Research round-up

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Stress test in elderly

July 21, 2000

NEW YORK, July 19 (Praxis Press) Physical activity benefits older persons but current guidelines for exercise stress-testing may not apply to the majority of persons aged 75 years or older. Gill and colleagues suggest that the guidelines call for prohibitively expensive and unnecessary tests to monitor heart function and could deter the elderly from beginning an exercise program (see paper). To clarify this hypothesis, the researchers analyzed several studies supporting the benefits and risks of

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NEW YORK, July 17 (Praxis Press) Maternal toxoplasmosis can have devastating consequences for the baby; however, the main risk factors associated with this infection have not been well defined. In a European case-control study, Cook and colleagues evaluated the role of food and environmental factors in acute toxoplasmosis among pregnant women (see paper). Eating undercooked and cured meat accounted for 30% to 63% of infections at the six study centers; other significant risk factors included soi

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Triple therapy safety

July 21, 2000

NEW YORK, July 18 (Praxis Press) Multidrug antiretroviral therapy has decreased the morbidity and mortality associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, but the long-term effects and safety of this treatment are unknown. Gulick and colleagues studied the durability and toxicity associated with combined indinavir, zidovudine and lamivudine therapy in HIV-infected patients (see paper). Almost 65% of patients continued therapy for three years. Serum viral loads remained suppressed

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launches first paper

By | July 20, 2000

's first peer reviewed and accepted paper is published this week.

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Rice - the prequel

By | July 20, 2000

Researchers hoping to decipher the first complete genome sequence of a plant fear the lengthy clusters of repeated transposon sequences present in many plant genomes. But in the July issue of Genome Research, Mao et al. report promising news for the international consortium tackling the rice genome (Genome Res. 2000, 10:982-990). After sequencing 73,000 DNA fragments distributed through the rice genome (a total of nearly 50 Mb), Mao et al. find that less than 10% of the sequences contain transpo

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Simulated fly segmentation

By | July 19, 2000

A compendium of expression profiles from mutant yeast strains allows function to be attributed to uncharacterized genes and leads to the identification of a drug target.

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Mad meiosis

By | July 18, 2000

Mad2p is a budding yeast protein that helps to delay progression through mitosis until errors in chromosome attachment to the mitotic spindle are corrected. In the 14 July Science Shonn et al. find that this spindle checkpoint is also required during meiosis (Science 2000, 289:300-303). Cells without Mad2p show increased chromosome segregation errors during budding yeast meiosis I, when homologs separate, but appear normal during meiosis II, when sister chromatids separate. Meiosis I may fare le

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Sequence of a plant pathogen

By | July 17, 2000

In the 13 July Nature a Brazilian sequencing consortium reports the first public sequence of a free-living plant pathogen (Nature 2000, 406:151-159). The bacterium, Xyella fastidiosa, grows in the water-conducting xylem of citrus plants and causes chlorosis (yellowing) and premature production of small, tough fruit. The sequence reveals a metabolism focussed on carbohydrate consumption and extensive biosynthetic capability to compensate for the scarcity of biological small molecules in the xylem

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A list of lists for yeast

By | July 14, 2000

The function of an uncharacterized gene can sometimes be determined by mutating the gene and using a phenotypic assay But sometimes a convenient phenotype does not exist for a given cellular function. Hughes et al. suggest in the July 7 Cell that expression profiles can be used instead (Cell 2000, 102:109-126). Rather than measuring expression profiles as conditions change (e.g., at different points in the cell cycle, Hughes et al. keep the culture conditions constant and measure the profiles of

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Hopping along DNA

By | July 14, 2000

The rate at which electrons and holes move along DNA is sufficient to prevent strand-cleavage reactions, but too slow to make DNA a useful molecular wire.

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