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Primitive co-operation

By | March 27, 2001

Amoebae are capable of primitive social interaction and co-operation.

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Screening for genes that control the wiring of the nervous system

By | March 27, 2001

In 20 March Current Biology, Kai Zinn and colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, describe a genetic screen for identifying genes involved in axon guidance and synapse formation (Curr Biol 2001, 11:417-430).They started with a set of 2293 Drosophila lines, each carrying an 'EP element' inserted at known sites throughout the genome. An EP element is a transposable P element containing a basal promoter and 14 copies of the yeast UAS sequence, which responds to the transcription facto

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Spider's web

By | March 27, 2001

Spiders (Araneae) spin their webs from silk fibers of fibroin proteins that are stored in specialized abdominal glands. It is unclear whether the mechanical characteristics of the silk fibers are due to the spinning mechanisms of the spiders or the sequence of the fibroin proteins. In the March 30 Science, Gatesy et al. report that sequence motifs within Araneae fibroins are high conserved throughout evolution, implying that the sequences themselves are important (Science 2001, 291

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The power of the electronic thesis

By | March 27, 2001

Delegates at a conference last week called for more academic institutions to make theses and dissertations available online.

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Will foot-and-mouth disease vaccines work?

By | March 27, 2001

The UK could be preparing to vaccinate farm animals against foot-and-mouth disease. But will the vaccines be effective against the current strain?

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Heterochromatin interactions

By | March 26, 2001

The human AF10 gene has been associated with chromosomal translocation in acute leukemias. In the March 15 EMBO Reports, Linder et al. describe their study of the Drosophila AF10 homolog, dAF10, in an attempt to understand its function (EMBO Reports 2001, 2:211-216). They isolated the dAF10 gene from a database screen and show that it codes for four transcripts that are differentially expressed during fly embryogenesis. The dAF10 protein contains a PLVVL pentamer motif that mediates interaction

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Pain relief

By | March 26, 2001

The enzyme Cox-2 mediates inflammatory pain at sites of injury. Two studies now show that local inflammation can also cause pain in neighbouring areas by upregulating Cox-2 expression in the central nervous system.

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Chromosome instability in colon cancer

By | March 23, 2001

gene and with defects in chromosome segregation. Two studies now show that microtubules need APC for proper attachment when they pull chromosomes apart.

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Skin ageing and the smoker

By | March 23, 2001

Smokers look older than non-smokers of the same age, probably because they have higher levels of MMP-1 (matrix metalloproteinase 1) in their skin, according to a study in 24 March Lancet. MMP-1 is a zinc-dependent metalloproteinase that degrades collagen, which is important in maintaining the mechanical/elastic properties of connective tissue in the skin.Lahmann et al from Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, London, used PCR to measure mRNA in the buttock skin of 14 smokers and 19 n

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An emerging pattern

By | March 22, 2001

Three studies shed new light on how members of the bone morphogenetic protein family are regulated during embryonic development.

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Mettler Toledo
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