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Computer models calculate systems-wide costs of gene expression

Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a method of modeling, simultaneously, an organism's metabolism and its underlying gene expression. In the emerging field of systems biology, scientists model cellular behavior in order to understand how processes such as metabolism and gene expression relate to one another and bring about certain characteristics in the larger organism.

Posted: Aug 8th, 2012

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Using millions of years of cell evolution in the fight against cancer

Georgia Tech researchers are focusing on ways to fight cancer by attacking defective genes before they are able to make proteins. John McDonald is studying micro RNAs (miRNAs), a class of small RNAs that interact with messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that have been linked to a number of diseases, including cancer. McDonald's lab placed two different miRNAs (MiR-7 and MiR-128) into ovarian cancer cells and watched how they affected the gene system.

Posted: Aug 7th, 2012

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New technology eliminates plant toxins

A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen have developed a method to hinder unwanted toxins from entering the edible parts of plants such as the oilseed rape, which will make it suitable for animal feed.

Posted: Aug 5th, 2012

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Getting to the root - unearthing the plant-microbe quid pro quo

The microbial community or microbiome that inhabits the rhizosphere and endosphere - the niches immediately surrounding and inside a plant's root?facilitates the shuttling of nutrients and information into and out of the roots within the soil matrix. These underground microbial activities have not received as much attention as the effort to characterize the role of the microbial populations inside and on the surfaces of humans, but this is now changing owing to a recent publication.

Posted: Aug 1st, 2012

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Massive data for miniscule communities

It's relatively easy to collect massive amounts of data on microbes. But the files are so large that it takes days to simply transmit them to other researchers and months to analyze once they are received. Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a new computational technique that relieves the logjam that these 'big data' issues create.

Posted: Aug 1st, 2012

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Roots and microbes: Bringing a complex underground ecology into the lab

Beneath the surface of the earth, an influential community of microbes mingles with plant roots. In the first large-scale analysis of those communities, scientists have now catalogued and compared the hundreds of types of bacteria that associate with the roots of the model plant Arabidopsis under various conditions.

Posted: Aug 1st, 2012

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Hitting back at 'wiretapping' parasite

Dodder vines are parasitic plants that suck water, nutrients and information from other plants as they spread over them. Plant biologists at the University of California, Davis, have now shown that they can make plants resistant to dodder by attacking the junctions where the parasite taps into the host.

Posted: Jul 24th, 2012

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Synthetic Biology Scorecard finds federal agencies responding to bioethics report

Federal agencies have started taking steps to address the recommendations in a 2010 report from the presidential bioethics commission to improve the governance of synthetic biology research and development, though the government has not fully addressed any of the report recommendations, according to a scorecard tracking the efforts.

Posted: Jul 18th, 2012

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