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Coiled interactions

By | November 23, 2000

Two-hybrid assays are great for detecting protein-protein interactions, but they scale as the square of the number of candidate interactions. Screening every possible interaction in yeast would require examining approximately 3.6 x 107 pairs, which is why previous large-scale screens by Uetz et al. and Ito et al. have pooled libraries of constructs. In the November 21 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Newman et al. find that such approaches can miss a great number of valid interac

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Curing diabetes

By | November 23, 2000

The demand for insulin fluctuates with blood glucose levels, presenting a special challenge for would-be gene therapists. In the 23 November Nature, Lee et al. present their solution, which causes remission of autoimmune diabetes in mice for at least 8 months (Nature 2000, 408:483-488). A truncated insulin gene removes the need for proteolytic processing, a hepatocyte-specific, glucose-responsive promoter supplies the correct dosage, and an adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivers the necessary DNA

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FLiP-ing insulators

By | November 23, 2000

Insulators define independent genomic regions that are protected from the influence of distant regulatory sequences. In the 1 November EMBO Journal, Parnell and Geyer describe a novel application of the FLP recombinase to investigate the properties of two Drosophila insulators, called gypsy and scs (EMBO J 2000, 19:5864-5874). Neither insulator affected FLP recombination and protein-protein interactions at adjacent recombination sites, suggesting that gypsy and scs do not act by general inhibiti

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Non-invasive identification of foetal Down's syndrome

By | November 23, 2000

A preliminary study shows pre-natal detection of Down's syndrome from maternal blood.

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Online prescription drugs

November 23, 2000

A new website from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that many online pharmacies provide legitimate prescription services but that some questionable sites may make purchasing medicines online risky.On its website dedicated to this topic, the FDA highlights some of the problems associated with purchasing prescriptions online. These include sub-standard products; little or no quality control; possibility of an incorrect diagnosis by sites that inappropriately diagnose and prescribe o

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Sleep is vital to effective learning

By | November 23, 2000

Scientists from Harvard Medical School have produced further evidence linking sleep to learning and memory. Stickgold et al (Nature Neurosci 2000 3:1237-1238) suggest that a good night's sleep within 30 hours of trying to remember a new task is directly linked to effective long-term recall.The research, published in December Nature Neuroscience, assessed 24 volunteers using a visual discrimination task in which they were asked to identify the orientation of diagonal lines on a computer screen. H

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Zebrafish genome to be sequenced

By | November 23, 2000

The genome of the zebrafish is to be sequenced at the Wellcome Trust's Sanger Centre near Cambridge, UK.

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Zebrafish on drugs

By | November 23, 2000

In the November 21 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Peterson et al. describe a screen for chemicals that can be used to interfere with, and time, developmental events in zebrafish (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000, 97:12965-12969). Zebrafish eggs were arrayed three to a well in 96-well plates, along with one of 1,100 synthetic small molecules. The developing embryos were screened once a day for three days for defects in the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, pigmentat

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110m into post-genomic research

By | November 22, 2000

500,000 people will help research councils to solve post-genomic puzzles.

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Children's parents sue hospital over genetics patent

By | November 22, 2000

Families of children suffering a degenerative brain disease are suing the hospital and researchers who used their children's blood and tissue to identify and patent the gene responsible for the disorder.

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