Chemistry & Industry Magazine
The discovery of a gene responsible for learning and memory defects in Downs Syndrome means mental retardation may soon be reversible, according to a report in this issue of Chemistry & Industry magazine. The gene was discovered by a group led by William Mobley, director of a new centre for Down s syndrome research at Stanford University, California.
The bottom line is that we have found one gene that we think is very important, says Mobley. And from what we have seen in the lab, the neuronal damage [it causes] is totally reversible. He says that a drug could reverse the effects of the gene and the mental retardation. Theoretically, you can treat Downs at any stage. This means that even patients at a fairly advanced age could be treated, he says. Downs researcher Stylianos Antonarakis of the University of Geneva says that the find is fantastic. We have always thought that there are probably only a few genes involved in mental retardation, so it is feasible that a single gene may be responsible. And it seems perfectly possible to down-regulate that gene using RNAi or other methods, he says.
Lizzy Ray | alfa
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
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Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
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