Four nucleotides just aren't enough these days.

DNA, the molecule underlying every form of life on this planet, is in essence a very long chain of sugar and phosphate molecules connected end to end ('long' being a relative term, of course - a molecule 5 centimeters long is gargantuan when you take into account the fact that it's only about 2.4 billionths of a meter in diameter). Each link in the chain is called a nucleotide, and is comprised of one of four possible compounds, adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. Adenine bonds with thymine and cytosine to guanine; each pairing has two possible orientations, for example A-T …

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Genetically modified cells reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease in rats.

Biomedical researchers at the Harvard Medical School have made an interesting discovery while working with rats that had, for all intents and purposes, developed Alzheimer's disease - genetically modified rat cells that produce a protein that breaks up amyloid-beta plaques in the brain can reverse the progression of the disease. At least in part (thus disclaimed because this isn't really my field of expertise), Alzheimer's disease is caused by masses of a protein called amyloid-beta that interfere with the normal operation of neurons in the brain, causing the functionality of neural networks to degrade. There is, however, a protein called neprilysin …

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Former US Surgeon General has a few choice comments about American politics.

Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as Surgeon General of the United States of America between 2002 and 2006 has gone public with some of the problems he had after his appointment by the Bush administration, and it looks like censorship, control, and politicking were the driving force behind a lot of policies and not medical research and science. Dr. Carmona went before a committee in the House of Representatives yesterday, and went on the record in stating that he was censored in many ways by the current regime, including the editing of his speeches by aides who were idealogically closer …

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For some reason, this reminds me of a filk song...

Geneticists at the University of Nevada have spent the past seven calendar years working on producing viable chimaerae, hybrid organisms of human and nonhuman natures. The project's most remarkable success to date was announced yesterday: A sheep that is 15% human by cell count. That's right - one tenth of its cellular makeup is from an unknown specimen of homo sapiens sapiens. During gestation, cells from an adult human were injected into the peritoneum of a sheep fetus, which allowed the cells to be integrated through the course of foetal development.

The purpose behind these experiments are the eventual development of …

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