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Defining relevance

By | October 18, 2000

In the October 24 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Butte et al. propose that relevance networks could provide a better way of analyzing genomic information than phylogenetic trees (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000, 97, published online ahead of print). Phylogenetic trees derived from array experiments can only link a gene to one other gene, typically the one that is most strongly correlated in its expression pattern. In contrast, the method presented by Butte et al. can group any numbe

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Mapping recombination

By | October 18, 2000

In the October 10 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Gerton et al. use arrays to map hotspots and coldspots of meiotic recombination across the whole yeast genome (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000, 97:11383-11390). They isolate DNA from sporulating cells that are mutant in rad50S, and therefore blocked with the recombination protein Spo11p covalently bound to DNA. The DNA fragments that are covalently linked to proteins (with Spo11p presumably predominant) are trapped using a glass filte

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Could selfish DNA create new proteins?

By | October 17, 2000

Selfish DNA may help to expand protein sequences, based on the discovery of DNA repeats inserted, in-frame, into 19 genes of an intracellular bacterium.

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Many ways to be minimal

By | October 17, 2000

The genome of Mycoplasma genitalium is so far the smallest discovered for any free-living organism, so it has been used as a starting point for defining a minimal genome. Transposon mutagenesis and comparison with a second mycoplasma have further narrowed down the list of genes. Now Glass et al. announce the sequencing of a third mycoplasma, the mucosal pathogen Ureaplasma urealyticum, in the 12 October Nature (Nature 2000, 407:757-762). Their results suggest that there is more than one version

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A leading cancer trial specialist warns that over-complexity of trials could be delaying the process by which successful drugs reach patients. Professor Richard Gray, Director of the Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Birmingham, voiced his concerns at the European Society for Medical Oncology conference. He called for a move towards simpler and more direct planning and organisation of trials.Currently, trials involve a great demand on patients to undergo extra investigations and attend f

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In a study published in the October issue of the Journal of Medical Genetics, the same genetic defect that occurs in familial primary pulmonary hypertension has been found in sporadic cases of the disease, where there is no family history.Recent research has implied that in familial instances defects in the BMPR-II gene affect cell-signalling processes that may be vital for growth and turnover. Professor Richard Trembath and his team at the University of Leicester studied 50 patients with primar

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Preliminary trials have identified a protein that could be useful in pinpointing some women who are at greater risk of dying from breast cancer

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Gene expression profiles of mouse brains

By | October 13, 2000

Inbred mouse strains have been shown to vary considerably in neurobehavioral testing. In the September 26 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Sandberg et al. describe the first use of DNA microarrays to determine the genetics events that might explain these phenotypic differences (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000, 97:11038-11043). They compared two common inbred mouse strains (C57BL/6 and 129SvEv) by examining the expression profiles of over 10,000 genes in six different brain regions. Th

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Gene therapy with histones

By | October 13, 2000

In the October 10 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Balicki et al. report that histone H2A can be used to increase the efficacy of gene therapy (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000, 97:11500-11504). Histone H2A has been used in the past to coat DNA prior to transfection. It appears to work both because of its positive charge and some other property, which is presumed to be its nuclear-localizing activity. Balicki et al. use H2A for in vitro delivery of the gene for interleukin-2 (IL-2) to

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A ten-year study of a Japanese rural community (published in the October issue of Stroke) has found an inverse relationship between serum vitamin C concentrations and subsequent stroke incidence.The Shibata study, conducted by a multicenter team of Japanese researchers, followed a cohort of 880 men and 1,241 women who were free of stroke in 1977. Subjects were stratified into four groups according to serum vitamin C levels, and interviewed yearly to determine incidence of stroke. Strong inverse

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