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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Neural Systems & Circuits; a forum for theory and experiment to interact.

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BioMed Central is pleased to announce the launch of a new open
access journal today, Neural
Systems & Circuits
, which will be under the leadership of
Editors-in-Chief Peter
Latham
and Venkatesh
Murthy

In the inaugural Editorial, the
co-Editors-in-Chief explain the need for a journal that encompasses all aspects
of circuit or systems level analysis, as the distance between theoretical and
experimental studies in neuroscience diminishes.  It is hoped that this
journal will foster communication between these two disciplines, allowing for a
greater understanding of the circuitry of the brain.  To this end, theory
papers will feature an introductory summary for the non-theorist.

The first articles published in Neural Systems & Circuits …

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Unravelling the complex genetics of Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common cause of non-traumatic neurological disability affecting young adults. Relatively little is known about the genetics of MS although a polygenic, multifactorial model of inheritance is implicated by epidemiological and genome-wide association studies. Prior to a recent collaborative study led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and Harvard Medical School, only a fraction of disease-related loci had been uncovered. The results of this new analysis were this week published by Genome Medicine.

In this study, Oksenberg and colleagues built upon the existing dataset and used logistic regression methodology to identify novel candidate genes associated with MS susceptibility.  The resulting genetic profile showed a significant enrichment of genes …

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Greg Petsko catches the world’s attention

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Ever since Genome Biology‘s inaugural issue 10 years ago, Greg Petsko (or his dogs) has contributed a monthly column in which he has given us his views on the state of genome science and science in general. He has rarely shied away from stating controversial opinions, and his column in October – which excoriates the Board of the State University of New York at Albany for closing whole departments for financial reasons – was no different.

Given the global economic crisis, university departmental closure is an issue that affects large numbers of people, and not just in the US. Indeed, a recent review of government spending in the UK has recommended swingeing cuts in university funding and has …

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New journal gives skeletal muscle scientists place to flex their open access muscles

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“I am fascinated by the molecular architecture and machinery of muscle cells, and I am constantly surprised by the number of cellular mechanisms that maintain muscle function. I am encouraged by these discoveries, too, because all of these mechanisms provide us with many possibilities for attacking the muscle disease.” So says Kevin Campbell, HHMI Investigator, Roy J. Carver Distinguished Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at University of Iowa, and 2009 recipient of the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology.

Kevin, together with Michael Rudnicki (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute) and David Glass (Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research), is co-Editor-in-Chief of Skeletal Muscle, a new journal focusing on exploring the molecular mechanisms which underlie a …

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