Archive by category | Disciplines

Special focus on genome instability

Special focus on genome instability

The March issue of Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology presents a web focus on genome instability. The integrity of the genome is crucial for tumour suppression and for the propagation of genomic information to subsequent generations. DNA damage can result from cellular metabolism, exogenous genotoxic agents or routine errors in DNA replication and recombination. To combat these attacks and maintain genome integrity, cells have evolved a response system that induces cell cycle arrest, allowing sufficient time for DNA repair by specialized proteins. The DNA damage response system activates the appropriate DNA repair pathway or, in the case of irreparable damage, induces apoptosis. The special focus contains research highlights, review articles, a journal club and a NPG library of related articles. There is also a brief editors’ summary of the contents.  Read more

Nature Genetics on conclusion by exclusion

Nature Genetics on conclusion by exclusion

“Science is a way to distinguish things we know not to be true from other things. Large challenges lie ahead as we apply the scientific method to understanding biochemical systems, cellular organization and the functions of complex organs such as the brain.” So begins the February Editorial in Nature Genetics (42, 95; 2010). If the success of the early years of molecular biology can be attributed to the simplicity of the problems to solve, combined with rigorous experimental design including disprovable hypotheses and decisive experiments, what of todays immensely more complex scientific landscape and greatly increased number of scientists, not to mention orders of magnitude more computer power? Are we better equipped to generate, experimentally test, and choose or discard competing hypotheses?  Read more

Synthetic systems biology, ten years on

Synthetic systems biology, ten years on

Synthetic biology goes beyond classic genetic engineering as it attempts to engineer living systems to perform new functions not found in nature. Ten years ago, Nature published a pair of seminal papers that stimulated ‘systems biology’ thinking in the field. The journal has now collected these papers, together with other, more recently published articles and an accompanying free podcast and video, as a web focus on ‘Synthetic systems biology’.  Read more

RNA silencing: first in NSMB series of web features

RNA silencing: first in NSMB series of web features

During 2010, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology is publishing a series of quarterly web features devoted to diverse areas within the journal’s scope. The first of these is on RNA silencing. Since initial observations indicating that small RNAs can mediate this process, silencing has come to be recognized as a key means of gene regulation, participating in a variety of processes across species. Still, research into small RNA-mediated regulation and the scope of this regulation, as well as its role in disease, continues to yield new insights and surprises. The NSMB Web Focus on RNA silencing comprises a core collection encompassing a specially commissioned Perspective; recently published Research Articles covering a range of current topics in the field; and a library that brings together additional recent advances in the field published at NSMB and other Nature journals.  Read more

Nature Biotechnology focus on synthetic biology

Nature Biotechnology focus on synthetic biology

The December 2009 issue of Nature Biotechnology focuses on synthetic biology, in a special feature (subscription) containing news, opinion, comment and research articles on the topic. The focus discusses some of the progress in synthetic biology towards practical applications, as this latest iteration of genetic engineering, although still in its infancy, offers the prospect of the design and construction of new life forms from biological parts, devices and systems. If, however, you aren’t sure exactly what synthetic biology is, Nature Biotechnology asked 20 specialists for their definitions, so you can take your pick.  Read more

Nature Insight on biomaterials

Nature Insight on biomaterials

Biomaterials research has come of age, write Nature journal editors Rosamund Daw and Stefano Tonzani in their introductory Editorial (Nature 462, 425; 2009, free to access online) to the latest Insight collection, Biomaterials. Since antiquity, the editors write, humans have been taking whatever substances are at hand — natural materials, glass, metals or polymers — and using them to replace body parts that have been damaged by disease or injury. But it is only recently, with the advent of molecular biology, that the field has become interdisciplinary, enabling materials scientists to design materials that impart a specific biological function. The field of biomaterials is also broadening as we improve our understanding of how the physical sciences can help to explain biology and indeed of how biological principles, mechanisms and molecules can be applied in the design of materials for non-biological applications.  Read more

Nature Medicine classics collection

In 2010, Nature Medicine will celebrate 15 years as the leading translational-research journal. To mark this anniversary, the journal has launched the Nature Medicine Classics Collection. This collection brings together some landmark articles published in Nature Medicine over the past 15 years, making them freely available to all readers together with a series of recent articles on different fields of biomedicine to illustrate the breadth of the journal.  Read more

Two views of the Lindau Nobel chemistry laureates’ meeting

Each year since 1951, young researchers and Nobel laureates have gathered on the shores of Lake Constance for a unique scientific conference. In 2009 the meeting was dedicated to chemistry, and laureates and students all came away enriched by their experiences. Martin Chalfie, one of the three recipients of the 2008 Nobel prize in Chemistry, reports what they learned from each other in the November issue of Nature Chemistry (1, 586-587; 2009) He writes:  … Read more