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By sorting human fat tissue cells by their expression of a certain gene, scientists were able to retrieve a high yield of cells that showed an especially strong propensity to make bone tissue. With more refinement, the method could improve the ability of surgeons to speed bone healing, they say.
Conventional antibiotics are indiscriminate about what they kill, a trait that can lead to complications for patients and can contribute to the growing problems of antibiotic resistance. But a a ‘programmable’ antibiotic would selectively target only the bad bugs, particularly those harboring antibiotic resistance genes, and leave beneficial microbes alone.
The largest genome-wide association study to date, involving more than 300 institutions and more than 250,000 subjects, roughly doubles the number of known gene regions influencing height to more than 400. The study provides a better glimpse at the biology of height and offers a model for investigating traits and diseases caused by many common gene changes acting together.
A new crystallographic technique is set to transform scientists’ ability to observe how molecules work. Although fast time-resolved crystallography (Laue crystallography) has previously been possible, it has required advanced instrumentation that is only available at three sites worldwide. Only a handful of proteins have been studied using the traditional technique The new method will allow researchers across the world to carry out dynamic crystallography and is likely to provide a major boost in areas of research that rely on understanding how molecules work.
Scientists have taken pictures of the BRCA2 protein for the first time, showing how it works to repair damaged DNA. The findings showed that each pair of BRCA2 proteins binds two sets of RAD51 that run in opposite directions. This allows it to work on strands of broken DNA that point in either direction. They also show that BRCA2’s job is to help RAD51 form short filaments at multiple sites along the DNA, presumably to increase the efficiency of establishing longer filaments required to search for matching strands.