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Taking Shape

By | April 1, 2011

By Richard P. Grant Taking Shape Aimin Tang / Istockphoto.com HIDDEN JEWEL Floral bouquets are the most ephemeral of presents. The puzzle of how flowers get their shape, however, is more enduring. It’s a question that has kept Enrico Coen, a plant biologist at the John Innes Centre in the United Kingdom, busy for more than twenty years. Now he thinks he may finally have a handle on the answer, thanks to a clever combination of detailed image an

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Teaching an Old Drug New Tricks

By | April 1, 2011

By Megan Scudellari Teaching an Old Drug New Tricks Biotech companies hope to turn the practice of finding novel uses for existing compounds into big business. Factoria Singular / Istockphoto.com Andreas and Aris Persidis love to tackle big problems. As graduate students in the 1980s, the two brothers—a naval architect and a biochemist, respectively—would spend long nights knocking around ideas for how to engineer a better propeller or a sleeker k

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The Heart of the Matter

By | April 1, 2011

By Terry S. Elton, Mahmood Khan, and Dmitry Terentyev The Heart of the Matter Are miRNAs useful for tracking and treating cardiovascular disease? 3D4Medical / Photo Researchers, Inc. Rapid and accurate diagnosis of heart attacks—and the assessment of damage—is critical for improving coronary care. Mature microRNAs (miRNAs) are abundant, easily measured, and relatively stable in blood plasma. If they prove indicative of disease states, miRNAs meas

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The Me Decade of Cancer

By | April 1, 2011

By Sarah Greene The “Me Decade” of Cancer Drugs that target specific tumors are harbingers of a new era of genetically informed medicine. The old rules involving randomized populations may not provide the best answers. Thirty-five years ago journalist Tom Wolfe anointed the ‘70s in America the Me Decade—critiquing the quest for self-actualization via primal-scream therapy, high colonics, and mysticism. The age of social conscious

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The Movement of Goods Around the Cell

By | April 1, 2011

By Patricia Bassereau and Bruno Goud The Movement of Goods Around the Cell A biologist and a physicist collaborate on a decade-long exploration of the physical parameters of membrane traffic in eukaryotic cells. 3-D reconstruction of confocal images showing membrane tubes pulled from a giant unilamellar vesicle by kinesin motors along microtubules. The tube diameter is about 100 nm and the vesicle diameter about 15 μm.Courtesy of Cécile Leduc In proka

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Top 7 From F1000

By | April 1, 2011

Top 7 From F1000 David Mack / Photo Researchers, Inc. 1. SWEET proteins found » A new class of proteins, dubbed SWEETs, transport glucose molecules out of plant, worm, and human cells. In some plants, SWEET proteins are co-opted by bacterial pathogens to deliver nutrition to the invaders. L.Q. Chen et al., Nature, 468:527-32, 2010. Evaluations by G. Oldroyd, John Innes Cen; J. Schroeder, UCSD; A. Sugio & S. Hogenhout, John Innes Cen; J. Patrick, Uni

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Truly Phenome-nal

By | April 1, 2011

By Hannah Waters Truly Phenome-nal John Durham / Photo Researchers, Inc. (Antibiotic resistance in E.coli.) The paper R.J. Nichols et al., “Phenotypic landscape of a bacterial cell,” Cell, 144:143-56, 2011. Free F1000 Evaluation The finding Advances in sequencing technology have inundated scientists with genomics data but left them with a drought of corresponding phenotypes. To address this problem, first author Robert Nichols of the University o

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Viral Hijackers

By | April 1, 2011

By Hannah Waters Viral Hijackers Chris Bjornberg / Photo Researchers, Inc. (Dengue virus) The paper N.S. Heaton, G. Randall, “Dengue virus–induced autophagy regulates lipid metabolism,” Cell Host Microbe, 8:422-32, 2010. Free F1000 Evaluation The finding Autophagy allows a cell to reuse essential molecules, eliminate bacterial invaders, or undergo programmed cell death. Nicholas Heaton and Glenn Randall at the University of Chicago discover

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Vital Signs

By | April 1, 2011

By Kelly Rae Chi Vital Signs New frontiers in the search for novel, noninvasive biomarkers Apparatus for collecting exhaled breath condensates to identify protein biomarkers that differ between children with and without asthma Courtesy of VITO The one-size-fits-all approach to therapies is quickly becoming a thing of the past, as drug developers begin stepping up to the challenge of personalized medicine, and regulatory agencies scramble to keep up. As the search

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Another Revolution Needed?

By | March 1, 2011

By Fahd Al-Mulla Another Revolution Needed? Counting the many plagues that threaten research in the Middle East and North Africa region Andrzej Krauze Scientists around the world face obstacles during their research—a rejected manuscript, a failed funding application, an illegible electrophoresis gel. But these annoyances are simply par for the course when doing science. In the Middle East, however, scientists are up against much steeper challenges&#

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