Many genetic mutations in visual pigments, spread over millions of years, were required for humans to evolve from a primitive mammal with a dim, shadowy view of the world into a greater ape able to see all the colors in a rainbow. Now, after more than two decades of painstaking research, scientists have finished a detailed and complete picture of the evolution of human color vision.
In everyday life, the global positioning system (GPS) can be employed to reliably determine the momentary location of one en route to the desired destination. Scientists have now developed a molecular 'GPS' with which the whereabouts of metal ions in enzymes can be reliably determined. Such ions play important roles in all corners of metabolism and synthesis for biological products.
A new catalytic process is able to convert what was once considered biomass waste into lucrative chemical products that can be used in fragrances, flavorings or to create high-octane fuel for racecars and jets.
Chemists have invented a powerful method for joining complex organic molecules that is extraordinarily robust and can be used to make pharmaceuticals, fabrics, dyes, plastics and other materials previously inaccessible to chemists.
In a triumph for cell biology, researchers have assembled the first high-resolution, 3-D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation - a kind of 'genomic origami' that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells.
When a large protein unfolds in transit through a cell, it slows down and can get stuck in traffic. Using a specialized microscope , researchers now can watch the way the unfolded protein diffuses. Studying the relationship between protein folding and transport could provide great insight into protein-misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's.
Efflux pumps are surface proteins that prevent antimicrobial drugs from getting a foothold in a bacterial cell by identifying and pumping them out of the cell. New research suggests that small pieces of those drugs could keep the efflux pumps busy and allow the antimicrobial drugs to reach a critical mass inside the cell.
Scientists can now explore nerves in mice in much greater detail than ever before, thanks to an approach developed by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The work enables researchers to easily use artificial tags, broadening the range of what they can study and vastly increasing image resolution.
Scientists have developed a method for producing biological crystals that has allowed scientists to observe - for the first time - DNA double chain breaks. They have also developed a computer simulation that makes this process, which lasts in the order of millionths of a second, visible to the human eye.