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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-20-2011
NewScientist reported this week on a University of California research study that analyzed the genes of 3,000 pairs of friends looking for genetic differences or similarities that might indicate a genetic predisposition for certain types of friendships.
The study found that close friends share similarities in the DRD2 gene and are less likely to share similarities in the CYP2A6 gene.
Here’s how the story was reported on ABC News:
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1011687108
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-12-2011
One of the biggest challenges for any scientist is to ensure that their experimental model of choice actually mimics natural biological circumstances. While it is one thing to conduct research in a test tube or cell culture dish it is quite another to translate those results into human biology. It is therefore imperative for scientists to choose a research model that most closely resembles its scaled up reality.
Over the past decade, the field of proteomics has experienced exponential growth. With the rise of technologies such as protein crystallography, protein arrays and surface plasmon resonance more information can be gathered on a proteomic-wide scale than ever before. Nonetheless, most proteomic experiments are conducted in-vitro often after protein extraction and clean-up techniques in an environment that is far removed from their cellular milieu. Under such circumstances, one must wonder how biologically relevant results techniques such as protein-protein interaction actually are. In fact, in a recent story published in Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN), staff writer Celia Arnaud describes the often overlooked effect of protein crowding on proteins function and stability.
According to the article, when proteins are packed into a cell (as is often the case under natural biological conditions), excluded-volume effects occur, which means that many things happen simply because molecules occupy space. This circumstance is often compensated on the bench with the addition of chemical agents such as Ficoll, however this is not an ideal way to replicate protein crowding and will not necessarily replicate biochemical conditions found in the cell.
According to Martin Gruebele, a chemist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “Eventually, people will expect that a complete protein data set includes in-cell or crowded studies of various kinds, in addition to the current aqueous buffer data. This is clearly where things will shift in the next five to 10 years.”
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-03-2011
Welcome to a new year! I hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays with family and friends and that you’re all geared up for a great 2011.
I’ve been receiving dozens of messages from wordpress (the publishing platform used to power the American Biotechnologist blog) that many of the plugins and themes used on the American Biotechnologist were out of date. As any good molecular biologist would have done, I listened to my gut which told me that if it aint broke, don’t fix it. (Isn’t that how molecular biology works? If you get your best transfection results Tuesday afternoons at five while wearing a pink labcoat and blue nitrile gloves, you wouldn’t dare transfect cells under any other conditions.) Nonetheless, the warning messages of vulnerabilities in the site and necessary “emergency fixes” started eating at me and so, this weekend I bit the bullet and gave the site a thorough upgrade. All of this happened behind the scenes and hopefully you won’t notice any difference to the look, feel and functionality of the site (I didn’t). However, if you do come across any abnormalities such as links not working or strange things appearing on your screen please email me or send me a message using the comment section.
As always, if you have ideas or suggestions for improving the blog or topics you would like us to cover (or if you are interested in doing a guest post) please let us know! I look forward to your comments!
Securing financing for these competitions and for the time-honored local science fair has become increasingly difficult because of the poor economy, organizers say. Sponsors have dropped out of local science fairs, while some schools are scaling back extracurricular activities, including science programs, because of state budget cuts.
We at the American Biotechnologist feel that science fairs are an important part of science education and that they are useful in shaping the goals and aspirations of student interested in science. Please help us increase the public’s awareness of the poor state of science fair funding by voting yes for more funding for science fairs and education. If you’re really keen to help, please leave a comment with your institution and city showing your support.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-30-2010
More than 220 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes, a disorder that can lead to a series of complications and metabolic disorders arising from interactions among multiple proteins. The obese/diabetic mouse serves as an excellent model for the study of diabetes and its metabolic implications for drug discovery and targeted therapies. Bio-Rad Laboratories has developed a novel mouse 8-plex immunoassay to measure a selection of common metabolic biomarkers and a singleplex immunoassay for adiponectin. These metabolic biomarker immunoassays may be multiplexed with Bio-Plex Pro cytokine assays such as IL-6 and TNF alpha to extend the biomarker profile. The assays are based on Bio-Plex Pro magnetic COOH beads, which allow the implementation of automated wash steps using the Bio-Plex Pro wash station to improve efficiency and precision. The performance of these mouse metabolic biomarker assays was evaluated for specificity, sensitivity, precision, and accuracy. In addition, linearity of these biomarkers was demonstrated in mouse serum, plasma, and cell culture medium. Click on the technical note below to read more about the mouse diabetes multiplex metabolic biomarker assay and to learn how it can help you with your diabetes research.