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Cape flora

By | July 13, 2001

The Cape province of South Africa is considered a continental ' hotspot' with a rich diversity of species of flora. In the July 12 Nature, Richardson et al., from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Richmond, UK, report the results of a molecular phylogenetic analysis that dates the era of speciation to about 7-8 million years ago (Nature 2001, 412:181-182). They sequenced nuclear ribosomal and plastid DNA from island species of the buckthorn Phylica, as well as continental species from the Cape, and

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Could the Black Death protect against HIV?

By | July 13, 2001

People who survived the Black Death could have passed on a mutation that prevents the human immunodeficiency virus entering cells.

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The molecular basis of allergenicity

By | July 13, 2001

Comparative analysis of the three dimensional structures of diverse allergens reveals a common structural motif that could potentially serve as a ligand binding site.

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Adhesins are vital for extrapulmonary dissemination of tuberculosis

By | July 12, 2001

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of tuberculosis, a disease which is the world's leading cause of death due to a single infectious agent, and which is responsible for upto 3 million deaths annually. Despite the availability of the entire M. tuberculosis genome, virulence factors involved in the extrapulmonary dissemination of the disease have remained elusive.In 12 July Nature Kevin Pethe and colleagues at the Institute Pastuer de Lille, France and the Laboratory of Mycobacteria

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mutation

By | July 12, 2001

gene causes susceptibility to mycobacteria without affecting viral immunity.

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Mammalian development seems to relatively tolerant to epigenetic aberrations of the genome, suggesting that cloning could result in viable offspring, despite widespread gene dysregulation.

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Circulating DNA fragments involved in vasculitis

By | July 11, 2001

DNA fragments containing the CpG motif in the sera of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus may be implicated in vasculitis.

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Manipulation of integrin gene activates adult nerve cell regeneration

By | July 11, 2001

Manipulating the integrin gene can enable adult neurons to switch on the molecular mechanisms necessary to allow regeneration.

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Pin-ning down breast cancer

By | July 11, 2001

Pin1, a member of a new family of phosphorylation-specific peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (PPIases), regulates mitosis and neuronal cell death in Alzheimer's disease. In the July 2 EMBO Journal, Wulf et al. propose a mechanism by which Pin1 may contribute to cell proliferation in breast cancer cells (EMBO Journal 2001, 20:3459-3472). They found that Pin1 was overexpressed in breast cancer tissue and correlated with the tumour grade and with the level of cyclin D1 expression. Wulf et al. show that Pi

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Death by endonuclease

By | July 10, 2001

The apoptotic suicide programme involves fragmentation of nucleosomal DNA. In the July 5 Nature, two groups report identification of a mitochondrial nuclease that induces DNA degradation associated with apoptosis in both worms and mammals. Parrish et al. performed a genetic screen in Caenorhabditis elegans to search for suppressors of an activated cell-death protease (CED-3) mutant (Nature 2001, 412:90-94). After screening 3,000 mutagenized haploid genomes, they identified an apoptosis-related g

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