedgehog, receptor tyrosine kinase and Notch, are present in Hydraand Nematostella. The head organizer, which is located at the apical tip of the adult polyp, is derived from the gastrula blastopore in cnidarians. Orthologues of a number of genes known to act in the Spemann-Mangold organizer in Xenopusare present in the Hydraand Nematostellagenomes. The extracellular portions of two Hydrareceptor tyrosine kinases22, 23contain a novel protein domain, sweet tooth (SWT). The SWT domain is also present in ESTs from the hydrozoan Clytia, but is absent from all other sequenced genomes, including that of Nematostella(Supplementary Fig. SWT is among the most abundant protein domains encoded in the Hydragenome. Given its presence in receptors and secreted proteins, we deduce that the SWT domain defines a large, diverse and novel set of signalling proteins. There are two members of the Sox B group in Hydra. Studies of diverse cnidarians support this scenario (see Supplementary Information section 14for details). Both cnidarians, however, lack crucial, specific regulators associated with vertebrate striated (troponin complex) or smooth muscles (caldesmon), indicating that these specializations arose after the cnidarian-bilaterian split. Hydraalso shows secondary simplifications relative to Nematostella, which has a greater degree of muscle-cell-type specialization, including specialized retractor muscle cells. Hydralacks several components of the dystroglycan complex (/-sarcoglycan and b-sarcoglycan, /b-dystroglycan and -syntrophin), which may lead to a less robust tethering of actin to the cell membrane than in Nematostella. Similarly, the absence of a bona fide myosin light chain kinase and phosphatase in Hydraindicates a divergence or loss of regulation by myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation. Thus, even among cnidarians, we see substantial variation in muscle-associated components superimposed on the eumetazoan core, with the Hydramuscular system representing a secondary simplification from a more complex cnidarian ancestor. 2a), and that these synapses contain dense core vesicles, paramembranous densities and cleft filaments26similar to canonical neuromuscular junctions in bilaterians. Together, these data indicate that a canonical bilaterian neuromuscular junction was probably not present in the last common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians. a, Electron micrograph of a nerve synapsing on a Hydraepitheliomuscular cell. Three vesicles are located in the nerve cell at the site of contact with the epitheliomuscular cell. AChE, acetylcholinesterase; ChT, choline transporter; MuSK, muscle-specific kinase; VAChT, vesicular acetylcholine transporter. High resolution image and legend (228K)Download PowerPoint slide (610K)In Hydraand Nematostella, epitheliomuscular cells have an apical junctional belt in the form of a septate junction, clear apical-basal polarity, and hemidesmosome-like contact sites with the extracellular matrix (mesoglea) on their basal surface (Fig. This indicates that the common cnidarian-bilaterian ancestor possessed a genetic inventory for the formation of all types of eumetazoan cell-cell and cell-substrate junctions. Similarly, the lack of occludin genes in cnidarians and other non-chordates (Fig. a, Schematic diagram of the positions of cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts in Hydraepitheliomuscular cells. Septate junction, red; gap junctions, green; spot desmosomes, blue; hemidesmosome-like cell-matrix contact, yellow. 18) that is able to interact with b- and p120/-catenin (Supplementary Information section 17). The sequencing of the Hydragenome has revealed unexpected relationships between the genetic makeup of the animal and its biology. Hydrahas a complete set of muscle genes but lacks mesoderm and forms muscles only in epithelial cells. TopMethods SummaryThe genome of Hydra magnipapillatastrain 105 was sequenced at the J. Craig Venter Institute using the whole genome shotgun approach. Complementary DNA libraries were prepared using standard methods and ESTs were generated at the National Institute of Genetics (Mishima, Japan) and the Genome Sequencing Center (Washington University, St Louis). ESTs have been deposited in the dbEST database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. TopAcknowledgementsWe are grateful to S. Clifton, R. Wilson and the EST sequencing group at the Genome Sequencing Center at the Washington University School of Medicine for their efforts in generating the HydraESTs and to the National Science Foundation for its support of the HydraEST project (grant number IBN-0120591). Funding for the sequencing of the Hydragenome was provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute. D. S. R. was supported by R. Melmon and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Work at the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute was supported by the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. T. C. G. B. was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG SFB617-A1) and from the DFG Cluster of Excellence programs The Future Ocean and Inflammation at Interfaces. T. W. H. was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft including SFB488-A12 and the DFG Cluster of Excellence program CellNetworks. Support for H. W. was provided by the TOYOBO Biotechnology Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. (Mercator Professor) and Y. N. was provided by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. A. C. , E. F. K. , O. S. , H. R. B. , C. N. D. , D. S. R. and R. E. S. directed the project and wrote the manuscript. D. S. R. , J. A. C. , O. S. , T. M. , D. M. G. , U. H. , T. K. , S. E. P. , S. S. and N. H. P. carried out genome assembly and gene annotation at UC Berkeley. Construction of cDNA libraries and analysis of ESTs was carried out by H. R. B. , R. E. S. , D. F. K. , S. E. H. , L. G. , D. L. , L. L. , J. P. , B. B. , P. A. W. , T. F. , C. N. -F. Remember our threads are for feedback and discussion – not for publishing papers, press releases or advertisements. The Seeker is looking for a method to provide long-term storage of live insects….Read the Full Story

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Study uses Chinese wolfberries to improve vision imperfections caused by type-2 diabetes

Story Summary: Dingbo Daniel Lin, K-State research assistant professor of human nutrition, is studying wolfberries and their potential to improve damage to the retina. His findings show that the fruit can lower the oxidative stress that the eye undergoes as a result of type-2 diabetes. In our cultures history, we have traditional medicine literature that describes things like the wolfberry and its functions, Lin said. Oxidative stress is known as cell impairment of the production of reactive oxygen, Lin said. Cellular oxidative stress is involved in many human diseases, such as diabetes, vision impairment and blindness. The researchers also looked at the endoplasmic reticulum, which is where the folding process of proteins occurs in a cell. The in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that the wolfberrys phytochemicals protect the retinal pigment epithelial cells from hyperglycemia, or high glucose. Lin said wolfberries could be used as a dietary supplement, though the fruit isnt likely to be found in traditional U. S. food stores. Lin said wolfberries could be used as a dietary supplement, though the fruit isnt likely to be found in traditional U. S. food stores. He said consumers might find them in a Chinese food store or on the Internet. He said consumers might find them in a Chinese food store or on the Internet. The research is part of a fast-moving field called nutrigenomics, which studies the effects of food on gene expression and disease. At K-State, other researchers collaborated on the project: Denis Medeiros, professor and department head of human nutrition; Yu Jiang, research associate in human nutrition; Edlin Ortiz, junior in life sciences, Liberal; and Yunong Zhang, a former research assistant in human nutrition. At K-State, other researchers collaborated on the project: Denis Medeiros, professor and department head of human nutrition; Yu Jiang, research associate in human nutrition; Edlin Ortiz, junior in life sciences, Liberal; and Yunong Zhang, a former research assistant in human nutrition….Read the Full Story

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Vaccine with no jab: Protein vaccines for needle-free immunization through the skin

Story Summary: There are a few protein drugs that can currently be applied through the skin, but their production remains complex and expensive. Thus, his team has developed a short peptide, the low molecular weight protamine (LMWP) that is able to pass through cell membranes into the interior of cells. LMWP peptidescan be produced quickly, easily, and inexpensively in large amounts from the protein protamine. Protamine is a pharmaceutical agent, given to treat hemorrhages that occur after treatment with heparin or elevated levels of heparincaused by disease. The researchers were able to demonstrate this with various test proteins, linked to the LMPW, that were also labeled with a fluorescence dye. Particular accumulation of the proteins was observed in the epidermis. Activation of the immune system in mice was observed that was equivalent to that elicited by conventional immunization. Our skin is not just our primary protection against infections because it presents a physical barrier; our epidermis is also rich in Langerhans cells, which participate in triggering an immune response. Therefore, it may be favorable for an immunization if the vaccine accumulates in the epidermis. One particularly interesting aspect of this new non-invasive method is that the boosters required for many vaccination protocols could be administered by the patients themselves. This could increase the success of vaccination campaigns in poor and remote regions of the world, where medical facilities are scarce. The idea is that following administration of a DNA vaccine, the body converts the information in the DNA vaccine into a protein . . . In a paper published on April 24, 2008 in the journal Vaccine, a Massachusettss biotechnology company, Cure L . . . If successful, the universal flu injection would transform the way we vaccinate against . . . If successful, the universal flu injection would transform the way we vaccinate against . . . The book gave one equation and I (thinking back to chemistry) got another. They both had the same. water and plasma!!!Mar 30, 2010 Hello, Recently i was into chem books and read about this plasma matter. water and plasma!!!Mar 30, 2010 Hello, Recently i was into chem books and read about this plasma matter. water and plasma!!!Mar 30, 2010 Hello, Recently i was into chem books and read about this plasma matter. So now i know plasma matter is in the sun and all stars and also in the humble candle flame. What i wanna know is whether. What i wanna know is whether. What i wanna know is whether. (PhysOrg. (PhysOrg. (PhysOrg. com) — Amino acids are markers for potential life since they are the building blocks of proteins. com) — Amino acids are markers for potential life since they are the building blocks of proteins. com) — Amino acids are markers for potential life since they are the building blocks of proteins. 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 By mixing and matching choices from a buffet of 30 to 70 options, scientists are modeling waters behavior in surface and subsurface reactions and in heterogeneous atmospheric processes such as the formation . . . 23 hours ago | / 5 (1) | Scientists in Brazil are reporting for the first time that coffee beans contain proteins that can kill insects and might be developed into new insecticides for protecting food crops against destructive pests. 23 hours ago | / 5 (1) | Scientists in Brazil are reporting for the first time that coffee beans contain proteins that can kill insects and might be developed into new insecticides for protecting food crops against destructive pests….Read the Full Story

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Bringing dehydrated plants back to life

Story Summary: Bringing dehydrated plants back to lifeApril 1, 2010 Drought can take a serious toll on plants and animals alike. However, some plants, like the aptly named resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides), can survive extreme measures of water loss, even as much as 95% of their water content. As they talked, it became apparent that any differences between plants of related species that give some individuals the ability to survive very low water levels, while their cousins die after only moderate water loss, must be occurring at the cellular and molecular level. The plant is just as dry and brittle as can be, Balsamo said. It has lost 95% of its water, but its still alive! They found that not only is a particular class of proteins, called dehydrins, more prevalent during dry conditions, but, for the first time, they found that it was also prevalent near the cell walls. Dehydrins earned their name for their ability to attract, sequester, and localize water. The finding led the researchers to the conclusion that these water-surrounded dehydrins may actually allow water to act as a lubricant between either the plant cell membrane and the plant cell wallor even between individual cell wall layers. Layton added, Think of crumpling a sheet of paper over and over. Eventually the fibers are going to fracture and the paper is going to tear. They also observed that the ferns vascular tissue, found near the centers of individual fronds does not deform greatly, highlighting the importance of keeping this tissue intact once wateragain becomes available. If the dehydrin gene could be localized and transferred to other species, it could possibly confer the ability to resist drought to plants. The technique described in the open access journal Plant Methods, published by BioMed Central, allows . . . Professor Andy Pereira at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) has been working . . . com) — A genome is a complex system of genes and factors that regulate them. A European research team has clarified how such dynamic systems work, leading to a new way to predict genetic regulators….Read the Full Story

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Researchers look at reducing yield loss for crops under stress

Story Summary: Plant researchers are taking a long look at stress in order to improve crop productivity, especially when faced with issues of climate change. It may also allow drier areas of the planet to support sustainable yields and profitable crops, according to Howell. These sensors pick up on cues that appear as misfolded proteins. Much like a meticulous housekeeper would realize something was wrong if he or she discovered heaps of unfolded clothes in the closet, according to Howell. But protein folding is a very finicky process and can mess up when environmental conditions are bad, as during a period of intense heat. In the research, Howell and his colleagues reveal how these transcription factors find and activate their target genes. When coupled with a previous study from this group, the paper describes how there are actually two sets of factors involved. When coupled with a previous study from this group, the paper describes how there are actually two sets of factors involved. One set specializes in activating genes in response to salt stress. One set specializes in activating genes in response to salt stress. The factor in this study responds to heat stress and the accumulation of unfolded proteins. The factor in this study responds to heat stress and the accumulation of unfolded proteins….Read the Full Story

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Biologists discover an on/off button on plants alarm system

Story Summary: Biologists discover an on/off button on plants alarm systemApril 1, 2010 Scientists connected to VIB and Ghent University have discovered how plants turn their defense mechanisms on and off. The discovery offers possibilities for increasing the yield of therapeutic substances from plants. These defense responses require a great deal of the plants energy and reserves, which would otherwise be invested in growth and reproduction. Hormones, such as the jasmonates, are crucial in this process – and the plant produces these hormones when subjected to stress conditions. The presence of the jasmonates sets a complex chain reactionin motion, starting with the degradation of the so-called JAZ proteins. The presence of the JAZ proteins keeps the defense mechanism turned off. Until now, it has been unclear how the JAZ proteins are able to block the MYC2 proteins activity. As long as these proteins appear as a trio, they bind to MYC2 and that protein remains inactive. The moment that the JAZ proteins disappear – as the consequence of stress and the subsequent production of the jasmonates – MYC2 springs into action, triggering the plants defense mechanism. The researchers have worked with Spanish colleagues from the CSIC/University of Madrid and have used a proteomics-based technology developed by Geert De Jaeger (VIB/Ghent University) and Erwin Witters (VITO/University of Antwerp). This technology makes it possible to determine the composition and production of protein complexes in plants. Link between growth and stressIt has previously been known that TPL suppresses the expression of genes controlled by the growth regulator auxin. In fact, they not only influence the regulation of a plants growth but also other hormonally driven processes by interacting with proteins like NINJA. This new insight reveals how stress- and growth-related signaling pathways use the same molecular mechanisms to regulate gene expression in plants and fills a major gap in our understanding of how plant hormones such as jasmonates regulate gene expression. Now that more is known about the regulation of these secondary metabolites, scientists can look for ways to step up their production. html I didnt even realize that human cloning was yet scientifically possible. Structure of Evolutionary Theory, why did he leave this out?Mar 29, 2010 Hi, Ive been leafing through the index of Stephen Jay Goulds book The Structure of Evolutionary Theory on the amazon index feature and he has only mentioned Edward O. Wilson on two pages in the. Researchers writing in BioMed Centrals open access journal Silence have created the first class of reagents to potently and selectively inhibit miRNAs in thi . . ….Read the Full Story

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Brain tumors: Tissue stem cell turning into tumor stem cell

Story Summary: Brain tumors: Tissue stem cell turning into tumor stem cellApril 1, 2010 Mice overexpressing Tlx develop glioma initiating lesions. Overproduction of the protein Tlx in mice stimulates the development of malignant brain tumors from brain stem cells. The cradle of new neurons in the adult brainis well known. For many years now, the subventricular zone has been suspected to be the origin of specific malignant brain tumorscalled gliomas, the most deadly type of which is glioblastoma. When the scientists switched off Tlx, there were no more detectable stem cells in the brain and the formation of new neurons ceased. Using a molecular-biological trick, the investigators induced an overproduction of Tlx by the brain stem cells of mice. As a result, cell division activity in the subventricular zone increased, the cells left their habitual environment called stem cell niche, and started forming glioblastoma-like tissue lesions. In another experiment in which the researchers additionally switched off the p53 protein as an important cancer brake, invasively growing glioblastomas arose from the cancer precursors. Moreover, the scientists discovered that stem cells with increased Tlx production stimulate the formation of new vessels. This enables the cells to migrate into distant brain regions and, thus, to generate the typical coral-like growth of glioblastoma. If we boost it, the tissue stem cell turns into a cancer stem cell from which malignant glioblastomas arise. Tlx seems to play its fatal role not only in mouse brains. Studying tumor tissue from glioblastoma patients, Lichter and Reifenberger discovered that the Tlx gene is often present in multiple copies and, thus, more Tlx protein is produced. The mice whose brain stem cellsoverproduce Tlx are an ideal model system for such investigations. 12 minutes ago | / 5 (1) | 0 | A new study of brain activity in depressed and anxious people indicates that some of the ill effects of depression are modified – for better or for worse – by anxiety….Read the Full Story

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Stone Age Scandinavians unable to digest milk

Story Summary: Stone Age Scandinavians unable to digest milkApril 1, 2010 The hunter-gatherers who inhabited the southern coast of Scandinavia 4,000 years ago were lactose intolerant. This has been shown by a new study carried out by researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University. The study, which has been published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, supports the researchers earlier conclusion that todays Scandinavians are not descended from the Stone Age people in question but from a group that arrived later. One possibility is that these differences are evidence of a powerful selection process, through which the Stone Age hunter-gatherers genes were lost due to some significant advantage associated with the capacity to digest milk, says Anna Linderholm. The capacity to consume unprocessed milk into adulthood is regarded as having been of great significance for human prehistory. This capacity is closely associated with the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies, says Anders Gotherstrom of the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University. In the present case, we are inclined to believe that the findings are indicative of what we call gene flow, in other words, migration to the region at some later time of some new group of people, with whom we are genetically similar, he says. The researchers current work involves investigating the genetic makeup of the earliest agriculturalists in Scandinavia, with an eye to potential answers to questions about our ancestors. com) — Todays Scandinavians are not descended from the people who came to Scandinavia at the conclusion of the last ice age but, apparently, from a population that arrived later, concurrently with the introduction . . . com) — DNA study suggests that further waves of prehistoric immigration are waiting to be discovered. Central and northern Europes first farmers were immigrants with barely any ancestral ties to the modern population, . . . com) — A new study led by UCL scientists has found that current genetic data cannot explain why vast swathes of the world can digest milk. com) — A new study from the University of Leicester has found that most men in Europe descend from the first farmers who migrated from the Near East 10,000 years ago. html I didnt even realize that human cloning was yet scientifically possible. 1hour ago | / 5 (1) | 0 Scientists connected to VIB and Ghent University have discovered how plants turn their defense mechanisms on and off. 2 hours ago | / 5 (1) | 0 (PhysOrg. com) — A genome is a complex system of genes and factors that regulate them….Read the Full Story

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