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Epigenetics and Society

By | March 1, 2011

By Andrew D. Ellington Epigenetics and Society Did Erasmus Darwin foreshadow the tweaking of his grandson’s paradigm? We can expect that epigenetics will be held up as the forerunner of that bastard child of Creationism, Intelligent Design. The potent wish in the productive hour Calls to its aid Imagination’s power, O’er embryon throngs with mystic charm presides, And sex from sex the nascent world divides… R

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Imprinting Diversity

By | March 1, 2011

By Cristina Luiggi Imprinting Diversity Joachim Messing talks about how genomic imprinting may be a strong driver of diversity. Sexual reproduction yields offspring with two copies of the same gene, one from each parent; but in an epigenetic phenomenon known as genomic imprinting, only one copy of certain genes is turned on or off, depending on which parent contributed it. Imprinted genes are stamped by patterns of DNA methylation or histone modification during g

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Infographic: Epigenetics - A Primer

By | March 1, 2011

By Stefan Kubicek Infographic: Epigenetics—A Primer There are many ways that epigenetic effects regulate the activation or repression of genes. Here are a few molecular tricks cells use to read off the right genetic program. INFOGRAPHIC: Click to view full image illustration ©2011 Tolpa Studios, Inc. What makes the ~200 cell types in our body remember their identity? What prevents them from becoming cancer cells? Why do we inherit some traits from

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Mail

By | March 1, 2011

Mail Climate Change and Health While all of the problems associated with global warming can initially be countered to some extent in some, most, or all places given enough capital outlay for technology, etc., the basic problem this article1 points out is that, at some point in time, if global temperatures continue to rise, there will eventually not be enough resources everywhere to handle things. For example, the increasing incidence of malar

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Medicinal Alchemy, circa 1512

By | March 1, 2011

By Cristina Luiggi Medicinal Alchemy, circa 1512 Related Articles The art of alchemy Stem cell alchemy The discovery of DNA, circa 1869 During the Middle Ages, alchemists developed sophisticated ways to tap the medicinal powers of the Earth’s bounty. Depending on the ailment being treated, flowers, herbs, spices, minerals, and animal flesh all potentially held cures, which could be extracted employing methods not unlike those used by modern organ

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Mitotic Hijacker

By | March 1, 2011

By Richard P. Grant Mitotic Hijacker HIDDEN JEWEL When a cell divides, its duplicated chromosomes have to be shared equally between the two daughter cells. Cells manage this feat by lining up replicated chromosomes along their equators during mitosis, and then pulling sister chromatids apart to the right destinations. But Theileria, an intracellular parasitic protozoan, also needs to divide when its host cell undergoes mitosis. Dirk Dobbelaere and colleagu

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Ready, Reset, Go

By | March 1, 2011

By Karen Hopkin Ready, Reset, Go Rudolf Jaenisch enjoys climbing mountains, rafting rapids, and unraveling the secrets of pluripotency—knowledge that could someday lead to personalized regenerative medicine. RUDOLF JAENISCH Professor of Biology, MIT Member, Whitehead Institute F1000 Head of Faculty, Genomics & Genetics Porter Gifford It was a misbehaving virus that drew Rudolf Jaenisch to epigenetics. As a postdoc in Arnold Levine’s

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Resistant to Failure

By | March 1, 2011

By Cristina Luiggi Resistant to Failure Vance Fowler’s postdoc Sun-Hee Ahn Duke University Medical Center In 2006 Duke University clinician Vance Fowler found the perfect animal model to investigate a question that had been bugging him ever since he started his residency at the university’s medical school in the mid-1990s: Why were some patients much better at fighting off bacterial infections than others? Scanning research on more than 20 differ

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Sequence Analysis 101

March 1, 2011

A newbies guide to crunching next-generation sequencing data

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Speaking of Science

By | March 1, 2011

Speaking of Science Behavioural Ecology Research Group, Oxford How fleeting are the wishes and efforts of man! how short his time! and consequently how poor will be his results, compared with those accumulated by Nature during whole geological periods! —Charles Darwin, On The Origin of Species (1859) Why them? Why is this species [the New Caledonian crow] on a small island in the Pacific able to not just use but to manufacture a variety of tool

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