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Biotech blues

By | March 12, 2002

The departure for Singapore of 'Dolly scientist' Alan Colman has raised questions about the viability of British biotechnology.

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Drought resistance gene

By | March 12, 2002

Under drought conditions organisms including nematodes, can enter a state of suspended animation known as anhydrobiosis. This process enables nematodes to survive until rehydration but the precise molecular control mechanisms remain unclear. In March 7 Nature, John Browne and colleagues from National University of Ireland Maynooth, describe a plant desiccation gene that is also found in a nematode.Browne et al. identified a strongly induced 675 base transcript in the anhydrobiotic nematode Aphel

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Musical protection

By | March 12, 2002

There has been much debate about whether DNA sequences may, or indeed should, be patented. This issue has prevented the release and dispersal of much genomic data by commercial genomics companies. In the March issue of Nature Biotechnology, Willem Stemmer of Maxygen Inc. in California, offers a harmonious solution for the sharing of DNA sequences while maintaining intellectual property (IP) protection (Nat Biotechnol 2002, 20:217).While the patentability of DNA is in question, music and original

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Proteasome inhibitors to treat psoriasis

By | March 12, 2002

Psoriasis is a chronic skin inflammation that may involve bacterial superantigens, but the inflammatory mechanisms and T cell responses remain poorly understood. In March 1 Journal of Clinical Investigation Thomas Zollner and colleagues from JW Goethe University of Frankfurt, Germany, show that proteasome inhibition reduces superantigen-mediated T cell activation and the severity of psoriasis in a SCID-hu model.Zollner et al. used human psoriatic skin tissue engrafted onto mice and observed that

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Antisense spuds

By | March 11, 2002

Unmodified starches present a problem to the frozen food industry as they tend to result in poor texture upon cycles of freeze-thawing. In March Nature Biotechnology, Stephen Jobling and colleagues describe a genetic solution to generating freeze-thaw-stable starch (Nat Biotechnol 2002, 20:295-299).Jobling et al. created potato plants with reduced levels of the three starch synthase genes using triple antisense technology. The authors showed that the there was an efficient downregulation of the

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-GalCer

By | March 8, 2002

-galactosylceramide can boost vaccine induced cellular immunity.

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L'Oreal and UNESCO recognize exceptional women in science

By | March 8, 2002

L'Oreal and UNESCO have honored 16 women for their outstanding contributions to science.

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Proteome purification

By | March 8, 2002

In the March 5 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Pascal Braun and colleagues describe a methodology to perform high-throughput purification of human proteins using several affinity-tags (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:2654-2659).Braun et al. exploited the Gateway recombinational cloning system that employs a versatile 'master' vector for easy transfer into different expression vectors. They chose a test set of 32 human genes and expressed them in four different vectors with diffe

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Indomethacin inhibits CMV replication

By | March 7, 2002

Inhibitors of cyclooxygenase 2 block the replication of cytomegalovirus in human fibroblasts.

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Shotgun strategies

By | March 7, 2002

One year after the two human draft genome sequences were published the debate over sequencing strategies continues.

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