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Vasculature mapping

By | February 13, 2002

A few years ago Renata Pasqualini and Erkki Ruoslahti developed an in vivo selection method to identify peptides that target specific vascular beds following intravenous administration of random peptide phage-display libraries in mice. In the February issue of Nature Medicine, Pasqualini's group at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas report the application of 'in vivo phage display' to characterize the human vasculature (Nat Med 2002, 8:121-127).They injected a large-scale, random peptide lib

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Doing the genome shuffle

By | February 12, 2002

DNA shuffling mimics an accelerated evolutionary process that selects for improved individuals. DNA shuffling allows for recombination between multiple parents at each generation, resulting in 'complex progeny' and faster selection. In the February 7 Nature Ying-Xin Zhang and colleagues at Maxygen in California describe using a whole-genome shuffling approach to derive new bacterial strains (Nature 2002, 415:644-646).They chose to shuffle Streptomyces, used to produce commercial antibiotics. Zha

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Early detection of ovarian cancer with proteomic patterns

By | February 12, 2002

Computer-assisted detection of proteomic patterns identifies types of ovarian cancer and could help screen high-risk populations.

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'Off-switch' for systemic inflammation

By | February 11, 2002

, a transcription factor activated by the IL-6 family of cytokines, has a critical role in the control of systemic inflammation.

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Cool sensations

By | February 11, 2002

Cold sensation has a specific receptor but can also be produced by coordinated action of several different ion channels.

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Radiation risks

By | February 11, 2002

In the February 8 Science, Yuri Dubrova and colleagues reported a study of the genetic risk of ionizing radiation to humans (Science 2002, 295:1037). They studied blood samples from 40 three-generation families living near the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan; they looked at eight hypervariable minisatellite probes and compared mutation rates with matched control samples.Dubrova et al., found a statistically significant 1.8-fold increase in the mutation rate of the exposed populatio

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Biofilm binding genes

By | February 8, 2002

A key step in the development of bacterial biofilms — complex structures resistant to many common antibiotics — is adhesion to the substrate. This process has important implications for the implantation of medical devices, but the genotypic differences between attached and planktonic cells remains unclear. In February 5 online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Karen Otto and Thomas Silhavy from Princeton University, USA describe the genetic mechanism used by Escherichi

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Migraine headache mechanisms

By | February 8, 2002

Intrinsic brain activity triggers the changes that eventually lead to the development of a migraine.

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Phototrophs at sea

By | February 8, 2002

Genomic analysis reveals the richness and diversity of marine ecosystems.

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Eukaryotic origins

By | February 7, 2002

In the February 5 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hyman Hartman and Alexei Fedorov describe the use of a genomic approach to investigate the relationship between Eukarya, Archaea and Bacteria (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:1429-1425).They defined a set of several hundred 'eukaryotic signature proteins' (ESPs) that have no homologs in Archaea or Bacteria. The 347 ESPs include cytoplasmic proteins, internal signaling proteins and nuclear proteins. Hartman and Fedorov used their

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