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Simplifying genetic disorders

By | October 3, 2000

Recent work implicating a single gene in a population with a complex disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, could represent a shift in the study of genetic diseases.

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A protein kinase switch

By | October 2, 2000

Kinase inhibitors are plagued by a lack of specificity. Now in the 21 September Nature Bishop et al. tackle the problem by building on their earlier work, in which they modified the ATP-binding sites of Src-family tyrosine kinases to accept either nucleotide analogs or modified kinase inhibitors. In the new work the researchers mutate kinases from four distinct kinase families by replacing a bulky residue with a small residue. This change provides enough room for the binding of inhibitor analogs

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Hedgehogs make both fish and fly eyes

By | October 2, 2000

The fly eye is patterned by a morphogenetic wave driven by the Hedgehog signaling protein. In the 22 September Science Neumann and Nuesslein-Volhard report that neuronal differentiation in zebrafish eyes is dependent on a similar wave of hedgehog proteins (Science 2000, 289:2137-2139). Previous work on Pax6 already indicated that the mechanism of eye induction is conserved across the animal kingdom. But variations in eye structure suggested that events downstream of eye induction must have evolv

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Blood filtration improves safety of blood transfusions

By | September 28, 2000

White blood cells can cause costly complications following transfusions; the US and Germany are joining the list of countries requiring filtration of donor blood to remove them.

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Two ACEs in the pack

September 28, 2000

A genomics-based approach has uncovered the first human homologue of ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme).

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Chromodomains bind RNA

By | September 27, 2000

Male flies compensate for having a single X chromosome by doubling the single X chromosome's level of expression. This increase is mediated by MOF, a histone H4 acetyltransferase. MOF, along with other proteins and an RNA called roX2, binds to the male X chromosome. In the 21 September Nature Akhtar et al. find that MOF and another dosage compensation protein called MSL-3 use their chromodomains to bind to roX2 and thus to the male X (Nature 2000, 407:405-409). Other chromodomain proteins, which

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Dietary fat restriction in infancy could prevent the development of coronary heart disease in adulthood.

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A gene has been discovered that could make people with defective copies three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

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Silencing splicing

By | September 27, 2000

Many sequences found within mammalian introns closely resemble the specific 5' and 3' splice site consensus signals that regulate exon splicing. It is unclear how the real splice sites are selected from these frequent pseudosites. In the September Molecular and Cellular Biology, Fairbrother and Chasin identified intronic splicing silencers using a genetic screen (Mol Cell Biol 2000, 20:6816-6825). They selected human genomic sequences that could disrupt splicing when inserted into the central ex

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Israeli biotech - a child with great promise

By | September 26, 2000

The Israeli biotech industry is still in its infancy but heavy investment, an aggressive technology sector and a supportive academic community should ensure some big growth spurts.

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