Since small RNA molecules were discovered just over ten years ago, it has become clear that these once overlooked bits of genetic material play a decidedly large role in controlling gene expression and thus regulating a diverse array of cellular processes. They typically accomplish these tasks by targeting specific nucleotide sequences to shut down gene expression, and scientists are now starting to apply related strategies to inactivate specific genes for research and therapeutic purposes (see related feature article by Richard Robinson at http://www.plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020028).
Yet much remains to be learned about the details of small-RNA-mediated silencing, and a study lead by James Carrington (Oregon State University) and Steve Jacobsen (UCLA) now demonstrates that plants have evolved multiple systems to produce distinct classes of small RNAs with specialized functions. These include genome maintenance, the regulation of specific endogenous target genes, and defense against viral and transposon sequences. These results shed light on the evolution of RNA-mediated gene silencing and have implications for the adaptation of such silencing strategies for various purposes.
Philip Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
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