Scientists have rendered the first gene and protein networks of human aging, an important step in understanding the genetic mechanisms of aging. The work led by Joao Pedro de Magalhaes from Harvard Medical School is detailed in the July 30 issue of FEBS Letters.
The work involved the integration of all genes, in both humans and animal models, previously shown to influence aging. By using a combination of bibliographic information and modern high-throughput genomics, employing software developed by the team, each gene was placed in the context of human biology. The putative impact of each gene to human aging was calculated by a combination of manual and computational methods, leading to a new holistic view of the genetics of aging. To organize and catalog all the data pertaining the over 200 genes selected, the first curated database of genes related to human aging was developed: GenAge, part of the Human Ageing Genomic Resources also led by Dr. de Magalhaes. Thanks to the help of many other researchers, the Human Ageing Genomic Resources have become, in months, the landmark online website for research on aging, having been recently featured in Nature Reviews Genetics (volume 5, issue 5, page 330) and SAGE KE (2004 volume, issue 30, nf69), Science Magazine’s website on aging research.
With the collaboration of researchers from the University of Namur in Belgium, scientists also analyzed protein-interaction maps for more specialized pathways previously linked with aging, such as the neuroendocrine regulation of aging and DNA metabolism. These findings and the rendered networks related to aging may prove useful to find novel genes of interest. In fact, several crucial nodes in the networks were identified by way of specialized software: a number of genes so far not linked to aging were chosen by a “guilt-by-association” methodology based on protein-protein interaction maps and data-mining algorithms. One intriguing finding was the apparent overlap between the genetics of aging and development. Aging could then be an indirect result of developmental pathways. The cascade of events that regulates ontogeny would then fade away after sexual maturity resulting in aging. Contrary to other theories of aging that argue aging derives from the accumulation of damage, Dr. de Magalhaes suggests that integrative pathways collaborate during development and then become disrupted during aging.
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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