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SNP genotyping with arrays

By | October 19, 2000

Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are sequence variants in which two alternate bases occur at one position. The SNP Consortium is developing a dense map of SNPs in the hope that certain variants can be associated with disease states. With hundreds of thousands of SNPs identified, the scoring of these SNPs in patient populations has become the limiting factor. Hirschhorn et al. provide a possible solution in the October 24 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by making the existin

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Very old bugs

By | October 19, 2000

In the 19 October Nature Vreeland et al. report that the longevity record for bacteria has been smashed (Nature 2000, 407:897-900). The previous record holder was a Bacillus identified from the abdominal contents of a bee preserved in amber some 25 to 40 million years ago. The newly identified bacterium is also a Bacillus, but comes from a brine inclusion within a 250 million-year-old salt crystal. The crystal was found 569m below the surface, in the wall of an air-intake shaft of a waste isolat

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Daughters keep to themselves

By | October 18, 2000

In the 13 October Science Takizawa et al. use array analysis to identify a transmembrane protein that, combined with a septin barrier, may keep proteins in the daughter cells of budding yeast (Science 2000, 290:341-344). The messenger RNA for transcription factor Ash1p is already known to be transported to the bud tip of the daughter yeast cell by an actomyosin system; once the protein is translated in the daughter cell it represses mating-type switching. Takizawa et al. look for other transport

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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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