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Bushwillow: tree of enlightenment
AS A cell prepares to divide, tiny parts of its internal skeleton, known as microtubules, arrange themselves into a spindle that permits its complement of chromosomes to split into two bundles. These bundles will go on to become the nuclei of the daughter cells, so spindle formation is a crucial part of the process of replication. Because out-of-control cell replication is the underlying cause of cancer, developing drugs that interfere with microtubule activity has long been of great interest.
Unfortunately, most drugs developed for the task sabotage the tubules of both cancerous and healthy cells. This causes horrible side effects and means that doctors must use lower doses than would be ideal if killing the cancer were their sole objective. However Oliver Thorn-Seshold and Dirk Trauner, two chemists at Ludwig Maximillian University, in Munich, hope to change this state of affairs. They are trying to develop a tubule-controlling drug that can be switched on and off using light.
The idea of optically controlled chemotherapy is not novel. Several teams have tried enclosing...
THOSE who fret about overfishing and those who fret about genetically modified (GM) food are often one and the same. Such people will soon be impaled on the horns of a dilemma if Johnathan Napier of Rothamsted Research, an agricultural establishment in southern England, has his way. As he and his colleagues describe this week in Metabolic Engineering Communications, they are working on technology that could reduce demand for wild-caught fish considerably. It will do so, though, by feeding farmed fish with GM chow.
Apart from the fact that they taste good, oily fish are also desirable because they are healthy fare. There are many things you can remove from your diet in order to improve cardiovascular fitness, but few that you can add. However DHA and EPA—two molecules often referred to as fish oils—buck this trend. They are known to lower blood pressure, to reduce the risk of heart arrhythmia and to slow the growth of fatty plaques that block arteries.
Fish do not, though, actually make fish oils. They get them from their food. The synthesis is done by single-celled algae and the molecules then pass up the...
July 8, 2015 | As a key driver of winter weather patterns across Europe, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has long sparked the interest of atmospheric researchers. Now a new study sheds light on the history of the NAO over the past 1,000 years, potentially moving scientists closer to the goal of projecting weather patterns for Europe months to years in advance.AtmosNews Category: Article type: Organization(s): People: