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BSE Inquiry out in the open

By | October 26, 2000

The results of the UK government's BSE Inquiry were published on Thursday 26 October, implicating civil servants and scientists in the health scandal.

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Selective remodelling

By | October 25, 2000

DNA-binding transcription factors can target the SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex to specific nucleosome sites.

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Smoking selects mutants

By | October 25, 2000

In the October 24 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Rodin and Rodin propose that smoking leads to increased lung cancer not by causing more mutations, but by selecting for those mutations that do arise (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000, 97:12244-12249). They take advantage of an increase in p53 mutational data in nonsmokers and find, for example, that the frequency of silent mutations in p53 is identical between smokers and non-smokers. In contrast, twice as many lung cancers from smoke

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Solving protein folding in your lunch break

By | October 25, 2000

While you take time out to eat your lunch, your computer could be busy helping crack one of the biggest challenges of modern biology.

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and cot death

October 24, 2000

A strong link has been found between the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and cot death. H. pylori is a bacterium of the gut that can cause stomach infections and peptic ulcers. It is common in adults but rare in babies in the UK, yet evidence of its presence has been found in the windpipe of a proportion of babies who have died from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).Researchers from Manchester Royal Infirmary examined tissue samples taken from the stomach, windpipe and lung of 32 infants aged be

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A recent study suggests that features of the coronary vasculature, as detected on angiography, can predict the occurrence and timing of infarcts.

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dsRNA can turn off genes

By | October 23, 2000

RNA interference (RNAi) is an elegant technique in which double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) can direct the degradation of homologous RNA species leading to post-transcriptional gene silencing. In the October 2 EMBO Journal Mette et al. extend dsRNA applications by showing that dsRNA corresponding to sequences from the nopaline synthase promoter (NOSpro) could disrupt transcriptional activation (EMBO Journal 2000, 19:5194-5201). The dsRNA trans-silencing was accompanied by induced methylation of the tar

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EU directive on clinical trials will cost lives

By | October 23, 2000

The volume of research conducted in Europe will be driven down dramatically and thousands of lives will be lost if a directive developed by the EU becomes law next year, warned leading UK research directors last week.

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Linked evolution

By | October 23, 2000

There is more variation in the rate of protein evolution than is expected by chance, although this variation is not caused by slower evolution of essential genes. In the 19 October Nature Williams and Hurst report that one determinant of evolution rates is gene position: the proteins of linked genes evolve at similar rates (Nature 2000, 407:900-903). The major cause of this phenomenon does not seem to be varying concentrations of mutation-sensitive CpG dinucleotides. The real cause may be the cl

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Mutating mice with oligos

By | October 23, 2000

The results reported by Vasquez et al. in the 20 October Science sound like a dream come true: the induction, after a simple injection of oligonucleotides into adult mice, of site-specific mutations (Science 2000, 290:530-533). The oligonucleotides are designed to form triple helices in polypurine regions with segments of mononucleotide repeats. The triple helix is thought to induce repair processes that often slip, producing short insertions or deletions near the site of the triple helix. Thus

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