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Latest in Biotechnology

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cancer

New detection and diagnostic tools from Northwestern Engineering professor Vadim Backman harness light to examine cells from accessible parts of the body in order to catch the earliest signs of cancer.

When cancer is detected early, the chances of survival increase by up to 90%. New detection and diagnostic tools from Northwestern Engineering professor Vadim Backman harness light to examine cells from accessible parts of the body in order to catch the earliest signs of cancer. If the technology is brought to market, it could affect […]

October 31, 2016
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Scientists have just uncovered a major difference between DNA and RNA

A new study has shown for the first time that RNA – the older molecular cousin of DNA – splits apart when it tries to incorporate change, while DNA can contort itself and change its shape to compensate for any chemical damage. The research could finally explain why the blueprint of life is made from […]

August 14, 2016
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m1A and m1G disrupt A-RNA structure through the intrinsic instability of Hoogsteen base pairs

The B-DNA double helix can dynamically accommodate G-C and A-T base pairs in either Watson–Crick or Hoogsteen configurations. Here, we show that G-C+ (in which + indicates protonation) and A-U Hoogsteen base pairs are strongly disfavored in A-RNA. As a result,N1-methyladenosine and N1-methylguanosine, which occur in DNA as a form of alkylation damage and in […]

August 14, 2016
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Design and synthesis of a minimal bacterial genome

Designing and building a minimal genome A goal in biology is to understand the molecular and biological function of every gene in a cell. One way to approach this is to build a minimal genome that includes only the genes essential for life. In 2010, a 1079-kb genome based on the genome of Mycoplasma mycoides […]

March 28, 2016
Cynthia Goldsmith

This colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion. See PHIL 1832 for a black and white version of this image.

Where is Ebola virus found in nature?The exact origin, locations, and natural habitat (known as the "natural reservoir") of Ebola virus remain unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne) and is normally maintained in an animal host that is native to the African continent. A similar host is probably associated with Ebola-Reston which was isolated from infected cynomolgous monkeys that were imported to the United States and Italy from the Philippines. The virus is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America.

Protective monotherapy against lethal Ebola virus infection by a potently neutralizing antibody

Antibodies block Ebola virus entry The recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa illustrates the need for both an effective vaccine and therapies to treat infected individuals. Corti et al. isolated two monoclonal antibodies from a survivor of the 1995 Kikwit outbreak and demonstrated their therapeutic efficacy in Ebola virus–infected macaques. In fact, one antibody […]

March 22, 2016
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Cell cytoplasm: Floppy but fast

Proteins can recognize one another. Each engages very specifically with only a subset of the many different proteins present in the living cell, like a key slotting into a lock. But what if the key is completely flexible, as is the case for so-called intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs)? The research teams headed by Edward Lemke […]

December 15, 2015
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Knee-deep in spider leg evolution

With eight hairy legs and seven joints on each — that’s a lot for a spider to coordinate just to take a single step. Prpic’s research team honed in on a gene called dachshund (dac). The gene was first discovered in fruit flies, and humorously named for the missing leg segments and shortened legs that […]

December 15, 2015
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Plant biosensor could help African farmers fight parasitic ‘witchweed’

Plants in the genus Striga, also known as witchweed, act as parasites of other plants, tapping into their root systems and hijacking them for their own purposes. Though their purple flowers are pretty to look at, a field full of Striga plants is in fact a nightmare for a farmer who wants to grow corn, […]

December 15, 2015
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Young male chimpanzees play more with objects, but do not become better tool users

Researchers studying the difference in tool use between our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, found that immature bonobos have low rates of object manipulation, in keeping with previous work showing bonobos use few tools and none in foraging. Chimpanzees, however, are the most diverse tool-users among non-human primates, and the researchers found high rates […]

December 15, 2015
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New protein cleanup factors found to control bacterial growth

Now researchers in Peter Chien’s group in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst report finding how an essential bacterial protease controls cell growth and division. Details appear in the current issue of CELL. Lead author Kamal Joshi, a doctoral candidate in the Chien lab, conducted experiments in the […]

December 15, 2015
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Model based on multilaminar chromatin explains the structure of chromosomal aberrations in cancer cells

During cell division, each metaphase chromosome contains a single enormously long DNA molecule that is associated with histone proteins and forms a long chromatin filament with many nucleosomes. Current chromosome models consider that chromatin is folded forming loops or irregular networks. However, previous microscopy studies performed by researchers at the Chromatin Laboratory directed by professor […]

December 15, 2015
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Supercoiled DNA is far more dynamic than the ‘Watson-Crick’ double helix

Various DNA shapes, including figure-8s, were imaged using a powerful microscopy technique by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in the US, and then examined using supercomputer simulations run at the University of Leeds. As reported online today in the journal Nature Communications, the simulations also show the dynamic nature of DNA, which constantly […]

December 15, 2015
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Algae can take energy from other plants

The research findings have been released on November 20 in the online journal Nature Communications. Until now, it was believed that only worms, bacteria, and fungi could digest vegetable cellulose and use it as a source of carbon for their growth and survival. Plants, in contrast, engage in the photosynthesis of carbon dioxide, water, and […]

December 15, 2015