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Microbiome May Have Shaped Early Human Populations

Vanderbilt mathematician Glenn Webb and NYU microbiologist Martin Blaser propose that the microbes which live on our bodies may have influenced the age structure of human populations in prehistoric times.

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Amount of Mitochondrial DNA Predicts Frailty and Mortality

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New research from The Johns Hopkins University suggests that the amount of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) found in peoples’ blood directly relates to how frail they are medically. This DNA may prove to be a useful predictor of overall risk of frailty and death from any cause 10 to 15 years before symptoms appear.

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‘Radiogenetics’ Seeks to Remotely Control Cells and Genes

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It’s the most basic of ways to find out what something does, whether it’s an unmarked circuit breaker or an unidentified gene — flip its switch and see what happens. New remote-control technology may offer biologists a powerful way to do this with cells and genes. A team at Rockefeller University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is developing a system that would make it possible to remotely control biological targets in living animals — rapidly, without wires, implants or drugs.

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Signaling Mechanism Could Be Target for Survival, Growth of Tumor Cells in Brain Cancer

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UT Southwestern Medical Center neurology researchers have identified an important cell signaling mechanism that plays an important role in brain cancer and may provide a new therapeutic target.

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New Theory Suggests Alternate Path Led to Rise of the Eukaryotic Cell

Known as the “inside-out” theory of eukaryotic cell evolution, an alternative view of how complex life came to be was published recently in the open access journal BMC Biology.

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New Studies Power Legacy of UW-Madison Research, 60 Years Later

Dave Pagliarini, a UW-Madison assistant professor of biochemistry, recently published two studies shedding more light on coenzyme Q and how it’s made, one in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) in October and another today in Molecular Cell.

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Turning Biological Cells to Stone Improves Cancer and Stem Cell Research

Near-perfect replications of human and animal cells enables improved study of certain cancers and stem cells, as well as the creation of complex durable objects without machinery.

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Heat-Shock Protein Enables Tumor Evolution and Drug Resistance in Breast Cancer

Long known for its ability to help organisms successfully adapt to environmentally stressful conditions, the highly conserved molecular chaperone heat-shock protein 90 (HSP90) also enables estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers to develop resistance to hormonal therapy.

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See T-Cells Kill Cancer, Proteins Spin in Space, and Cells Heal their Wounds as ASCB’s Celldance Releases Three Eye-Popping Microscopic Video Blockbusters

Three “Tell Your Own Cell Story” videos commissioned by Celldance Studios, a.k.a. the ASCB’s Public Information Committee premiere online from the 2014 ASCB/IFCB meeting in Philadelphia on Monday, December 8. All three are streamable and downloadable. www.ascb.org/celldance-2014

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An Unholy Alliance—Colon Cancer Cells in situ Co-Opt Fibroblasts in Surrounding Tissue to Break Out

In work to be presented at the ASCB/IFCB meeting in Philadelphia, researchers from the Institut Curie in Paris report that they have evidence of a coordinated attack on the basement membrane of human colon cells by cancer cells in situ and CAF cells in the extracellular matrix that begins long before the actual translocation of cancer cells.

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