It is tricky enough to get a soccer team of eleven players to cooperate and work as one – but what would it be like if there were 25,000 players on the field? What would the rules be like, and how many referees would it take to make sure that the rules were followed? As it happens, our genomes consist of networks of roughly 25,000 interacting genes, and these networks are obviously very stable and resilient to changed conditions. Out of billions of cells, not a single one falls into chaos. How can order be maintained? A question that scientists have been pondering since the 1960s may now have been answered by theoretical physicists at Lund University, Sweden.
In the most recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, professor Carsten Peterson and his collaborators Björn Samuelsson and Carl Troein demonstrate how this is possible. The American physician and scientist Stuart Kauffman – a pioneer in the field, who formulated and attempted to solve the problem as early as 1967 – is their co-author.
At any given time, each of the 25,000 genes in a cell may or may not be producing a protein – each gene is on or off, to use language from the world of computers. A gene can affect other genes, turning them on or off. A simple case is that two genes are controlling a third gene. To activate this third gene, both the controlling genes might need to be active, or maybe only one or the other.
Göran Frankel | 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.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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