News in a nutshell

DNA sequence affects mutation rateA new linkurl:report;http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2010/05/11/gr.103283.109.abstract published today in __Genome Research__ shows that the DNA molecule itself influences its own mutation rate. Specifically, Jean-Claude Walser and Anthony Furano from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Basel found that sequences high in C and G encourage mutations, and even encourage particular types of mutations. The findings suggest that mutation rat

By | May 24, 2010

DNA sequence affects mutation rate
A new linkurl:report;http://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2010/05/11/gr.103283.109.abstract published today in __Genome Research__ shows that the DNA molecule itself influences its own mutation rate. Specifically, Jean-Claude Walser and Anthony Furano from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Basel found that sequences high in C and G encourage mutations, and even encourage particular types of mutations. The findings suggest that mutation rate stems from the nitrogenous base sequence itself, not the specific location of particular sequences on chromosomes (since some regions accumulate mutations faster than others). Top 10 on "Species Idol" announced
A committee of taxonomists and the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University have picked the top 10 new species identified in 2009. The list includes a fanged minnow (dubbed __Danionella dracula__, naturally), which marks the first time scientists have spotted oral teeth in this family, the largest among freshwater fishes. Other picks include a golden orb spider, a carnivorous sponge, a sea slug that eats insects, a worm that releases green bioluminescence when threatened, and a frogfish with a psychedelic pattern. Within the plant kingdom, the scientists flagged __Nepenthes attenboroughii__, which traps insects in pitchers the size of an American football -- some of the largest pitchers ever described. You can see more information about the list linkurl:here.;http://species.asu.edu NYC- hi to biotech, bye to BSL-3
New York City has traditionally struggled to commercialize the promising basic discoveries that occur at prestigious research institutions within its borders -- likely influenced by the high cost of living and short supply of real estate. But some industry leaders have argued that the city and state have not done enough -- or as much as other cities, anyway -- to lure and keep the biotech industry. The linkurl:region's;http://www.the-scientist.com/supplement/2004-11-22/ trying to turn that around. The city and state of New York are set to contribute $60 million to a new biotech facility, linkurl:BioBAT,;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55185/ initially 100,000 square feet (9,300 square meters), in the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Eventually, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the facility will have nearly 500,000 square feet and be home to the 20-odd biotechs spun off from NYC universities every year. Read the full story at the linkurl:__Wall Street Journal__.;http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704513104575256581292654628.html#mod=todays_us_new_york It's a time of transition, as the region continues to debate what to do with the soon-to-depart BSL-3 federal research facility on Plum Island, off the coast of Long Island. The latest suggestion, according to linkurl:__The Day__:;http://www.theday.com/article/20100521/NWS01/305219932/1018 a wildlife refuge. Apparently, since humans have mostly stayed away from the island over the last half a century, it's become a haven for birds and rare plants. $1B tax credit for biotech
Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama's administration announced it was offering $1 billion to small research firms (no more than 250 workers) looking for cancer cures or other medical "breakthroughs," according to the linkurl:__Associated Press__.;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/21/AR2010052102034.html The NIH will review the applications, and award up to $5 million to each of the winners (which they can receive as a tax credit or grant). Genetic testing brouhaha
The University of California, Berkeley, has sent all incoming students genetic tests to check for their ability to respond to alcohol, dairy products, and folic acid -- and, naturally, not everyone's happy about it, according to the linkurl:__Associated Press__.;http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iRnonozkqI3lZkKJ-88_mIdWc73gD9FR4J2O0 CSI: Dog poop
A Baltimore condo said it was considering using genetic testing to identify the dog that's pooping where it shouldn't be. Once revealed, the owner would pay $500. Richard Hopp, an attorney who's lived in the building for four years with his dog Sparky, told the linkurl:__Baltimore Sun__:;http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-05-14/news/bs-md-dog-dna-20100513_1_dog-dna-scarlett-place "I feel like I'm living in a 'Seinfeld' episode." (Ultimately, the condo board linkurl:nixed;http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/features/mutts/blog/2010/05/scarlett_place_doggie_dna_look.html#more the plan.)
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Genetic tests under review;http://blog.the-scientist.com/2010/05/20/genetic-tests-under-review/
[20th May 2010]*linkurl:New AIDS vaccine lab for NYC;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55185/
[12th November 2008]*linkurl:New York City: Start Spreading the News;http://www.the-scientist.com/2004/11/22/S2/1/
[22nd November 2004]

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