Following in Darwin’s footsteps on his 202nd birthday

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In celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday on the 12th February, BMC Evolutionary Biology shows how his work on natural and sexual selection continues to have relevance in the 21st century. 152 years have passed since ‘On the Origin of the Species’ was published amidst huge controversy and since then his theories have found widespread acceptance worldwide.

However, despite the significant advances made in the field of natural selection some of his key observations regarding the effect of geography on the evolution of  bird populations continue to be reflected in current research.

This month BMC Evolutionary Biology publishes work on this topic by Clementina González and colleagues. Their article focuses on the importance of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the …

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Wrangling in RANKL

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Recent reports have suggested that inhibition of RANK ligand (RANKL) – essential in the development of osteoclasts – may also play a role in the management of proliferative breast disease, and that inactivation of the RANK receptor in the mammary epithelium can result in decreasing cases of medroxyprogesterone acetate mammary cancer. Breast Cancer Research has published two viewpoint articles that explain how and why these results are important in controlling this form of breast cancer.

In separate articles, Dr Russ Hovey, University of California Davis, USA, and Dr Cathrin Brisken, Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, Switzerland, analyse the findings of both reports, and agree that RANK and RANKL may have a key role in …

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Early-onset AD – a call for clinical trial inclusion

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a significant public health
burden and has huge devastating effects at an individual level. For over two
decades, an arbitrary cut-off of age of 65 years has been
used to distinguish between the two phenotypes of early and late-onset AD and since the majority
of Alzheimer’s disease patients develop late-onset AD, most clinical trials address
this population, resulting in many of those with early-onset AD being excluded.

In a review article recently published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy as
part of a new review series on early-onset dementia, Kinga Szigeti and Rachelle
Doody discuss whether early-onset AD patients should be included in clinical
trials. Despite the fact that …

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Hundreds log on for BioMed Central’s sCMOS technology webinar

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BioMed Central hosted the hugely successful “Neo sCMOS – Harnessing the full performance potential of Scientific CMOS Technology” webinar on Thursday 20th January 2011. Hosted in partnership with Andor Technology plc, a world leader in scientific imaging and spectroscopy solutions, 395 attendees from 31 countries logged on to the free event which showcased the new Neo sCMOS camera

The 60-minute interactive webinar was hosted by Dr. Colin Coates, Product Manager at Andor Technology plc. More than 195 questions were submitted by attendees inspiring a lively, fascinating discussion about the revolutionary technology. 

Since the close of the event, a vast number of non-attendees have been logging on to http://insitu.stream57.com/harnessing/ where you can access the full session. 

The webinar introduced the …

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BMC Research Notes launches a new thematic series on data standardization, sharing and publication

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Following our call for contributions to BMC Research Notes on data standards, sharing and publication, the journal and this initiative have received considerable attention from the research community. Today we launch this series of educational articles, as we publish the first of the numerous manuscripts we have received since September.

This new article by Tony Mathys and Maged Boulos gives an overview of the geospatial resources available for the health research community and public health sector to help them manage and share their data. It joins our previously published Data Note by Andrew Vickers and Angel Cronin and our editorial call for contributions in the series.

The series, supervised by our guest Editors …

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Daphnia genome sequence complete

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Genomics charts new territory today – your nearest pond – with the publication of the water-flea (Daphnia pulex) genome sequence in Science. Intriguingly, the diminutive water-flea contains at least 31,000 genes – more than have so far been found in any other animal – and the genome release marks the first crustacean genome to be completed. Daphnia’s high gene number is thought to arise from rapid duplication of genetic material. Project leader, John Colbourne said: "We estimate a rate that is three times greater than those of other invertebrates and 30 percent greater than that of humans."

As the water-flea is already a model organism for ecology, toxicology and evolutionary biology, the Daphnia genome allows these disciplines to move …

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Dynamic evolution of Daphnia

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Marking today’s publication of the genome of Daphnia pulex in Science, a commentary in
BMC Biology by Diethard Tautz, tackles the issue of why and how this diminutive water flea has many more genes than any other animal genome
sequenced so far. An ongoing process of gene duplication and retention appears  responsible for this, and as many of the recent duplicates show differential
expression in response to different environmental challenges, selection for
specific adaptations to Daphnia’s ever-changing aquatic environment must
have an important role.  However,
arguments for the adaptive value of new genes are insufficient, on their own,
to explain a rate of duplication that is estimated as three times that of other
invertebrates. Tautz proposes that the …

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Bacteriophage T4 – A series of critical reviews

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Bacteriophage T4, a virus that infects E.Coli, has played key roles in some of the major advances in the molecular biology field including the identification of the chemical nature of the gene, elucidating the mechanism of DNA replication,  discovering that genes code for proteins, and even deciphering how the genetic code is read. Virology Journal has published its first thematic series,  Bacteriophage T4 and its relatives (a series of critical reviews), to highlight the latest advances in T4 biology, focusing on four areas of research: genomics, gene expression, DNA replication and phage morphology.

T4 –related phages are found in marine environments where they exert control of the ecosystem through their interaction with their host bacteria. …

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Two years of Genome Medicine

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Since its launch in January 2009, Genome Medicine has acted as a forum for reporting and discussing  some of the most exciting research in the evolving field of genomic medicine. To mark its second anniversary, the section editors of Genome Medicine collaborated to produce an Editorial in which they review some of the breakthroughs made in the field over the last two years.

This perspective piece discusses advances in translational medicine, personalized medicine, technologies, bioinformatics and disease management and therapeutics. The editors comment on the strengths and limitations of current research and the direction in which the field of genomic medicine is heading.

We have no doubt that researchers around the world will continue to generate intriguing …

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Biological Procedures Online is now publishing with BioMed Central

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Biological Procedures Online, an open access journal focusing on improving access to techniques and methods in the medical and biological sciences, has today published its first articles with BioMed Central.

“We are excited to inform all previous and future contributors, as well as our readers, that Biological Procedures Online has been transferred to the open access publisher BioMed Central, a powerhouse for the timely publishing of articles in online journals”, says Shulin Li, Editor-in-Chief, in his inaugural Editorial.

Biological Procedures Online publishes articles that feature step-by-step protocols that allow researchers to implement methods in "cookbook" fashion at the bench top. The journal is interested in work from innovators in the field of biology who have either successfully overcome technical …

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