News & Opinion

Covering the life sciences inside and out

Most Recent

Mitochondrial mutations

By | January 29, 2002

Mutations in the mitochondrial genome have been associated with several genetic diseases. In an Advanced Online Publication of Nature Genetics, Robert McFarland and colleagues from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne describe an unusual family with a homoplasmic mitochondrial mutation (involving all copies of the mitochondrial genome) (Nat Genet 2002, DOI:10.1038/ng819).McFarland et al. examined a woman who had had ten pregnancies with four different partners, all of which resulted in offsprin

0 Comments

Hammering melanoma

By | January 28, 2002

Survivin is an inhibitor of apoptosis that is involved in tissue development and early reports have suggested that it may have a role in the survival of cancer cells. In January 15 Journal of Clinical Investigation, Marzia Pennati and colleagues from Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, Milan, Italy show that ribozyme-mediated attenuation of survivin expression increased the susceptibility of melanoma cells to cisplatin-induced apoptosis.Pennati et al. developed a strategy for

0 Comments

Lung taps

By | January 28, 2002

The control of water flow across cell membranes is important for normal lung function, but the molecular mechanisms of water permeability at this level are incompletely defined. In January 22 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Landon King and colleagues from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, show that aquaporins (AQP) are proteins that control the vascular permeability in the lung, and have a role in human pulmonary physiology.King et al. intravenously injected 3 liters

0 Comments

Microsatellites in plant genomes

By | January 28, 2002

Microsatellites are simple repetitive DNA sequences scattered throughout eukaryote genomes. In an Advanced Online Publication from Nature Genetics, Michele Morgante and colleagues report their analysis of the density and distribution of microsatellites in several plant genomes (Nat Genet 2002, DOI:10.1038/ng822).They compared the genomes of Arabidopsis thaliana, rice (Oryzasativa) soybean (Glycinemax) maize (Zeamays) and wheat (Triticum aestivum), whose haploid genomes vary 50-fold in size. They

0 Comments

Antisense RNA

By | January 25, 2002

Gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi) has become a powerful tool for functional genomics. In the January 25 Science, Tijsterman et al. report a gene-silencing method induced by short (25 nucleotide) antisense RNA molecules (Science 2002, 295:694-697).They found that injecting single-stranded, antisense RNA (asRNA) oligomers into the gonadal syncytium of Caenorhabditis elegans resulted in silencing of the maternal pos-1 gene and of germline-expressed genes. Tijsterman et al. found that asRNA

0 Comments

Influential sugar coats

By | January 25, 2002

Heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan (HSG) sugars are found on the cell surface and in the extracellular matrix that surrounds cells, and have roles that are still unknown. In January 22 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dongfang Liu and colleagues from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, US, show that the HSG coat present on tumor cells contains bioactive sequences that influence tumor-cell growth and metastasis.Liu et al. injected the enzyme heparinase I or the hepara

0 Comments

PC power to target anthrax

By | January 25, 2002

The latest project to harness the power of idle PCs will seek molecules to block the anthrax toxin.

0 Comments

Life after the deep freeze

By | January 24, 2002

Fertilization and pregnancy is possible following transplantation of cryopreserved reproductive organs.

0 Comments

Smelly T-shirts

By | January 24, 2002

Individuals' ability to distinguish different smells may reside in their distinct genetic make-up. In February Nature Genetics, Suma Jacob and colleagues at the University of Chicago report their studies of the genetic basis for smell preference (Nat Genet 2002, 30:175-179).They studied personal odours associated with the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus, which have been linked to human behaviour. They chose 49 unmarried women from an isolated community with limited MHC haplotypes, t

0 Comments

Wrestling with the anthrax toxin

By | January 24, 2002

The crystal structure of the oedema factor component of the anthrax toxin shows how it locks onto and disables a host signaling molecule.

0 Comments

Popular Now

  1. GM Mosquitoes Closer to Release in U.S.
  2. Effects of Neanderthal DNA on Modern Humans
  3. Flux and Uncertainty in the CRISPR Patent Landscape
  4. Do Pathogens Gain Virulence as Hosts Become More Resistant?
RayBiotech