Highlights of the BMC-series: July 2012

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July has been a fantastic month for the BMC-series! The sun has finally shone on our London offices after weeks of rain, we have our first video highlight, Darwin the puppy made two appearances on the BMC Genetics homepage (see more below) and we published the following great articles. Oh and there’s some sporting event in town.

Cell Biology: Nuclear envelope assembly needs MeCP2

Loss of methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) reduces cell proliferation and is linked to an accompanying ecrease in lamin levels as shown in a new study published in BMC Cell Biology. This indicates that MeCP2 may be part of omplexes involved in attracting heterochromatin at the nuclear periphery.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Hawthorn may help lower cholesterol

There has been an increase in plant-based complementary and alternative medicines for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia but models to allow thorough investigation of these were lacking. This has been addressed with a novel zebrafish model, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which shows that  hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata, decreases intravascular cholesterol levels and improves cardiac output, indicating that it may be an effective treatment for the condition.

Video of the month:

Time lapse footage showing the programmed cell death of Aponogeton madagascariensis (Madagascan lace plant) leaves from a study in BMC Plant Biology. Further information on the images seen can be found in the accompanying blog.

Ecology: Penguins learn to cope with human disturbance

King penguins living in areas of chronic human disturbance are less stressed by noise compared to those living in undisturbed areas as shown in a study published by BMC Ecology. Vincent Viblanc, the lead author commented “Our findings … emphasize the importance of considering potential effects of human presence in ecological studies” which is further discussed in our accompanying blog.

Genetics: Taking a lead in the genetics of dog disease

Darwin the puppy got his moment to shine when highlighting a commentary by Elaine Ostrander and Holly Beale on a new study in BMC Genetics reporting the first use of microRNA sequencing for disease-associated candidate gene analysis in dogs. This article and the accompanying blog highlight how canine models can be a powerful tool for identifying disease-causing mutations.

Pediatrics: A family literacy program encourages reading

Providing books to families with newborns increased the amount of time that mothers spent engaged in literacy-based activities with their infants, as shown in a study in BMC Pediatrics. This suggests that family literacy programs can encourage parents to read to their babies, hopefully leading to a future generation of  BMC-series blog readers!

 

To keep up to date with all the latest developments across all aspects of biology and medicine published in the BMC-series, follow our blog, twitter feed @BMC_series, individual journal homepages in your research area, or visit our new YouTube channel. For more exciting updates, be sure to revisit the highlights blog next month!