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Patient information

By | October 15, 2001

Databases containing an individual's genetic data must be subject to clear, transparent and enforceable guidelines.

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Chromatin at centromeres

By | October 12, 2001

Chromatin fibers adopt higher-order structures that define chromosomal regions with distinct functional properties. In the October 9 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nick Gilbert and James Allan, from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, UK, describe the use of analytical sucrose gradient sedimentation to examine chromatin fibres released from centromeric heterochromatin (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:11949-11954).They studied soluble chromatin released from murine NIH3T3 f

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Corticotropin-releasing factor affinity switch

By | October 12, 2001

Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is an early signal of the stress response and is also an important neuromodulator of memory consolidation, anxiety, locomotor activity and food intake. In September 25 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Klaus Eckart and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Goettingen, show that it is possible to selectively change the binding properties of the CRF hormone by replacing a single amino acid in the CRF structure (Proc N

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Expert claims link between CJD and BSE 'unlikely'

By | October 12, 2001

A causal link between bovine spongiform encephalopathy and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is unlikely.

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Size matters

By | October 12, 2001

Loss of telomere function can induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis but the processes that trigger cellular responses to telomere dysfunction remain largely unknown. In October Cell, Michael Hemann and colleagues from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine show that the shortest telomere, not average telomere length, is critical for cell viability and chromosome stability (Cell 2001, 107:67-77).Hemann et al. crossbred telomerase-deficient mice having short telomeres with mice heterozygous

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700,000 ORESTES

By | October 11, 2001

Now that we have the whole human genome sequence, the challenge remains to identify all the genes and transcripts hidden within it. In the October 9 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Anamaria Camargo and colleagues, from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Sao Paolo, Brazil, report the results from a Brazilian project aimed at defining the human transcriptome (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:12103-12108).The approach being used exploits open reading frame expressed sequenc

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Human Genetics Commission

By | October 11, 2001

The first report from the Human Genetics Commission stresses the importance of openness and public consultation in future policy decisions.

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Unisex contraceptives

By | October 11, 2001

Calcium has long been known to be important in sperm function, but a full understanding of the molecular mechanisms of its action has remained elusive. In October 11 Nature, Dejian Ren and colleagues from Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Harvard Medical School describe a new cation channel, CatSper, which is vital to cAMP-mediated Ca2+ influx in sperm, sperm motility and fertilization.Ren et al. analyzed DNA for sequences that might code for known voltage-gated calcium channels and found a ge

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Apolipoprotein locus

By | October 10, 2001

Comparison of mouse and human genomic sequences reveals an unidentified apolipoprotein-like gene.

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Maternal tolerance

By | October 10, 2001

Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) participates in the implantation of embryos and early pregnancy tolerance via pathways that remain poorly understood. In October Nature Immunology, Makrigiannakis and colleagues from University of Crete School of Medicine, Greece, show that locally produced embryonic and endometrial CRH promotes implantation and maintenance of early pregnancy primarily by killing activated T cells.Makrigiannakis et al. studied isolated primary human extravillous trophoblast

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