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New biocompatible microparticles created with heat, light
March 16, 2020 -- A new simple and scalable protein-processing technique based on temperature-sensitive phase changes creates unique microarchitectures within microparticles for use in drug delivery and other bioengineering applications, according to a study published in Nature Communications on March 12.  Discuss
Shortage of RNA extraction kits threatens coronavirus testing
March 13, 2020 -- The weak link in the U.S. response to diagnostic testing for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 could be a shortage of RNA extraction kits. Fortunately, suppliers of RNA purification kits are working overtime to get more kits into circulation, according to Alice Kan of Strategic Directions International.  Discuss
New lung cancer biomarker could significantly improve patient outcomes
March 12, 2020 -- A new protein has been identified on tumor-derived extracellular vesicles that indicates if a lung tumor is likely to metastasize, according to research published in Science Advances on March 11. A minimally invasive biomarker test to catch cancer early could significantly improve patient outcomes.  Discuss
Low Pittcon attendance doesn't deter from quality program
March 11, 2020 -- Attendance was down at last week's Pittcon conference in Chicago, but organizers of the meeting for laboratory scientists may actually have been lucky that their show took place at all, given the wipeout of science and health meetings in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.  Discuss
Gene amplification can be responsible for functional innovation in bacteria
March 10, 2020 -- Researchers have gained a greater understanding of how gene amplifications rapidly tune levels of gene expression when gene regulation is required but when no other molecular regulatory mechanisms are in place. This research was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution on March 9.  Discuss
New machinery digests toxic proteins to protect DNA replication
March 9, 2020 -- Researchers have identified molecular machinery that helps repair damaged DNA that occurs during DNA replication and transcription. This work, published in Nature Communications on March 9, reveals how specific enzymes "eat" or break down proteins that cause broken DNA.  Discuss
Chemists develop method to identify protein neighbors
March 6, 2020 -- A new technology called µMap uses photocatalysts, molecules that spur a chemical reaction when activated by light, to identify spatial relationships of cell surface proteins. The results are described by scientists from Princeton University and Merck in the March 6 edition of Science.  Discuss
Bacteria survive by possessing multiple genes to uptake the same amino acid
March 5, 2020 -- Researchers have long known that the uptake systems in clonal cells can differ based on their environments. Scientists reported their observations of this amino acid uptake pathway in bacteria for the first time in a new study published March 5 in Nature Communications.  Discuss
Zigzag DNA provides insight into chromosome organization
March 4, 2020 -- New Z-loops -- DNA folded into a zigzag structure and guided by essential condensin proteins -- have been caught on camera for the first time. The results of the study provide insight into the organization of chromosomes and were published in Nature on March 4.  Discuss
New coronavirus puts focus on the science of naming new viruses
March 3, 2020 -- What's in a name? Possibly a lot, when it comes to determining how to name new virus species based on genetic characteristics. The initial confusion over the naming of the novel coronavirus indicates that the scientific community still has work to do when defining the proper taxonomy of viruses, according to an article published in Nature Microbiology on March 2.  Discuss
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