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Transcriptional targets

By | January 30, 2001

In the January 25 Nature, Iyer et al. describe an elegant technique to identify transcriptional target genes throughout the genome (Nature 2001, 409:533-538). They combined chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) with microarray analysis (DNA chips) to probe individual protein-genome interactions. The technique involved cross-linking, immunoprecipitation, PCR amplification and fluorescent labeling, followed by hybridization to microarrarys containing genomic DNA. They searched the yeast genome fo

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Depleted uranium: key reports awaited

By | January 29, 2001

Forthcoming WHO and UNEP reports won't answer the question of whether DU weapons have an impact on human health. There's still plenty of research needed, say UN agencies.

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Goldfish calculus

By | January 29, 2001

The concept that neurons can perform calculations and store information temporarily by exciting each other in a reciprocal way has been around for some time, but has been difficult to test experimentally. A team from the New York University School of Medicine presents evidence in the February issue of Nature Neuroscience, that may help to prove this intriguing hypothesis.Aksay and colleagues worked on a group of neurons in the brainstem of goldfish that are involved in controlling eye movements.

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New treatment for diabetics undergoes trial

By | January 29, 2001

A treatment that could mean the end of daily insulin injections for diabetics is about to undergo trials in the UK.

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Sir silencing

By | January 26, 2001

Chromatin silencing depends on passage through the S-phase of the cell cycle and was widely believed to depend on DNA replication. In two papers in the January 26 Science, Kirchmaier and Rine and Li et al. challenge this dogma by reporting that the establishment of transcriptional silencing can occur in the absence of replication (Science 2001, 291:646-650; Science 2001, 291:650-653). Both groups used an ingenious genetic trick, involving site-specific recombination, to generate non-replicating

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Thalidomide to be tested for use against lung cancer

By | January 26, 2001

Research into the efficacy of Thalidomide as a treatment for small cell lung cancer, which is backed by the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC), will be carried out on a total of 30 patients in London and Leeds, UK. Patients will receive one 100 mg tablet of the drug every night for two years alongside traditional chemotherapy.Thalidomide seems to work by stabilising blood flow around tumours, thereby allowing better supply of the chemotherapy agents to the cancerous cells. It then goes on to prevent

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The weakest link

By | January 26, 2001

No single genetic cause links inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

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Ephrin-B3 protein linked to mirror-movement disorder

By | January 25, 2001

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that mice lacking the protein ephrin-B3 showed signs of a rare condition known as mirror-movement disorder.The main symptom of the disease is an involuntary symmetrical movement of the limbs so, for example, when the right hand is moved the left involuntarily moves with it.Previous research has suggested that mirror movement is caused by defects in the corticospinal tract, and ephrins are known to regulate nerve growth wi

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Killer genome

By | January 25, 2001

O157:H7 is the unassuming name of a deadly strain of Escherichia coli that has been killing thousands of people every year, ever since the first outbreak was caused by contaminated hamburgers in 1982. In the January 25 Nature Perna et al. describe the sequencing of the entire genome of this killer bug in search of clues to its pathogenesis (Nature 2001, 409:529-533). Comparison with the genome of non-pathogenic laboratory E. coli strain K-12 revealed 1,387 new genes, which are organized into dis

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Mother nurture

By | January 25, 2001

Genomic imprinting is characterized by epigenetic regulation of mRNA expression from a single parental allele. The two parental alleles of imprinted genes are differentially methylated. The mouse gene Peg3 is imprinted and has been shown to control the maternal nurturing of newborn pups in mice. In the January Genomics, Murphy et al. show that the human homolog of Peg3 is also imprinted (Genomics 2001, 71:110-117). They identified a CpG island (CpG islands are much more frequent around imprinted

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