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Complementary medicine under scrutiny

By | May 31, 2001

The establishment of a new research centre for complementary medicine at Harvard Medical School signals a growing interest in subjecting complementary therapies to scientific scrutiny.

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Error-prone polymerases make efficient immunity

By | May 31, 2001

the process behind increasing antibody affinities after multiple exposures to the same antigen.

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How retinoids kill leukaemic cells

By | May 31, 2001

Retinoid hormones can induce post-maturation apoptosis through the Apo-2L/TRAIL death ligand.

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Influencing influenza

By | May 31, 2001

Serial passaging in mouse lungs selects for virulent variants of influenza A virus that result from several mutations.

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DNase II and erythropoiesis

By | May 29, 2001

Deoxyribonuclease II (DNase II) is a lysosomal DNase that has been implicated in the degradation of DNA in apoptotic cells. In the May 25 Science, Kawane et al. report the analysis of mice lacking a functional DNase II protein (Science 2001, 292:1546-1549). No DNase II-null mice survived until birth. Mutant embryos developed anemia at embryonic days 12.4-14.5 and had dramatically reduced numbers of mature erythrocytes. Transplantation of DNase II-null fetal liver cells into irradiated mice gener

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Meticillin-resistance spread by horizontal gene transfer

By | May 29, 2001

Staphylococcus aureus.

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Biomarkers are better monitors for environmental pollution

By | May 25, 2001

Blood and urine biomarkers of renal dysfunction and DNA damage can be used to detect environmental exposure to pollutants and measure their biological effect before overt disease develops.

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Mammalian RNAi

By | May 25, 2001

The RNA interference (RNAi) technique has been used to disrupt gene function in a range of model organisms, but its use in mammalian cells has been problematic. RNAi involves the ribonuclease-III-catalysed digestion of specific double-stranded RNA into 21-22 nucleotide small interfering RNA (siRNA) species. In the May 24 Nature, Elbashir et al. report the application of RNAi in cultured mammalian cells (Nature 2001, 411:494-498). They designed 21-nucleotide siRNA duplexes, with symmetric two-nuc

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Marker for MS progression

By | May 25, 2001

Endothelial cell dysfunction may contribute to the progress of multiple sclerosis (MS) but directly measuring the extent of damage to this layer of cells has been difficult. In May Neurology, Alireza Minagar and colleagues from the University of Miami report that the level of endothelial cells release microparticles (EMP) expressing CD31 in the blood is a potential marker for endothelial damage and progression of MS.Minagar et al developed a flow cytometric assay and measured levels of two class

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Breast cancer mouse

By | May 24, 2001

In mice, null mutations of the breast cancer susceptibility gene Brca1 result in embryonic lethality. In the May 15 Genes & Development, Ludwig et al. describe the generation of a mutant mouse that expresses a truncated Brca1 protein that mimics mutations found in human breast cancer patients (Genes & Development 2001, 15:1188-1193). They used a two-step 'knock-in' targeting strategy to insert a stop codon in Brca1 exon 11. The genetic background of the mice determined the extent of embr

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