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CpG islands

By | March 19, 2002

'CpG islands' are often associated with promoter regions. A CpG island has traditionally been defined as a 200 bp region of DNA with a G+C content over 50% and an observed/expected CpG ratio of 0.6 or more. In the March 19 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Daiya Takai and Peter Jones of the University of Southern California describe a re-evaluation of CpG islands using the finished sequences of human chromosomes 21 and 22 (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:3740-3745).They developed

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Fusion and confusion

By | March 19, 2002

Adult stem cells may fuse rather than differentiate into other cell types.

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New model of autoimmune arthritis

By | March 18, 2002

Antibodies to a ubiquitous cytoplasmic enzyme can provoke joint-specific autoimmune disease.

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Where is the proteome?

By | March 18, 2002

Where a protein is found in a cell can reveal a lot about its function. In the March 15 Genes and Development, Kumar and colleagues report the subcellular localization of 2,744 proteins in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.Kumar et al. tagged the proteins with an easy-to-detect epitope, mostly using direct cloning but for some using random transposon mutagenesis, and examined the subcellular localization of the tagged proteins using immunofluorescence. Together with previously publishe

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Embryonic vs somatic mutation

By | March 15, 2002

Discussion of the potential of using pluripotent stem cells for tissue transplantation has raised issues about the frequency and types of spontaneous mutation in these cells. In the March 19 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Rachel Cervantes and colleagues from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, report a study of spontaneous and induced mutagenic events in murine embryonic stem (ES) cells (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:3586-3590).Cervantes et al. used a murine model with a disr

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Idle sensations

By | March 15, 2002

The development of rhythmic forms of movement such as crawling and breathing is dependant on groups of pattern generating neurons in the central nervous system, but the sensory inputs involved remain unclear. In March 14 Nature, Maximiliano Suster and Michael Bate from University of Cambridge, UK, show that sensory transmission is not required for the development of a central circuit that is adequate for producing rhythmic movements.Suster and Bate engineered Drosophila embryos and larvae that h

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Missing methyl chloride found

By | March 15, 2002

Measuring halides emitted from tropical ferns could explain the observed shortfall in these ozone-depleting compounds.

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ATM splicing defect

By | March 14, 2002

Individuals with mutations in the ATM gene develop ataxia-telangiectasia, a neurodegenrative disorder characterized by immunological defects and cancer predisposition. In an Advanced Online Publication from Nature Genetics, Franco Pagani and colleagues describe a new kind of ATM mutation that leads to an unusual splicing defect (Nat Genet 2002, DOI:10.1038/ng858).The mutant ATM allele contains a four-nucleotide deletion (GTAA) within intron 20. This deletion results in the inclusion of a 65 nucl

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Blood test for lung cancer

By | March 14, 2002

Pleiotrophin may be an effective marker for small cell lung cancer, and for measuring the response to therapy.

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Twin survival

By | March 14, 2002

It is generally thought that losses of twin embryos in very early pregnancy are high, with figures that suggest that for every liveborn twin pair a further 10-12 twin pregnancies end up as a singleton birth. But, in March 14 Nature, Stephen Tong and colleagues from Monash University, Victoria, Australia, show that the presence of one embryo does not affect at all the intra uterine development of its twin.Tong et al. used ultrasound to identify and follow-up 48 pregnant women who had double-ovula

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