We are delighted to welcome Prof Lester Drewes (University of Minnesota) and Prof Richard Keep (University of Michigan) to their new positions as co-Editors-in-Chief of Fluids and Barriers of the CNS, working alongside Hazel Jones (King’s College London, UK).
Lester Drewes is Professor and Head of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth Medical School. Prof Drewes is a leading expert known to many researchers in the blood-brain barrier field. He is founding President of the International Brain Barriers Society (IBBS), a forum for scientists to share their research and fast track discoveries related to the blood-brain barrier, and he also initiated the Cerebrovascular Biology meetings currently held every other year. His …
Nobel prizes can sometimes set me a-wondering what the point in journals is. One of the most well-known Nobel-winning papers, that of Watson & Crick, was published in Nature – sixty years ago – without peer review (readers of Science's recent so-called 'sting' on Open Access and peer review might want to take note of the fact that Nature is not, nor has it ever been, an Open Access journal).
Reverse to the trigger-happy antics at Nature, which generally did not bother with peer review in the 1950s (and when it did, viewed a bit of a chinwag in a Pall Mall gentleman's club to be up to the task), was the Journal of Experimental …
It is estimated that in a single mammalian cell the median copy number of an mRNA is 17 molecules, with the dynamic range spread over four orders of magnitude. At the same time, an average microRNA can recognize as many as 400 target sites, and has to be able to do so equally effectively for both those mRNA species that have only a few copies and those that have a few thousand copies in the cell. Our understanding of this highly dynamic regulation network therefore depends to a high degree on our ability to accurately quantify microRNA.
Of the three major approaches to RNA quantification, microarrays and RT-PCR suffer from the same ailment: they are …
Urban birds wake earlier due to the suppression of melatonin production finds new research published in Frontiers in Zoology today. This suggests that birds living in urban environments could become desynchronized with the light-dark cycle which affects daily behaviour as well as annual breeding cycles.
It is known that urban birds are affected by artificial light at night, and have been observed to begin daily activity earlier and breed sooner in the year when living in urban environments. However, little has previously been known about the physiological mechanisms underlying this unusual behaviour.
Working on a hunch that the hormone melatonin, which is often associated with daily biological rhythms, may be involved, researchers …
With great fanfare comes great cynicism, and so it should: science is built on a tug-of-war between novel claims and kneejerk skeptism, and the probity that follows. When a sound bite leaked out of last year's ENCODE publications, of which Genome Biology was a participatory journal, that '80% of the human genome has a function', evolutionary biologists were cynical all right, and they took to the journals to say so.
While some of the disagreement hinged on the semantics of the word 'function', a key sticking point was the scientific validity of declaring a stretch of the genome functional when there is no evidence for evolutionary constraint on its constituent DNA sequence. In other words, how …
On April 25, Genome Biology published an interview with Raymond Gosling, who took the famous Photo 51 upon which Watson & Crick's model of DNA's double helix was based. Gosling had worked closely with Rosalind Franklin, whose contribution to the discovery is now rightly celebrated. However, he had initially been recruited to the project by John Randall, head of the MRC Biophysics Unit at King's College London, where the research took place.
Gosling expressed his disappointment at the lack of recognition Randall has received for his role in the discovery, and emphasized that this omission was the most important message he wanted to convey to Genome Biology's readership.
After publishing the interview, Genome Biology was contacted by …
Following our spectacular special issue on plant genomics (which you can re-live here), July brought another set of amazing articles with a broad, if unintentional, underlying RNA-esque theme.
All tissues, all ages
We kicked off with a study from Alvis Brazma and colleagues, who analyze gene expression across 21 different human tissues and cell lines, finding that the majority of genes have only one dominant transcript. It seems that news about the death of the ‘one gene = one protein’ paradigm was greatly exaggerated.
The topic of tissue-specific expression returned in work from Nadav Ahituv and Katherine Pollard’s labs, in which the authors perform a smart in vivo screen of all 4,096 unique …
Genome Biology recently published a Correspondence article that argued for a bigger uptake of PacBio’s SMRT sequencing platform. We debated the issues arising in a Twitter chat, showcased here.
Tomorrow (July 31), Genome Biology will host the #SMRTseq Tweet chat on PacBio's SMRT sequencing platform, as discussed in detail in this earlier blog post.
To give budding Tweet chattees food for thought before letting rip on their keyboards, Biome (BioMed Central’s new online magazine) has posted a Q & A with Rich Roberts, lead author on the Genome Biology Correspondence article upon which the Tweet chat is based.
In the Q&A, Roberts explains why he decided to evangelize on behalf of SMRT technology (he has no personal interest in PacBio), and comments on how he sees the sequencing wars playing out in the future. He also tells us why the work for …
Many of the enteric protozoa are dangerous parasites found in a diverse range of animals. One of them, Entamoeba hystolytica, causes colitis and dysentery in humans and affects half a billion people across the planet. However, despite its genome having been sequenced nearly a decade ago (see this article in Nature in 2005), we still don’t understand some of the most important aspects of this parasite’s life.
Entamoeba‘s life cycle comprises two phases: it proliferates inside its host during the first one, while in the other it turns into a non-dividing multinucleate cyst. Cyst formation is absolutely essential to Entamoeba‘s survival, and yet it is a process that we are unable to study in this important human …