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Brain wiring

By | March 28, 2001

Critically important sensory surfaces, such as the fingertips, are allocated more cortical brain space. Research into the development of sensory appendages in moles helps explain how cortical magnification arises.

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CDC screen

By | March 28, 2001

Classic screens for genes that regulate the cell division cycle (CDC genes) in yeast have searched for temperature-sensitive mutants with a loss-of-function phenotype. In the March 27 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stevenson et al describe an alternative approach to identifying novel CDC genes (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:3946-3951). They screened for genes whose overexpression affects cell-cycle progression. They used a Saccharomyces cerevisiae expression library under the

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Water bug genome

By | March 28, 2001

Caulobacter crescentus is a Gram-negative bacterium that exhibits cell differentiation, asymmetric division and cordinated cell-cycle progression. In the March 27 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Nierman et al. report the complete genome sequence of C. crescentus (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 98:4136-4141). The sequence was assembled by whole-genome random sequencing. The single C. crescentus chromosome contains about 4 megabases of DNA and encodes 3,767 genes. Cell-cycle pro

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NHS pays damages to hepatitis victims

By | March 27, 2001

The National Health Service faces a substantial compensation bill from patients who contracted hepatitis C from infected blood supplies.

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Primitive co-operation

By | March 27, 2001

Amoebae are capable of primitive social interaction and co-operation.

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Screening for genes that control the wiring of the nervous system

By | March 27, 2001

In 20 March Current Biology, Kai Zinn and colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, describe a genetic screen for identifying genes involved in axon guidance and synapse formation (Curr Biol 2001, 11:417-430).They started with a set of 2293 Drosophila lines, each carrying an 'EP element' inserted at known sites throughout the genome. An EP element is a transposable P element containing a basal promoter and 14 copies of the yeast UAS sequence, which responds to the transcription facto

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Spider's web

By | March 27, 2001

Spiders (Araneae) spin their webs from silk fibers of fibroin proteins that are stored in specialized abdominal glands. It is unclear whether the mechanical characteristics of the silk fibers are due to the spinning mechanisms of the spiders or the sequence of the fibroin proteins. In the March 30 Science, Gatesy et al. report that sequence motifs within Araneae fibroins are high conserved throughout evolution, implying that the sequences themselves are important (Science 2001, 291

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The power of the electronic thesis

By | March 27, 2001

Delegates at a conference last week called for more academic institutions to make theses and dissertations available online.

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Will foot-and-mouth disease vaccines work?

By | March 27, 2001

The UK could be preparing to vaccinate farm animals against foot-and-mouth disease. But will the vaccines be effective against the current strain?

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Heterochromatin interactions

By | March 26, 2001

The human AF10 gene has been associated with chromosomal translocation in acute leukemias. In the March 15 EMBO Reports, Linder et al. describe their study of the Drosophila AF10 homolog, dAF10, in an attempt to understand its function (EMBO Reports 2001, 2:211-216). They isolated the dAF10 gene from a database screen and show that it codes for four transcripts that are differentially expressed during fly embryogenesis. The dAF10 protein contains a PLVVL pentamer motif that mediates interaction

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