Life Sciences and Chemistry

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences and chemistry area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Silence please

Researchers at Cambridge University have been studying the process of gene silencing in transgenic plants, and have cloned a genetic modifier that could reduce transgene instability. Dr Ian Furner will be presenting the results of the study at the Society for Experimental Biology conference on Monday 8 April.

Gene silencing is a naturally occurring process by which genes can become shut off within a plant. When transgenes are introduced into plants they can also show gene silencing. Genes wh

NO solution to high salt intake

Nitric oxide, normally toxic at high concentrations, is now known to be involved in a number of functions within the nervous system of many animals. New research being presented today at the Society for Experimental Biology conference reveals for the first time that nitric oxide is also present within the neurosecretory system of fish and may help them cope with changes in environmental salinity.

Within the mammalian nervous system it was thought that nerve cells communicated exclusively usi

After a 40-year search, a hormone controlling iron metabolism in mammals is finally identified

Iron is vital for cells, because it catalyzes key enzyme reactions; it is also crucial for respiration, fixing atmospheric oxygen to hemoglobin in red blood cells. Iron deficiency can lead to severe anemia, with inadequate tissue oxygenation. An excess of iron is also toxic, as it facilitates the generation of free radicals that can attack the liver, heart and pancreas. This is the case in hereditary hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder which, in 80% of cases, is linked to a point mutation in the Hfe-

Diverse Viruses Show Signs of Common Ancestry

The viruses that cause diseases as varied as AIDS, hepatitis and West Nile Virus may actually have more in common than was previously thought, new research reveals. According to a study that will appear in the March issue of the journal Molecular Cell, three major groups of viruses use similar mechanisms to replicate their genetic information after they have infiltrated the cells of a host.

There are six broad classes of viruses, each thought to represent a major evolutionary lineage. M

Mouse Study Suggests Anxiety Disorders Take Root in Infancy

The absence of a key signaling protein in the brain during infancy could lead to anxiety disorders later in life, scientists say. According to findings published today in the journal Nature, mice lacking the receptor protein for the chemical messenger serotonin just after birth exhibit abnormal anxiety as adults.

Researchers have known for some time that mice genetically engineered to lack the receptor for serotonin, a neurotransmitter, show anxiety-like behavior. But the new results go one

Bacteria dye jeans

Biotech bugs turn indigo blue in a green way.

Jeans dyed blue by bacteria may soon be swaggering down the streets. Researchers have genetically modified bugs to churn out the indigo pigment used to stain denim. The process could be a greener rival to chemical indigo production.

Originally extracted from plants, indigo dye is now made from coal or oil, with potentially toxic by-products. Bacteria have previously been adapted as alternative indigo manufacturers, but a trace by-

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