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Gene networks underlie disease?

By | September 8, 2010

An international group of researchers have developed a novel method for identifying entire networks of genes and their association to disease, providing a more accurate picture of the genetic risks associated with specific diseases than single genes can provide.Photo: linkurl:Joanna Servaes;http://joanna-servaes.magix.net via Wikimedia Commons In the proof-of-concept paper published today (8th September) in __Nature__, the researchers used an integrated genomics approach to identify a network o

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A targeted cancer therapy?

By | September 7, 2010

Some small RNA molecules can selectively kill cultured human cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched, according to a study published online yesterday (6th September) in PNAS -- a feat that has surpassed conventional cancer therapies that kill indiscriminately, causing an array of side effects in patients. Prostate cancer, a possibletarget for this therapy.Image: Wikimedia commons, user Nephron"It's a novel approach that will bring about new and cool things in the field," said linkurl:An

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Insulin regulates translation

By | September 7, 2010

By controlling how many ribosomes coat a certain mRNA in C. elegans, intracellular insulin signaling can regulate how many copies of a protein are made, and how quickly, giving cells more flexibility when responding to changes in the environment. C. elegans Image: Wikimedia commons, Bob Goldstein, UNC Chapel Hill The results, published, in the September 8th issue of Cell Metabolism, hold implications for a range of fields, including aging and diabetes, in which insulin signaling is known to pla

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Video: Roboanimals in the lab

By | September 3, 2010

From the automata of the ancient Greeks, to the curious mechanical inventions of the Age of Enlightenment, people have been creating robotic renderings of animals for centuries. It was only recently, however, that technology advanced enough to produce sophisticated robots that biologists can use for studying animal behavior. By mimicking specific behaviors with striking realism, these robots can stand in for (and fool) their living counterparts -- thus offering researchers the one thing that's o

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Ants save trees from elephants

By | September 2, 2010

Ants known to defend certain species of Acacia trees from elephant predation deter the massive herbivores so effectively that they are impacting entire savanna ecosystems, according to a study published online today (2nd September) in Current Biology. Ants on a whistling-thorn treeImage: Todd Palmer"I don't think any one had suspected how strong an effect the ants [had] in terms of driving elephants to avoid the Acacia," said ecologist David Augustine of the linkurl:US Department of Agriculture

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Surprise breast cancer source

By | September 2, 2010

Some breast cancer tumors may not originate from stem cells as previously believed, according to a study published in the September 3rd issue of Cell Stem Cell. The discovery is an important step in the development of treatments for these cancers. BRCA1 structureImage: Wikimedia commons,Lijealso"Understanding the origins of these types of breast cancer is not only critical for developing preventative strategies against the disease but also for developing new targeted therapies," said linkurl:Ma

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Nice bacteria finish last

By | September 1, 2010

Altruism is alive and well in bacterial populations, according to new linkurl:research;http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7311/full/nature09354.html in __Nature__, which found that a few altruistic bacteria help their neighbors withstand the assaults of antibiotics, even at a cost to themselves. Image:flickr/celerity59Researchers from Boston University found that a minority of resistant bacteria help their susceptible neighbors survive by producing and sharing high amounts of the signali

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Dramatic rise in monkeypox

By | August 31, 2010

Cases of monkeypox, a disease caused by a DNA virus closely related to smallpox and cowpox, have increased dramatically in rural villages in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to researchers working in the war-ravaged African country.A monkeypox patient in Lomela, Congo.The patient,who was examined by epidemiologist Anne Rimoin,eventually died from monkeypox-related complications.Image courtesy of Anne Rimoin Reporting their linkurl:results;http://www.pnas.org/conten

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Hungry flies ok with less sleep

By | August 31, 2010

There may be certain conditions under which animals can forgo sleep without serious consequences, even though scientists have considered it an activity that is absolutely indispensible, new research suggests. Image: Matthew Thimganand Cassandra VanDunkWhen flies are starved, they are able to stay awake for long periods of time without suffering the negative outcomes of sleep deprivation, including cognitive impairment, according to a study published online today (August 31) in PLoS Biology. T

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Top 7 papers in neuroscience

By | August 31, 2010

1. How neurons grow There's another layer of complexity in the developing nervous system: Spontaneous neuronal activity can regulate the differentiation of neurons, which can in turn affect swimming behavior in frog larvae. M. Demarque et al., Neuron 2010 Jul 29 67(2):321-34. linkurl:Eval by;http://f1000biology.com/article/9dmj38ygwp234jw/id/4525956 Keith Sillar, University of St Andrews; Judith S Eisen, University of Oregon; Antonia Marin-Burgin and Alejandro Schinde, Leloir Institute ID: 452

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