Body

Pity the molecular biologist.

The object of fascination for most is the DNA molecule. But in solution, DNA, the genetic material that hold the detailed instructions for virtually all life, is a twisted knot, looking more like a battered ball of yarn than the famous double helix. To study it, scientists generally are forced to work with collections of molecules floating in solution, and there is no easy way to precisely single out individual molecules for study.

Findings published in Science will accelerate the search for genes involved in human disease. The report provides a first genome-wide view of how the unique composition of genetic variation within each of us leads to unique patterns of gene activity.

In recent years, scientists have discovered that a family of enzymes called sirtuins can dramatically extend life in organisms as diverse as yeast, worms, and flies. They may also be able to control age-associated metabolic disorders, including obesity and type II diabetes.

New research may provide insight as to why, despite progress over the last few decades, women remain underrepresented in math-heavy majors and professions.

In an article published in the January issue of Psychological Science, psychologists Amy Kiefer of the University of California, San Francisco and Denise Sekaquaptewa of the University of Michigan point to an interaction between women's own underlying "implicit" stereotypes and their gender identification as a source for their underperformance and lowered perseverance in mathematical fields.

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin have identified two small molecules with promising activity against neurotoxins produced by the Clostridium botulinum, a compound so deadly it has been labeled one of the six highest-risk bioterrorism agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because of the high cost and limited applicability of currently available treatments, the newly identified compounds have the potential to fill the existing therapy gap and to provide protection against a bioterrorism attack using the toxin.

Carnegie Mellon University's Philip LeDuc predicts the use of artificially created cells could be a potential new therapeutic approach for treating diseases in an ever-changing world. LeDuc, an assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, penned an article for the January edition of Nature Nanotechnology Journal about the efficacy of using man-made cells to treat diseases without injecting drugs.

A Georgia Tech physics group has discovered how and why the electrical conductance of metal nanowires changes as their length varies. In a collaborative investigation performed by an experimental team and a theoretical physics team, the group discovered that measured fluctuations in the smallest nanowires’ conductance are caused by a pair of atoms, known as a dimer, shuttling back and forth between the bulk electrical leads. Determining the structural properties of nanowires is a big challenge facing the future construction of nanodevices and nanotechnology.

An international team of scientists has discovered that the ubiquitous bacteria that causes most painful stomach ulcers has been present in the human digestive system since modern man migrated from Africa over 60,000 years ago. The research, published online (7 February) by the journal Nature, not only furthers our understanding of a disease causing bacteria but also offers a new way to study the migration and diversification of early humans.A cell of H.pylori, a bacterial pathogen of the human stomach.

Two biologists at Penn State have discovered a master regulator that controls metabolic responses to a deficiency of essential amino acids in the diet. They also discovered that this regulatory substance, an enzyme named GCN2 eIF2alpha kinase, has an unexpectedly profound impact on fat metabolism.

Physicists at JILA have demonstrated that the warmer a surface is, the stronger its subtle ability to attract nearby atoms, a finding that could affect the design of devices that rely on small-scale interactions, such as atom chips, nanomachines, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).JILA scientists measured how temperature affects the Casimir-Polder force using an apparatus that holds four small squares of glass inside a vacuum chamber.