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Genetic susceptibility to prion diseases

By | May 15, 2001

Genetic loci other than the prion protein gene have a major effect on prion disease incubation time in mice; multiple quantitative trait loci on three chromosomes can explain 82% of the variance.

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Twelve thousand Asian men

By | May 15, 2001

The 'Out-of-Africa' hypothesis posits that modern humans derive from an African originator population, that spread outward replacing local populations approximately 100,000 years ago. In the May 11 Science, Ke et al. report the use of Y chromosome polymorphism analysis to test the origins of modern Asian man (Science 2001, 292:1151-1153). They looked at 12,127 men from 163 different populations across Southeast and Central Asia and typed three Y chromosome biallelic markers (YAP, M89 and M130).

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2001 Royal Society Fellows

By | May 14, 2001

LONDON The UK Royal Society today announced the election of 42 Fellows, 6 Foreign Members and 1 Honorary Fellow for 2001. Those elected to the distinguished organization today include: Richard Dawkins for his work on evolution and for raising the public understanding of science; molecular plant virologist David Baulcombe; internet pioneer Timothy Berners-Lee; the developmental geneticist Robin Lovell-Badge; oncologist Bruce Ponder and Sheila Sherlock for her work on the pathology of liver failur

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Inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases by tissue factor pathway inhibitor-2

By | May 14, 2001

Tissue factor pathway inhibitor-2 reduces interstitial collagenase degradation of triple-helical collagen and may be of use in the treatment of atherosclerosis.

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Linkage disequilibrium

By | May 14, 2001

Linkage disequilibrium (LD) refers to the correlation among neighboring alleles, reflecting common haplotype ancestry. In the May 10 Nature, Reich et al. describe a systematic, genome-wide analysis of LD within human populations (Nature 2001, 411:199-204). They analyzed 19 random chromosomal regions, each of which centers around a core SNP (single length polymorphism) in the coding region of a gene. Extensive sequencing of 44 individuals from Utah identified 272 'high frequency' SNPs at 0-160 ki

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Mutation in Cd36 gene protects from malaria

By | May 14, 2001

Erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum adhere to host CD36 receptors expressed on endothelial cells, platelets and leucocytes. This process is thought to benefit parasite survival in malaria. In the 12 May Lancet, Arnab Pain and colleagues from the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford, UK report a mutation in the Cd36 gene that is associated with protection from severe malaria.Pain et al sequenced DNA from two Afro-Americans who did not express CD36 on their platelets and identifi

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'Economy class syndrome' still not proved after new study

By | May 11, 2001

As many as 10% of passengers on long-haul flights may have deep vein thrombosis (DVT) of the calf, claim the authors of a paper in 12 May Lancet. But the study design is criticised and the findings called into question by experts writing in the same issue.Scurr et al studied 231 passengers over 50 years of age making long-haul flights of at least eight hours and returning within six weeks and who had no history of DVT. Half wore surgical compression stockings while half travelled normally. Withi

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Death by MAO

By | May 11, 2001

Neuronal apoptosis plays a critical role in the development of the nervous system and in neurodegenerative disease. In the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, De Zutter and Davis report a study of pro-apoptotic, neuronal gene expression and the identification of monoamine oxidase (MAO) as a death-inducing gene. They used the well-studied neuronal pheochromocytoma PC12 model, which undergoes apoptosis when deprived of neurotrophic growth factor (NGF). The authors

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Evolution of mammalian brains

By | May 11, 2001

Despite huge variations in brain size, mammalian groups are characterised by relatively constant brain proportions.

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Carcinogen selection

By | May 10, 2001

A recent hypothesis suggests that the type of genetic instability in cancers is the result of Darwinian selection pressures exerted by specific carcinogens. In the May 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bardelli et al. describe experiments to test whether chromosomal instability (CIN) is induced by bulky-adduct-forming agents, whereas microsatellite instability is selected by methylating agents (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:5770-5775). They used a variant colorectal cell line,

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