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Nanosensor peers inside cell

By | August 12, 2010

A new virus-sized probe can look deeper into cells than ever before, and finally allows scientists to monitor intracellular activities without disrupting the cells' external membranes, according to a study published today in Science. Nano-size transistor penetrates cell membraneImage: Charles Lieber "This is a paper that can bring breakthrough and revolutionary insight into our understanding of intracellular structures," said linkurl:Zhong Lin Wang,; wh

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Critical plant bank in danger

By | August 11, 2010

Plant scientists around the world are warning that hundreds of years of accumulated agricultural heritage are in danger of being plowed under after a Russian court ruled today (August 11) that the land occupied by a world-renowned plant bank on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg may be transferred to the linkurl:Russian Housing Development Foundation,; which plans to build houses on the site. Image: Isue via WikimediaThe fate of the collection at the linkurl:Pavlovsk Exp


How huntingtin kills neurons?

By | August 11, 2010

Researchers have revealed new clues to how a defective form of the huntingtin protein may cause the deadly changes that lead to Huntington's disease -- by potentially disrupting the process of neurogenesis, thereby decreasing neural progenitor cells. Huntingtin proteinImage: Wikimedia commons, Jawahar Swaminathan and MSD staff at the European Bioinformatics Institute"[This is] the first study to demonstrate that normal huntingtin has fundamental developmental roles in mitotic spindle function


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; of the Medic


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; for LiquidPublication simply states: "Don't print it; post it." To disseminate the information, the progra


Q&A: Why the reactome is real

By | August 9, 2010

Over the last several months, biochemists have linkurl:questioned the validity; of a new technique heralded as a "breakthrough" technology when it was linkurl:published in Science;;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


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; of the University of Winnipeg, who did not part


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


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; has been cleared to continue its study of spinal cord injury, linkurl:it announced today; (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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