Highlights of the BMC-series: July 2012

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
(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 decrease in lamin levels as shown in a new
study published in BMC Cell Biology. This indicates that MeCP2 may be part of complexes involved in attracting
heterochromatin at the nuclear periphery.

Complementary and Alternative
Medicine: Hawthorn may help lower

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
zebrafish model
published in
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

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

Genetics: Taking a lead in the genetics of dog

Darwin the puppy
got his moment to shine when highlighting a
commentary by Elaine Ostrander and Holly Beale
on a new
study in BMC
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
. This suggests
that family literacy programs can encourage parents to read to their babies,
hopefully leading to a future generation of

 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
homepages in your research
area, or visit our new
YouTube channel. For more exciting
updates, be sure to revisit the highlights blog next month!



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