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Butterbur treats hay fever

By | January 21, 2002

A plant extract for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis circumvents the sedative side effects of antihistamines.

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chromosome staining

By | January 21, 2002

The chromosomal bands observed upon Giemsa staining are thought to correspond generally to regions that are GC-poor (Giemsa-dark, G bands) and GC-rich (Giemsa-light, R bands). But, the exact relationship between sequence base composition and cytogentic banding is remains unclear. In the January 22 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Niimura and Gojobori describe a computational method to explore the association between the Giemsa banding pattern and local GC content (Proc Natl Acad

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Tracking genes and disease

By | January 21, 2002

Plans to establish a UK gene bank reopen the debates on data transparency and patient confidentiality.

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'Flesh-eater' genome

By | January 18, 2002

Clostridium perfringens is the most widely distributed pathogen, and is a cause of gas gangrene, necrotic enteritis and diarrhoea. In the January 22 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tohru Shumizu and colleagues report the genome sequence of C. perfringens strain 13, the first Gram-positive anaerobic pathogen to be completely sequenced (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:996-1001).The genome is just over 3 Mb long, with a low G+C content (28.6%). They found 2660 predicted proteins, h

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Chloride's hourglass

By | January 18, 2002

The crystal structure of a chloride channel reveals an hourglass shape and provides clues as to their mechanism of action.

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Computer turns detective in the hunt for novel pathogens

By | January 18, 2002

A computational technique that finds foreign gene sequences in human tissues could identify pathogens that cause chronic diseases.

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Crenarchaeon sequence

By | January 17, 2002

Pyrobaculum aerophilum is a hyperthermophilic crenachaeon that cannot tolerate the presence of elemental sulfur. In the January 22 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Sorel Fitz-Gibbon report the complete genome sequence of the P. aerophilum IM2 strain that was isolated from a boiling marine water hole in Maronti Beach, Italy (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:984-989).The genome is 2.2 Mb long, has a 51% G+C content, and contains 2,587 predicted proteins. Fitz-Gibbon et al.

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Lettuce leaves a nasty taste

By | January 17, 2002

can enter lettuce through the roots and migrate to the leaves, resisting traditional sanitizing methods.

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Treating infections with infections

By | January 17, 2002

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) is a frequent cause of bacteremia in immunocompromised patients and there exists only two antibiotics that are effective for treating VRE infection. In January Infection and Immunity, Biswajit Biswas and colleagues from National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, USA, show that bacteriophage therapy can be an efficient way of treating vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium infection in mice.Biswas et al. used a VRE strain to induce a fatal bacterem

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Analysing Xist

By | January 16, 2002

Inactivation of the X chromosome requires the Xist gene, whose product, a noncoding RNA, associates with chromatin on the inactive X chromosome and causes transcriptional silencing. In an Advanced Online Publication from Nature Genetics, Anton Wutz and colleagues at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research report their analysis of functional domains within the mouse Xist RNA (Nat Genet 2002, DOI:10.1038/ng820).They used mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells expressing different Xist transgenes

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