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Master Collaborator

By | January 1, 2011

By Carrie Arnold Master Collaborator Stoma on a tobacco leaf Brian Sullivan / Getty images When University of California, Riverside, botanist Sean Cutler figured out how the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) helps plants survive drought, the discovery felt more like a burden than a triumph. His finding was in jeopardy of languishing unpublished because previous research on the hormone was tainted by suspect results and retracted papers. In the 1980s, scientis

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Mining Bacterial Small Molecules

By | January 1, 2011

By L. Caetano M. Antunes, Julian E. Davies and B. Brett Finlay Mining Bacterial Small Molecules As much as rainforests or deep-sea vents, the human gut holds rich stores of microbial chemicals that should be mined for their pharmacological potential. animate4.com ltd. / Photo Researchers, Inc. Companies spend huge resources going to the far reaches of the Earth to search for the next blockbuster. But we need look no further than our own intestines, which are p

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Myc, Nicked

By | January 1, 2011

By Richard P. Grant Myc, Nicked Wikipedia (Crystal structure of Myc and Max in complex with DNA.) The paper M. Conacci-Sorrell et al., “Myc-nick: a cytoplasmic cleavage product of Myc that promotes α-tubulin acetylation and cell differentiation,” Cell, 142:480-93, 2010. Free F1000 Evaluation The finding When Maralice Conacci-Sorrell joined Bob Eisenman’s lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, she

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Proteins Adorned

By | January 1, 2011

By Amy Maxmen Proteins Adorned Cracking the secrets of posttranslational modifications © Shunyu Fan / Istockphoto.com (inside protein molecule) Cells do what proteins tell them to do. But sequencing DNA or running microarrays won’t reveal a protein’s mandate. During and after translation, enzymes, lipids, proteins, and sugars decorate the amino acids of the newly synthesized protein. As a result of these alterations, proteins encoded by the same

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Synthetic Spirits

By | January 1, 2011

By David Nutt Synthetic Spirits Can we use science to reduce the harms of alcohol? © Ljupco / Istockphoto.com Alcohol is the oldest of all recreational drugs. While its psychological complications have long been known, only in the past century have its medical complications, such as liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease, and cancers, become recognized. In many Western countries these medical problems have increased at an alarming rate. In the United Kingdo

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The Coming Health Crisis

By | January 1, 2011

By Samuel S. Myers and Aaron Bernstein The Coming Health Crisis Indirect effects of global climate change threaten the health of hundreds of millions of people. The very uncertainty that shrouds this issue must serve as an organizing principle for adaptation to its ill effects. Heading to the water hole, northern Namibia Alexander Nesbitt Human activity is disrupting Earth’s climate, and the rising emissions of greenhouse gases are accelerating that dis

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The Mindless Machine, circa 1664

By | January 1, 2011

By Vanessa Schipani The Mindless Machine, circa 1664 Though many of René Descartes’ anatomical and physiological assumptions were vastly off target, he was the first to make a convincing case for a purely physical, nonspiritual view of life. Instead of seeing the mind and body as intimately intertwined, Descartes viewed them as interacting but separate entities. Animals, he reasoned, did not have minds, but were still capable of functioning, much like machin

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The Profits of Nonprofit

By | January 1, 2011

By Megan Scudellari The Profits of Nonprofit The surprising results when drug development and altruism collide Victoria Hale, founder of the Institute of OneWorld Health, the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the US POPTECH In the beginning, they called her a fool. When pharmaceutical chemist Victoria Hale told friends and colleagues that she wanted to start a nonprofit pharma company, they laughed at her, said it was career suicide, that it could

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Top 7 From F1000

By | January 1, 2011

Top 7 From F1000 MedicalRF / Photo Researchers, Inc. 1. To stent or not? » A large randomized trial demonstrates that arterial stenting is as effective and safe as surgical intervention in treating narrowing (stenosis) of the carotid arteries, challenging previous work that showed stents were more risky. T.G. Brott et al., N Engl J Med, 363:11-23, 2010. Evaluated by G. Tang & J. Matsumura, Univ Wisconsin; M. Alberts, Northwestern Univ; M. Nishik

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Watt Fun!

By | January 1, 2011

By Karen Hopkin Watt Fun! Her doctoral advisor told her to amuse herself, and Fiona Watt has done just that—probing individual stem cells and determining the genes and molecules that direct them to differentiate or cause them to contribute to cancer. FIONA WATT Deputy Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research Herchel Smith Professor of Molecular Genetics, University of Cambridge Deputy Director, Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Research In

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