Building maps of disease biology; Open Network Biology is now accepting submissions

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“The failure of
biology to identify the molecular causes of disease has led to disappointment
in the rate of development of new medicines.”
Derry et al. in
Nature Precedings

Understanding the complex interactions that underlie human disease is key
to developing better targets for new drug discoveries and more personalized
healthcare for patients. With the age of blockbuster
drugs coming to an end
, there is a growing need for open collaboration and
data sharing to continue progress in the fight against serious disease. Open Network Biology, a new journal from BioMed
Central that is now accepting submissions, aims to facilitate this goal by
publishing network-based models of living systems linked to the corresponding
coherent datasets upon …

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‘Beyond the Tree of Life’: a new thematic series

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The Tree of Life is a powerfully attractive representation of an evolutionary process and pattern that has been severely challenged by the discovery of extensive horizontal gene transfer in bacteria, archaea and other organisms.
 
To mark the 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, a new thematic series, ‘Beyond the Tree of Life’, has been published in Biology Direct. The articles in this series reflect on the future of Tree of Life studies in light of the challenges they face and the stimulus such challenges have offered to efforts to reconstruct a unique tree of evolutionary relationships.

Edited by Maureen O’Malley and Yan Boucher, the series brings together articles that …

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The mystery of myofascial trigger points

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Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes widespread bodily pain and extreme tiredness, and affects nearly 1 in 20 people. There is no current cure and the causes of the disorder are unknown, however treatments to help manage the symptoms can improve quality of life for the patients.  A theory which is as yet widely contentious amongst the medical community is that fibromyalgia-associated pain can be described in terms of myofascial trigger points (MTPs). These are areas of focal muscle tenderness and nodularity from which pain radiates, which can be either latent (in healthy individuals) or active (in fibromyalgia patients).

A research paper by Ge et al. recently published in

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‘Availability of supporting data’: crediting transparency and enhancing the literature

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BioMed Central supports initiatives aimed at promoting transparency and reproducibility in research, and we strongly encourage data sharing and publication. Submission of a manuscript to any BioMed Central journal has always implied that “readily reproducible materials described in the manuscript, including all relevant raw data, will be freely available to any scientist wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes.” In some biomedical fields, such as genomics, ecology and evolutionary biology, support is established or growing for even stronger requirements for the availability of data supporting published articles. We have developed improved article features and resources to support these communities’ requirements, to better link journal articles to underlying data, and to facilitate academic credit for data sharing.

Availability of supporting data article …

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GigaScience, Giga-database and now GigaBlog: new resources for the big-data community

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Guest blog post by the editors of GigaScience, which is now accepting submissions. This post has also been published on the GigaScience journal blog. As well as the journal website and blog you can also follow @GigaScience on Twitter.

As biological data is now produced faster than it can easily be handled and stored, the dissemination of this data has become a major bottleneck. GigaScience: a new type of journal from BioMed Central and BGI — no stranger to these issues being the world’s largest Genomics center — starts taking submissions today with the goal of addressing many of the issues surrounding “big-data”. Much of the rationale and features of the GigaScience journal and its associated database is presented …

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The first Chinese Rhesus macaque genome

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The Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is an Asian monkey that shares 93% of its DNA sequence with humans and, due to this similarity, is an important species for scientific study. Until now, work on the Rhesus macaque has largely focused on the Indian subspecies, but an article published in Genome Biology reports, for the first time, the genome sequence of a Chinese Rhesus macaque.

In the article, researchers from the BGI (China's premier genomics institute) and the Kunming Institute of Zoology identify millions of DNA sequence variations between the Indian and Chinese Rhesus macaque genomes, including 5.5 million one letter variations known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. A website to enable browsing of these SNPs …

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Treating rheumatic patients with comorbid conditions: unravelling the complexity

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Is it safe to use immunosuppressive drugs to treat a rheumatic patient with a past malignancy? How do rheumatic disease and kidney disease affect each other even when they are unrelated?  How should the increased risk of cardiovascular disease be managed in the treatment of lupus? These are just some of the clinical questions addressed in a new review series, Comorbid conditions in subjects with rheumatic diseases, published in Arthritis Research & Therapy.

Edited by Daniel Aletaha (Medical University of Vienna, Austria) and Thomas Dörner (Charite Humboldt University, Germany), this collection of review articles and accompanying editorial provide a comprehensive update on the challenges of dealing with comorbid conditions in rheumatic diseases, with the aim …

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More than one hundred BioMed Central journals now have impact factors

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The 2010 edition of Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports, released on June 28th 2011, provides further evidence that open access journals are delivering not only high visibility but also high rates of citation and impact.

Altogether, 101 BioMed Central journals now have official impact factors. 21 journals recorded their first impact factors this year. Meanwhile, among the 80 journals which already had impact factors, 53 increased while only 27 declined. The average change in impact factor was an increase of 0.20 points.

Some highlights:

BMC Medicine (IF 5.75) saw a huge jump in its impact factor and is now in the top 10% of journals in the General Medicine category
Retrovirology (IF 5.24), is now 4th of 32 in the Virology category, overtaking …

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Join BioMed Central at ISMB/ECCB

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Come and visit BioMed Central
at the upcoming 19thAnnual International Conference on Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology and 10th European Conference on
Computational Biology (ISMB/ECCB 2011)
, in Vienna 17 – 19 July, where we will be exhibiting at booth #11 right next door to our
colleagues from Springer in booth #12. Drop by the booth to catch up on the
latest news from BioMed Central and grab some giveaways.

The biannual ISMB/ECCB
conference is the largest conference on computational biology and brings
together the most influential figures in the field. The bioinformatics and
systems biology communities are continuing to support open access publishing
and as a result BioMed Central’s journal portfolio is growing. The conference
is …

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Linking diet and hormone exposure to breast cancer risk

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One-and-a-half million people worldwide were diagnosed with breast cancer last
year. In the UK, it is the most common form of cancer. Many studies have tried
to find the regions of the
genome that are associated with breast cancer risk, yet so far only a small
proportion of inherited cancers can be explained. A report
in the latest issue of Genome Medicine
identifies two genomic regions linked to breast cancer risk.

Ross
Prentice
and colleagues
from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, combined environmental information (such
as diet and history of hormone treatment) with genotype information for breast
cancer, both obtained from the Women’s Health Initiative
(WHI) clinical trial. They found that, by taking …

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