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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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Tasty transgenics

By | July 28, 2010

AquaBounty Technologies made big news when they announced they were getting close to approval for their fast-growing transgenic salmon, but this isn't the only transgenic project with its eyes on our food supply.

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Q&A: Do we need stem cell bank?

By | July 27, 2010

Among stem cell policy changes instituted since U.S. President Barack Obama took office, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) made a linkurl:controversial move;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/57274/ to not renew funding of a key stem cell bank established at the linkurl:WiCell Institute;http://www.wicell.org/ in Wisconsin. Many scientists worry that without a national center to distribute human embryonic stem cell lines to researchers, the availability, cost and quality of cell line

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Top 7 papers in neuroscience

By | July 27, 2010

#1 Neurons complete hippocampus loop There's a new, important function for a once-obscure cell population in the brain: CA2 pyramidal neurons, a subset of cells in the hippocampus, form a link between electrical inputs and outputs in the hippocampus. V. Chevaleye et al., "Strong CA2 pyramidal neuron synapses define a powerful disynaptic cortico-hippocampal loop," linkurl:Neuron,;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez/20510860?dopt=Abstract&holding=f1000,f1000m,isrctn 66:560-72, 2010. linkurl

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Totipotent art

By | July 23, 2010

Some biologists see the beauty in their work. More than a few artists draw inspiration from the natural world. But stem cell researcher and artist linkurl:Ariel Ruiz i Altaba;http://www.ruizialtaba.com/ successfully integrates the worlds of art and science, creating biology-inspired art while keeping up with the daily rigors of scientific research. "Eclipse" from Ruiz i Altaba'sPossible to Forget seriesImage: linkurl:Ariel Ruiz i Altaba;http://www.ruizialtaba.com/ "Mostly for someone to be prof

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