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Plant models for crop breeding of the future

This review article summarizes the structure and stability of all the minichromosomes that Minoru Murata and colleagues at Okayama University have isolated since 2006, and describes their interesting features.

Posted: Jun 25th, 2014

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Growing unknown microbes 1 by 1

Trillions of bacteria live in the human body, and although there's plenty of evidence that these microbes play a collective role in human health, we know very little about the individual bacterial species. Employing the use of a specially designed glass chip with tiny compartments, researchers provide a way to target and grow specific microbes from the gut - a key step in understanding which bacteria are helpful to human health and which are harmful.

Posted: Jun 24th, 2014

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Pushing cells towards a higher pluripotency state

Researchers gained new insight into the role of CCL2, a chemokine known to be involved in the immune response, in the enhancement of stem cell pluripotency. In the study, the researchers replaced basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), a critical component of human stem cell culture, with CCL2 and studied its effect.

Posted: Jun 24th, 2014

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From foundry to factory: building synthetic plants

A movement is under way that will fast-forward the design of new plant traits. It takes inspiration from engineering and the software industry, and is being underpinned in Cambridge and Norwich by an initiative called OpenPlant.

Posted: Jun 20th, 2014

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