Monthly Archives: April 2014

How to model a cat – and how not


Writing in 1945 on the role of models in biology, Arturo Rosenblueth and Norbert Wiener (founders of cybernetics, arguably a precursor of today’s systems biology) said, “The best material model for a cat is another, or preferably the same cat”. In a review in BMC Biology, Jeremy Gunawardena revisits the topic and confronts again the… Read more »


Genome regulation: it’s the geometry, stupid!

transcription factories

The emerging realization that cells modify the three dimensional arrangement of DNA in order to regulate the genome is changing the way that scientists think about how and when genes are expressed. A new study in Genome Biology goes so far as to show that information about the shape of the genome is sufficient on… Read more »


Beyond the Headlines: HIV in the news


HIV research has made headlines around the world recently, featured significantly in the science and health sections of many leading media outlets, including the BBC, the Guardian and the New York Times.   ‘Early treatment ‘cures’ second US HIV-positive baby’ BBC News 6 March The first news story comes from an AIDS conference in Boston,… Read more »


A golden jubilee for histone acetylation

Turner pic 2

Written by Professor Bryan Turner, University of Birmingham, UK The May 1964 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, contained a paper entitled “Acetylation and methylation of histones and their possible role in the regulation of RNA synthesis” by Allfrey, Faulkner and Mirsky, working at the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University)… Read more »


Eggs are for science, not just for Easter


Eggs are a staple part of our diet. But is there more to them than being tasty and full of protein? We take a look at their potential uses, and the recent findings researchers are frying up. No eggs were harmed during the writing of this blog. Easter approaches, and with Easter we usually find… Read more »


Genetics link found in search for sweet strawberries

Holding strawberries

This post by Madeleine Martiniello looks at findings from two new papers on strawberries published in BMC Genomics today, and is republished with kind permission from The Conversation. If you’ve ever bitten into a strawberry and wondered why it doesn’t taste as sweet or as good as others in the punnet, you could blame the fruit’s genetics. Two… Read more »


Farm animals are more intelligent than they seem

Credit to Brian Squibb (35)

Following on from our post last month about research into the intelligence of goats, we asked one of the authors of the article, Elodie Briefer, to tell us more about why she studies goats and what is was like to carry out the research. Here’s what she had to say… My main research interests are… Read more »