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NIH boosts its clinical core

By | March 25, 2010

The National Institutes of Health is upgrading its drug development and manufacturing facility -- new location, new equipment, same mission -- to "help move ideas from the laboratory bench to the patient faster and better," said John Gallin, director of the NIH Clinical Center. Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research CenterImage: National Institutes of HealthAs I toured the new $12 million, over 1,000 square meter facility today (March 25), I meandered through room after room of new, top of the lin

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New hominin found via mtDNA

By | March 24, 2010

A previously unknown human ancestor may have coexisted with Neanderthals and early modern humans, German researchers report online in Nature today (March 24). Denisova cave from the outsideImage: Bence ViolaFor the first time, the scientists identified the novel hominin using mitochondrial gene sequencing of bone fragments, not fossils. The genomic analysis also revealed a hitherto-unknown migration from Africa to Eurasia just under one million years ago. "It's such a surprise," said linkurl:T

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Q&A: The bill's boon to biotech

By | March 24, 2010

The historic healthcare reform legislation that was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday (23rd March) will be an obvious boon to big pharmaceutical companies and hospitals, which will eventually have access to more than 30 million new customers covered under the bill. But how will the bill affect smaller companies and academics? __The Scientist__ asked linkurl:Kenneth Kaitin,;http://csdd.tufts.edu/about/from_the_director professor of medicine and director of the Tufts Center for the S

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Yeast: angiogenesis model? Yup

By | March 23, 2010

Yeast may not have blood vessels, but it could be a powerful model organism for studying angiogenesis, according to linkurl:a study;http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/03/11/0910200107.full.pdf+html published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday (March 22, 2010) that describes a new, systems-biology approach for identifying surprising model organisms for human diseases. Image: Wikipedia"It's a Eureka moment of, gosh, I can't believe anybody didn't think of th

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Alzheimer's drugs hurt brain?

By | March 22, 2010

Drugs being investigated for Alzheimer's disease may be causing further neural degeneration and cell death, calling for a change in the way Alzheimer's medications are developed, according to results published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. β-amyloidImage: Wikimedia commons, Boku wa Kage This finding "would result in a paradigm shift" in the understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying Alzheimer's disease, said linkurl:Brigita Urbanc,;http://www.phys

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News in a nutshell

By | March 22, 2010

Animal rights news: guilty pleas, suspensionIn linkurl:California,;http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/03/two-animal-rights-activists-enter-pleas-for-harassing-ucla-researchers.htmlOlliff two animal rights activists charged with harassing UCLA scientists appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court and decided not to fight their indictments. On Friday (19th March), 22-year-old Kevin Olliff pled no contest to felony stalking and conspiracy charges for participating in demonstrations in 20

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More support for RNAi in clinic

By | March 21, 2010

Nanoparticles studded with short RNA molecules can silence target genes in melanoma patients, demonstrating the clinical feasibility of these techniques for the first time, according to research published online today (March 21) in __Nature.__ NanoparticlesImage: Wikimedia/Nandiyanto"This is a breakthrough for the field," said John Rossi from the City of Hope Cancer Center, who was not involved in the study. It's the first clinical proof that "RNA is entering the tumor cells and delivering the

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Supermodels?

By | March 19, 2010

What do a yam, a wasp, and a wallaby all have in common? Well, not much, actually, but they're all being touted as the next big experimental model, according to a new laboratory manual due out in April. The second volume of Emerging Model Organisms, from the linkurl:Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press,;http://www.cshlpress.com/ examines a range of organisms -- some familiar, some not -- that could soon be coming to a lab near you. Image:Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press linkurl:Richard Behrin

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"Epigenetics" drives phenotype?

By | March 18, 2010

Researchers have identified a possible mechanism by which DNA regions that don't encode proteins can still determine phenotypic traits such as a person's height or susceptibility to a particular disease, researchers report online in Science today. Image: WikipediaThe scientists found that certain chromatin modifications often considered to be epigenetic -- meaning, regulated by factors other than genetic sequence -- are in fact determined by a person's DNA. Moreover, they found that this c

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Sperm sparring spotted

By | March 18, 2010

Scientists have developed a powerful new way to study sperm competition: Watch the action -- live. The seminal receptacle (SR) and onespermatheca of a female D. melanogasterinitially mated to GFP-sperm malethen remated to RFP-sperm male.Image: © Science/AAASUsing fluorescent tagging technology, the researchers have bought themselves a front row seat to the fight, allowing them to decipher the strategies males use to ensure their sperm (and not another male's) reach the egg, already helping

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