Monthly Archives: April 2014

A quick green screen for biorefinery enzymes

Wheat harvest

Cellulose and chitin are the most abundant polymers on Earth and their potential is vast for the biofuel industry. Cellulose is the major component of plant cell walls and its degradation into sugars is at the core of biofuels production. Chitin forms much of the shells of crustaceans, exoskeletons of insects and even butterfly wings… Read more »


The origin of blood-derived epigenetic cancer markers

Blood – Crystal (Crystl) from Bloomington, USA

Written by Dr Ivana Samarzija, University of Zagreb, Croatia Epigenetic processes have been unequivocally linked to cancer and other complex diseases. DNA methylation, a major epigenetic mechanism, is perturbed in cancer tissue in the way that global hypomethylation appears at the same time as hypermethylation at gene promoters. In addition to epigenetic studies on tumor… Read more »


Donating normal breast tissue – a gift to cancer researchers

Susan Clare

In this guest post, Dr Susan Clare of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and co-author of a recent paper published in Breast Cancer Research, writes about the importance of research on the ‘normal’ breast and what’s needed to allow this research to take place. Our limited understanding of the developmental biology and genetics of… Read more »


Guinea pig teenagers are highly domesticated

Guinea pig wikimedia

Unlike their human counterparts, adolescent guinea pigs  display highly domesticated behavior says a new paper published today in Frontiers in Zoology.  They have  reduced levels of cortisol (a hormone commonly associated with stress) and display less risk-taking behavior, in comparison with their wild relatives. Domestication of animals has been key to the success of humans… Read more »


Is cancer preventable? The role of diet and obesity


Cancer is a metabolic disease. So asserts a growing body of evidence, supported by twin pillars. On one hand is strong data from population studies showing that those with metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes, have altered risks of specific types of cancer. Elio Riboli, Director of the School of Public Health at Imperial… Read more »