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A test method for the measurement of soil microbial diversity

The doctoral dissertation of Milja Vepsäläinen, M.Sc. (microbiology), prepared at the Finnish Environment Institute, involved developing a test pattern designed to measure soil biological diversity. The aim is to measure the activity potential of enzymes produced by soil microbes.

Posted: Nov 7th, 2012

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The latest findings in molecular evolution

A team of scientists researching the effect of long-term molecular evolution (the study of DNA, RNA and proteins) have produced findings which suggest most amino-acid substitutions have different fitness effects in different species. This is an important breakthrough as there is now evidence to show that a genetic background determines whether a modification, which is the main factor regulating evolution at the level of proteins, is beneficial, harmful or inconsequential.

Posted: Nov 6th, 2012

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New guideline for DNA sequences could prevent erroneous data

DNA sequence data is an indispensable source of research information in biology. But not all data are reliable. Almost 10% of all fungal DNA sequences are, for example, incorrectly identified to species level. A international team of researchers, with it?s core at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has therefore prepared a guide to assist the scientific community in the quality control process.

Posted: Nov 5th, 2012

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Computers 'taught' to ID regulating gene sequences

Johns Hopkins researchers have succeeded in teaching computers how to identify commonalities in DNA sequences known to regulate gene activity, and to then use those commonalities to predict other regulatory regions throughout the genome. The tool is expected to help scientists better understand disease risk and cell development.

Posted: Nov 5th, 2012

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The first thought-controlled bionic leg

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago research participant Zac Vawter made history on Sunday, November 4, 2012, by climbing 103 floors of Chicago's Willis Tower using the first "thought-controlled bionic leg", a neural-controlled prosthetic leg driven by his own thoughts.

Posted: Nov 5th, 2012

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How bacteria talk to each other and our cells

Bacteria can talk to each other via molecules they themselves produce. The phenomenon is called quorum sensing, and is important when an infection propagates. Now, researchers at Linköping University in Sweden are showing how bacteria control processes in human cells the same way.

Posted: Nov 1st, 2012

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Plants recognise pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms

Plant roots are surrounded by thousands of bacteria and fungi living in the soil and on the root surface. To survive in this diverse environment, plants employ sophisticated detection systems to distinguish pathogenic microorganisms from beneficial microorganisms.

Posted: Nov 1st, 2012

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Global genome effort seeks genetic roots of disease

By decoding the genomes of more than 1,000 people whose homelands stretch from Africa and Asia to Europe and the Americas, scientists have compiled the largest and most detailed catalog yet of human genetic variation. The massive resource will help medical researchers find the genetic roots of rare and common diseases in populations worldwide.

Posted: Oct 31st, 2012

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Cellular landscaping: Predicting how, and how fast, cells will change

A research team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed a model for making quantifiable predictions of how a group of cells will react and change in response to a given environment or stimulus - and how quickly. The NIST model, in principle, makes it possible to assign reliable numbers to the complex evolution of a population of cells, a critical capability for efficient biomanufacturing as well as for the safety of stem cell-based therapies, among other applications.

Posted: Oct 31st, 2012

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