Biology times : My new blog

Biology Times is my new blog address. Hope to see you all @ Biology times.

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My article in PLoS Genetics : Hox – TALE interactions in Drosophila

Hox genes encode homeodomain (HD) containing transcription factors widely used for diversifying animal body plans in development and evolution. Hox genes were first discovered in Drosophila and subsequently isolated in almost all known metazoans on this planet.

Hox proteins play an vital role in early patterning along the anterio-posterior axis in all animals.These Hox proteins exhibit some unique properties and different Hox proteins perform some specific functions. In Drosophila , Hox proteins are present in two clusters ,totaling to eight in number.

The sequence divergence of Hox proteins, including within the HD that constitutes the unique DNA binding domain of the Hox transcription factors, allows Hox paralogue proteins to display distinct regulatory functions, promoting axial morphological diversification in all bilaterian animals. Continue reading

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Mysterious world of RNAs: CIRCULAR RNAs Regulating MicroRNAs

The world of RNAs does not seems to stop surprising us, latest being CIRCULAR RNAs controlling gene expression. Continue reading

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Survival of the prettiest: Sexual selection can be inferred from the fossil record

Detecting sexual selection in the fossil record is not impossible, according to scientists writing in Trends in Ecology and Evolution this month, co-authored by Dr Darren Naish of the University of Southampton. The term “sexual selection” refers to the evolutionary pressures that relate to a species’ ability to repel rivals, meet mates and pass on genes. We can observe these processes happening in living animals but how do palaeontologists know that sexual selection operated in fossil ones? Continue reading

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Time lapse video – the blooming of a rose

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Multiple sclerosis study reveals how killer T cells learn to recognize nerve fiber insulators

Misguided killer T cells may be the missing link in sustained tissue damage in the brains and spines of people with multiple sclerosis, findings from the University of Washington reveal. Cytoxic T cells, also known as CD8+ T cells, are white blood cells that normally are in the body’s arsenal to fight disease.

Multiple sclerosis is characterized by inflamed lesions that damage the insulation surrounding nerve fibers and destroy the axons, electrical impulse conductors that look like long, branching projections. Affected nerves fail to transmit signals effectively. Continue reading

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A snapshot of pupfish evolution in action

Chris Martin has bred more than 3,000 hybrid fish in his time as a graduate student in evolution and ecology at UC Davis, a pursuit that has helped him create one of the most comprehensive snapshots of natural selection in the wild and demonstrated a key prediction in evolutionary biology.”We can see a surprisingly complex snapshot of natural selection driving the evolution of new specialized species,” said Martin, who with Professor Peter Wainwright published a paper on the topic in the Jan. 11, 2013, issue of the journal Science. Continue reading

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DNA prefers to dive head first into nanopores

In the 1960s, Nobel laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes postulated that someday researchers could test his theories of polymer networks by observing single molecules. Researchers at Brown observed single molecules of DNA being drawn through nanopores by electrical current and figured out why they most often travel head first. Continue reading

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Molecular 'Two-Way Radio' Directs Nerve Cell Branching And Connectivity

Insect research yields insights for muscle control and nerve disorders in mammals, including humans.Working with fruit flies, Johns Hopkins scientists have decoded the activity of protein signals that let certain nerve cells know when and where to branch so that they reach and connect to their correct muscle targets. The proteins’ mammalian counterparts are known to have signaling roles in immunity, nervous system and heart development, and tumor progression, suggesting broad implications for human disease research. A report of the research was published online Nov. 21 in the journal Neuron. Continue reading

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Scientists join forces to bring plant movement to light

Elementary school students often learn that plants grow toward the light. This seems straightforward, but in reality, the genes and pathways that allow plants to grow and move in response to their environment are not fully understood. Leading plant scientists explore one of the most fundamental processes in plant biology—plant movement in response to light, water, and gravity—in a January Special Issue of the American Journal of Botany.

Plant movements, known as tropisms, are crucial for plant survival from the second a plant germinates to how a plant positions its flowers for pollinators and seed dispersal. Continue reading

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