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'I' is to the right

By | January 22, 2001

After damage or anaesthetisation of the right brain hemisphere, some people can suffer from misidentification of their own extremities (a condition known as asomatopagnosia). Researchers from Harvard Medical School believe they now have the data to explain why this happens.Julian Paul Keenan and colleagues studied patients who were having their brain hemispheres individually anaesthetised to investigate their epilepsy. During anaesthesia, the patients were shown pictures of faces generated by mo

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Genetic screening for FH

By | January 22, 2001

Genetic screening is the best available diagnosis option for relatives of patients with familial hypercholesterolaemia.

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Isolating the cow genome

By | January 22, 2001

Inbreeding is thought to cause reduced genetic variation and diminished viability. In the January 18 Nature, Visscher et al. studied the genome of a viable herd of cows, Chillingham cattle (Bos taurus), that have lived as an isolated inbred herd for over 300 years in the north of England (Nature 2001, 409:303). Visscher et al. analyzed 13 of the Chillingham animals (the breed totals just 49 animals) and scored for 25 polymorphic microsatellite markers. They report that the herd is remarkably ho

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New patent strategy succeeds - for now

By | January 22, 2001

Bristol-Myers Squibb's novel patent strategy could prove effective in protecting its marketing exclusivity for the blockbuster anxiety drug BuSpar.

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Nucleosome remodelling takes its Toll

By | January 22, 2001

Mammalian Toll-like receptors (TLRs) bind to bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS) leading to the induction of several cytokine genes that are essential for the inflammatory response. Activation of the Rel proteins is thought to be critical for TLR-induced transcriptional induction. As described in the January Nature Immunology, Weinmann et al. have used TLR4 mutant mice to show that TLR signaling is required for nucleosome remodeling at the interleukin 12 p40 promoter upon induction with LPS (N

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Tales of PU

By | January 22, 2001

Members of the PU.1/Spi family of Ets-type transcription factors play key roles in mammalian hematopoiesis and lymphoid development. Lymphocytes are found in jawed vertebrates, including cartilaginous fish, but not in jawless vertebrates or invertebrates. In the January 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Anderson et al. identified three PU.1 members in the cartilaginous fish Raja eglanteria (skate)(Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:553-558). Phylogenetic analysis established that

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Animal rights versus commercial freedom

By | January 19, 2001

The fate of a small animal research company has prompted the UK Government to consider new legislation "to deal with animal rights extremists."

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Genetic basis for aggressive tumours discovered

By | January 18, 2001

A checkpoint mutation in mice might provide clues to the progression towards aggressive, treatment-resistant cancers, according to a study published in 18 January Nature. Researchers from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York genetically engineered a mutation in the MAD2 gene that eliminates a checkpoint in mitotic division essential for ensuring the equal distribution of chromosomes to the two daughter cells. The mutation caused the tumour cells to become very genetically unsta

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Loss of imprinting in colorectal cancer

By | January 18, 2001

Loss of imprinting (LOI) has been implicated in the predisposition to certain colorectal cancers. Insulin-like growth factor II (IGF2) is an imprinted gene in which the maternal allele is normally silenced. In the January 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nakagawa et al. describe the development of a fluorescence-based primer extension assay (SnuPE) to examine whether LOI is associated with allele-specific methylation in colorectal cancer samples (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001,

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The link between obesity and diabetes

By | January 18, 2001

Type II diabetes is characterised by tissue resistance to insulin and is widespread in industrialised societies. A link between obesity and type II diabetes has long been suspected but details of the mechanism were unknown. Now, a newly discovered hormone described in 18 January Nature is proposed as the essential link between obesity and type II diabetes.Michell Lazar and colleagues from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that adipocytes secrete a unique signalling protein, whi

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