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.

Waves make bug break point

Sloshing proteins help bacteria find their waists.

Chemical waves may help a bacterium to divide by pinpointing its middle, according to a new model of protein interactions 1 .

Bacteria such as Escherichia coli multiply by dividing. Bacterial division (called binary fission) is simpler than human cell division (mitosis). Human cells erect scaffolding to transport components to the two nascent daughter cells at either end; bacteria just pinch in two.

Tracking Stem Cells Implanted Into A Living Animal

Using tiny rust-containing spheres to tag cells, scientists from Johns Hopkins and elsewhere have successfully used magnetic resonance imaging to track stem cells implanted into a living animal, believed to be a first.

In the December issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology, the research team report that the neuronal stem cells take up and hold onto the spheres, which contain a compound of iron and oxygen. The iron-laden cells create a magnetic black hole easily spotted by magnetic resonan

Another nanobrick in the wall

Chemists make the world’s smallest building blocks.

US researchers have made the world’s smallest building blocks. The nanocubes are just a millionth of a millimetre (a nanometre) across 1 . Stacked like bricks, they could make up a range of materials with useful properties such as light emission or electrical conduction.

Many chemists are currently trying to develop molecular-scale construction kits in which the individual components are single molecules to

Cluttered Surfaces Baffle Echolocating Bats

When it comes to locating a meal, insect-eating bats generally employ one of two foraging tactics: capturing prey in the air or snatching it from a substrate. Accordingly, the animals use different kinds of echolocation during these activities. Whereas aerial hunters tend toward longer calls with constant frequency, substrate-gleaning species generate short calls that sweep from low to high frequencies (FM echolocation). Less clear, however, is how effective the latter is at distinguishing the prey i

Cells’ generators star in action movie

American Society for Cell Biology Meeting, Washington, December 2001

Microscope captures mitochondria bopping to a beat.

An intricate mesh of tubes wiggle, worm-like across the screen. “They’re speeding,” says Tim Richardson proudly, watching mitochondria, the cell’s energy generators, zoom around the cell. His controversial microscopic method is shooting the cell’s innards as they’ve never been seen before.

Live cell imaging has revolutionised cell biology over th

Muscle is plastic fantastic

American Society for Cell Biology Meeting, Washington, December 2001

Stem cells’ fates are a multiple choice.

A single stem cell from adult mouse muscle can form enough blood cells to save another animal’s life – and still switch back to making brawn, researchers announced at the Washington meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology this week.

Stem cells found in mashed up muscle can migrate into the bone marrow and make blood cells 1 . Muscle

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