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Knockout rats have arrived

By | August 11, 2010

Scientists have created a knockout rat that finally opens the model organism to the kinds of experiments that have only been possible in mice and some non-mammalian species, they report online today (August 11) in Nature. Image: Wikimedia commons, Janet Stephens "We're finally going to enable genetic manipulation in the most widely studied and well characterized animal model of human disease," said molecular geneticist linkurl:Aron Geurts;http://www.mcw.edu/HMGC/Laboratories/AG.htm of the Medic

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Publish or post?

By | August 9, 2010

A new European-funded initiative is advocating an entirely new system of science publishing, in which scientists avoid the hassles of traditional peer review by taking a quietly radical step: post their results on their websites. Image: Wikimedia commons, GfloresAs the linkurl:news release;http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm?section=news&tpl=article&BrowsingType=Features&ID=91404 for LiquidPublication simply states: "Don't print it; post it." To disseminate the information, the progra

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Q&A: Why the reactome is real

By | August 9, 2010

Over the last several months, biochemists have linkurl:questioned the validity;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/56266/ of a new technique heralded as a "breakthrough" technology when it was linkurl:published in Science;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;326/5950/252 in October 2009 -- a reactome array of nearly 2,500 metabolites and other substrate compounds tethered to a glass slide that would allow scientists to assess the functionality of hundreds of active proteins s

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Bats at risk of extinction

By | August 5, 2010

Bat populations across eastern North America are at risk of extinction -- possibly within just 16 years -- as a result of the spreading incidence of white-nose syndrome, according to a study published this week in Science. Little brown bat with WNSImage: Alan Hicks"I think people who study and care about bats had a sense that something this dire was happening," said evolutionary physiologist linkurl:Craig Willis;http://ion.uwinnipeg.ca/%7Ecwillis/ of the University of Winnipeg, who did not part

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Debate: When to release genetic data?

By | August 3, 2010

Image: George Gastin via WikimediaAs genomic science evolves in an age of increasingly rapid and cheap gene sequencing, more large-scale genetic studies are enlisting thousands of human subjects, who are lending their tissue samples for researchers to probe for the signals of cancer, Alzheimer's or other complex conditions. But as science constructs a clearer picture of how genes affect human health, and study participants become more curious about what their genomes can tell them, an important

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Top 7 hidden jewels

By | August 3, 2010

#1 Malfunctioning microtubules Disruption to cellular microtubules during development had the surprising result of increasing the mechanical stiffness of frog embryos, leading to morphological defects and suggesting microtubules play an even more crucial role in cell movement and shape. J. Zhou, et al., "Macroscopic stiffening of embryonic tissues via microtubules, RhoGEF and the assembly of contractile bundles of actomyosin," Development, 137(16):2785-94, 2010. linkurl:Eval by;http://f1000bio

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Embryonic stem cell trial back on

By | July 30, 2010

Nearly a year after the US Food and Drug Administration placed a hold on the first clinical trial of human embryonic stem cells, the company linkurl:Geron;http://www.geron.com/ has been cleared to continue its study of spinal cord injury, linkurl:it announced today;http://www.geron.com/media/pressview.aspx?id=1229 (July 30). Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenisty"We are pleased with the FDA's decision to allow our planned clinical trial of GRNOPC1 in spinal cord

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Haute culture

By | July 30, 2010

As a young student in 1989, fashionista Suzanne Lee hated science. After years of suffering through labs and tests in high school, the 19 year old Brit fled for art school, soon snuggling into a world of silk, seams, and buckles. But in 2003, while researching a book on future technologies of fashion, Lee bumped into a scientist at an art gallery in London. The chance meeting led to a discussion on the fashion industry's lack of sustainability, and how science, once Lee's arch-nemesis, might be

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'Identical' cells? Not so much

By | July 29, 2010

Genetically identical cells may be far more different than previously believed. Published this week in linkurl:Science,;http://www.sciencemag.org/ researchers find striking variation in levels of gene expression among individual, genetically identical E. coli, seemingly the result of simple chance. "The paper is quite rich," said linkurl:Sanjay Tyagi,;http://www.phri.org/research/res_pityagi.asp a molecular biologist at New Jersey Medical School who was not involved in the research. "People thi

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Ocean life support dwindling

By | July 28, 2010

Phytoplankton, which are responsible for half of the world's primary production and are the basis of all marine ecosystems, have been declining for more than 100 years, perhaps the result of rising sea temperatures, according to a study published in this week's Nature -- a cause for concern about the health of the Earth's oceans. A number of marine diatom cells, animportant group of phytoplankton in the oceans.Image: Harry Taylor,courtesy of Nikon Small world"It is troubling," said marine scien

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