Tag Archives: RNA

Frederick Sanger: Gone and should not be forgotten

If you don’t know about Fred Sanger, it’s not surprising. He was a quiet man, far more interested in his work than in recognition. In today’s world of media hypertrophy, that work generally gets a one-column, three-inch obituary, or about fifteen seconds of airtime. Here’s a question. How many people have won more than one […]
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microDNA: A new piece of genetics puzzle

In the beginning the big discovery was the existence of DNA and RNA. Eventually more refined experiments and better equipment revealed that RNA in particular came in many forms and functions, for example, micro RNA (miRNA) for DNA regulation or piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) for transposon defense. So far there are 25-27 types of RNA. However, […]
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DNA nanosensors

Not all sensors are electronic, or at least if you expand the scope of sensor technology, measurement techniques (which is what sensor technology is about) can also be chemical or physical, among other things. In this case, the sensor is built from DNA and it’s called a DNA nanosensor. The idea behind this particular nanosensor […]
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lincRNA: A recently discovered RNA organizes stem cell differentiation

What makes a scientist’s heart go pitter-patter? Something like this: When the Broad team discovered more than 3,500 unique lincRNAs in the human and mouse genomes in 2009, “the potential was enormous, and we wanted to know what they could be doing.” [Source: Technology Review] Here’s the scenario: A team of researchers at the Broad […]
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Epigenetics and methylation: New DNA bases linked to protein

Adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine: These are the nucleobases, or just plain bases of DNA that in pairs called nucleotides carry the genetic code of life. There are four of them, right? At least that’s what most everybody learns. Of course, there is another base, uracil, which is found in RNA where it replaces thymine. […]
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Toward a new DNA: thymine out, chlorouracil in

Scientists have been twiddling with DNA for some time. While DNA may be the blueprint of life, it is not immutable (of course) and that means the hand of man likes to poke around in the mix. One kind of poking has been to see if one of the bases – adenine (A), thymine (T), […]
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Toward a universal flu virus vaccine

If the vaccine developed by a team at Oxford University (UK) passes successfully through all the phases of human testing, this will really be big news. As it is, it is an enormously hopeful development toward the control of human influenza (the flu) and the threat of pandemics. Fighting flu viruses is like going after […]
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Hoogsteen base pairs: An alternate structure in DNA

Reverse Hoogsteen base pairing…..Wikipedia Commons I know some of my biases. One of them is knee-jerk skepticism about taking little-tested scientific results and blowing them up to “…a cure for cancer” or “…revolutionize the electronics industry.” However, like most people I also have a bias to be curious about interesting, if somewhat unusual scientific findings. […]
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An odd couple: Arsenic and Life

It was unlikely that GFAJ-1 of the Halomonadaceae family of Gammaproteobacteria would grip the imagination; but it did. Of course, it did because instead of the long scientific name or the cryptic GFAJ-1, it was simply called Alien Life! This, of course, caused a minor sensation. It was even covered by the non-science media. The […]
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The shape of the genome influences genetics

Fission yeast genome……Credit: Wistar Institute It looks like a loose ball of yarn, as in the picture above. In fact, it’s the genome of a common yeast (S. pombe). The human genome spends most of its time in a ball something like this. The familiar “X” shaped chromosomes occur only at the time of cell […]
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