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Ribozyme targeting

By | March 21, 2002

In the March 19 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mohammed Kashani-Sabet and colleagues describe the use of plasmid-based ribozymes as functional genomics tools to unravel complex phenotypes, such as cancer metastasis (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:3878-3883).Kashani-Sabet et al. reasoned that ribozyme-based gene targeting in mice might overcome experimental problems associated with transgenesis and lethal knockout phenotypes. They tested the use of systemic administration of ca

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Banking on British stem cell research

By | March 20, 2002

Will a US charity's decision to plough cash into Britain's stem cell bank pave the way for more transatlantic investment?

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Phage tropism

By | March 20, 2002

A reverse transcriptase enzyme and genomic repeat sequences coordinate a tropic switch in a bacteriophage.

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Cast iron signature

By | March 19, 2002

Iron (Fe) is taken up from the diet and is used by the body for oxygen transport in blood, oxygen storage in muscle tissue, and as an enzyme cofactor in the liver. In March 15 Science Thomas Walczyk and Friedhelm von Blanckenburg from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich and University of Berne, Switzerland show that isotopic analysis of human blood and liver and muscle tissue indicates that each individual bears a long-term iron (Fe) isotope signature in the blood.Walczyk and von Blanc

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CpG islands

By | March 19, 2002

'CpG islands' are often associated with promoter regions. A CpG island has traditionally been defined as a 200 bp region of DNA with a G+C content over 50% and an observed/expected CpG ratio of 0.6 or more. In the March 19 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Daiya Takai and Peter Jones of the University of Southern California describe a re-evaluation of CpG islands using the finished sequences of human chromosomes 21 and 22 (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:3740-3745).They developed

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Fusion and confusion

By | March 19, 2002

Adult stem cells may fuse rather than differentiate into other cell types.

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New model of autoimmune arthritis

By | March 18, 2002

Antibodies to a ubiquitous cytoplasmic enzyme can provoke joint-specific autoimmune disease.

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Where is the proteome?

By | March 18, 2002

Where a protein is found in a cell can reveal a lot about its function. In the March 15 Genes and Development, Kumar and colleagues report the subcellular localization of 2,744 proteins in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.Kumar et al. tagged the proteins with an easy-to-detect epitope, mostly using direct cloning but for some using random transposon mutagenesis, and examined the subcellular localization of the tagged proteins using immunofluorescence. Together with previously publishe

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Embryonic vs somatic mutation

By | March 15, 2002

Discussion of the potential of using pluripotent stem cells for tissue transplantation has raised issues about the frequency and types of spontaneous mutation in these cells. In the March 19 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Rachel Cervantes and colleagues from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, report a study of spontaneous and induced mutagenic events in murine embryonic stem (ES) cells (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:3586-3590).Cervantes et al. used a murine model with a disr

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Idle sensations

By | March 15, 2002

The development of rhythmic forms of movement such as crawling and breathing is dependant on groups of pattern generating neurons in the central nervous system, but the sensory inputs involved remain unclear. In March 14 Nature, Maximiliano Suster and Michael Bate from University of Cambridge, UK, show that sensory transmission is not required for the development of a central circuit that is adequate for producing rhythmic movements.Suster and Bate engineered Drosophila embryos and larvae that h

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