Major insights into evolution of life reported by UCLA molecular biologist

By Stuart Wolpert — Humans might not be walking the face of the Earth were it not for the ancient fusing of two prokaryotes — tiny life forms that do not have a cellular nucleus. UCLA molecular biologist James A. Lake reports important new insights about prokaryotes and the evolution of life in the Aug. 20 advance online edition of the journal Nature.

Diarrhea disorder Giardiasis caused by two different parasite species

Researchers from Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institutet have found major genetic differences between the human variants of the intestinal parasite Giardia intestinalis. Sequencing of the genomes using the latest technologies shows that people are infected by two different Giardia species, according to a study published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Jackson researchers build a better mouse (gene) trap

To fully explore complex genomic and genetic questions, researchers need better tools. A new microarray developed by scientists at The Jackson Laboratory and University of North Carolina can capture the full spectrum of genetic diversity in laboratory mice, enabling the kind of genome-wide association studies in mice that have been successful in human populations.

Understanding Intrinsic Changes in Protein Shape Could Lead to New Drugs, Pitt Scientists Say

PITTSBURGH – Computational biologists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have shown that proteins have an intrinsic ability to change shape, and this is required for their biological activity. This shape-changing also allows the small molecules that are attracted to a given protein to select the structure that permits the best binding. That premise could help in drug discovery and in designing compounds that will have the most impact on protein function to better treat a host of diseases.