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Genetics of social behaviour

By | November 16, 2001

Social behaviour can be pretty complex at the best of times, and defining the underlying genetic events has provided a formidable challenge. In the November 15 Sciencexpress, Michael Krieger and Kenneth Ross, from the University of Georgia, describe the first clear example of a single gene affecting complex social behaviour (ScienceXpress 10.1126/science.1065247).Colony queen number in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta is associated with variations in the Gp-9 gene, such that worker ants with the

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The fluid structure of Golgi

By | November 16, 2001

The intracellular Golgi apparatus was believed to be a fixed structure that processed proteins for secretion in an assembly-line fashion. But two papers in November 12 Journal of Cell Biology, show that the entire Golgi apparatus is a dynamic structure and suggest that most, if not all, Golgi protein elements cycle through endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in interphase cells.Suzanne Miles and colleagues at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, US, compared the effect of protein inhibition and ER exit blocking on

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Human endogenous retroviruses

By | November 15, 2001

Our genomes are scattered with large numbers of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), presumed left-overs from early retroviral infections. In the Advanced Online Publication of Nature Genetics, Jennifer Hughes and John Coffin, from the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, describe 23 new members of the HERV-K (HML-2) group of sequences and examine their rearrangement during evolution (Nature Gen 2001, DOI: 10.1038/ng775).They analysed the 5' and 3' LTR sequences of 35 provirus HERV-K

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Mus81 is a eukaryotic resolvase

By | November 15, 2001

Mus81, a fission yeast protein related to a repair endonuclease, enables chromosomes to cross over during meiosis.

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National Collaboration on Ageing launched

By | November 15, 2001

A conference in Birmingham, UK sets out a model of how disparate agencies can be brought together to focus their efforts more efficiently.

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Endogenous cannabinoids could treat multiple sclerosis

By | November 14, 2001

Cannabinoid research could circumvent the economic debate over the use of beta interferon in the treatment of MS.

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Genomic workout in Parkinson disease

By | November 14, 2001

Idiopathic Parkinson disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative condition in which the involvement of genes and the environment is still controversial. Two papers in November 14 JAMA from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, US suggest that the parkin gene is important in early-onset PD and that multiple genetic factors are important in the development of late-onset PD. Scott et al. performed a complete genomic screening in 174 families (870 individuals) with multiple individuals diagnosed as having

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Retinal neurons transplanted form the iris

By | November 14, 2001

Iris tissue in the adult rat eye can generate photoreceptor specific cells, which may be used for retinal transplants.

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Translation defects

By | November 14, 2001

Mutations in two different subunits of the translation initiation factor eIF2B are found in patients with a severe neurological disorder.

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Ancient introns

By | November 13, 2001

The origins of introns and their evolutionary role remain unclear. In the November 6 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Alexei Fedorov and colleagues describe the use of a computer program, called INTRONMAP to present evidence for the existence of ancient introns (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:13177-13182).They used the program to map intron positions onto homologous genes encoding proteins for which the three-dimensional structure is known. They applied the program to 665 nonredu

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