Where the RNA Is Situated Matters

Knowing just where RNA is expressed in a cell may be getting easier, a new study reports. Single cells are dynamic, with variable functions, even within the same tissue, that have consequences for the health of living organisms. Biologists studying single cell activity and function are making progress, but current methods are unable to pinpoint the location of RNA molecules within the cell. RNA is transcribed from underlying DNA, but unlike DNA, which is static, RNA is dynamic, translated at different levels cell by cell depending on cell function. Understanding RNA location within a cell would provide scientists a clearer picture of differences in cell types among neighboring cells.

Read more about this research from the 27 February issue of Science Express here.

[Video courtesy of Wyss Institute and Harvard Medical School. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Mammals Fight Viruses with RNA After All

Whether mammals mirror plants and use a pathway called RNA interference to squash viruses has been highly debated, but now, two studies show that indeed, some mammalian cells do. This discovery could provide a brand new way to study the control of viral pathogens in mammalian hosts.

Read more about this research from the 11 October issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of S.W Ding and O. Voinnet. Click the image for more information.]

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Course with Web-Based and Hands-On Experiments Wins Science Prize

As a young student in Estonia, Margus Pedaste was very interested — and quite brilliant — in biology. Wanting to improve on how biology is taught, Pedaste worked with the Science Created by You (SCY) project, which is funded by the European Union, to help create a course module called the ECO mission. Because of its effectiveness as a teaching tool, the mission, an investigation of ecosystems that involves Web-based and hands-on experimentation, has won the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction.

Read more here.

[Image courtesy of Margus Pedaste. Click the image for more information.]

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Did You Know…?

Click to watch the slideshow.

Did you know…that the size of a single whole-embryo imaging experiment is comparable to that of the entire book collection of the U.S. Library of Congress?

“Advanced light-sheet microscopes can record dozens of terabytes of data and millions of high-resolution images per day,” writes P.J. Keller in a Review article for the 7 June 2013 special issue of Science on developmental biology that discusses new imaging techniques that will allow developmental activity to be visualized at short or long temporal scales and at ever expanding tissue depths. “The size of a single whole-embryo imaging experiment obtained with this methodology is comparable to that of the entire book collection of the U.S. Library of Congress.” Understanding morphogenesis as a function of cell behavior remains an important goal in biology, though achieving it has been challenging due to the numerous spatial and temporal scales on which morphogenetic events, like cell-to-cell and tissue interactions, operate.

To learn more, see Science’s special issue on developmental biology here and the report here.

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Science Prize Goes to Computational Biology Course

High-school students who experience a seven-week computational biology course called Quantitative Trait Mapping participate in ongoing research being conducted at the Center for Genome Dynamics at the Jackson Laboratory. Some of the students, those who participate in the module as part of a longer, two-semester course, have their results published in peer-reviewed journals. One was invited to share her results at a White House Science Fair. A number of students have moved toward research careers and credit the course with getting them started.

In this video, courtesy of the Jackson Laboratory, Gary Churchill, Ph.D., and Susan McClatchy of the Jackson Laboratory’s Center for Genome Dynamics talk about educational outreach to high school and undergraduate students.

Read more in the 31 May issue of Science here.

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Science Prize Goes to Undergrad Course that Incorporates Faculty Research

A Stanford biology class that involves undergraduates in their instructors’ research and has been shown to engage students much more effectively than standard lab classes has been awarded the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction (IBI).

Read more about this article from the 29 March issue of Science here.

[Video by Eric Koziol]

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Masterminding Mitochondrial Fission

image

Mitochondria are best known for their energy-generating roles in cells, but their ability to undergo fission and fusion and to move around is also very important. Defects that hamper this ability have been implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases. A new study sheds light on how mitochondrial fission occurs near the endoplasmic reticulum, or ER.

Read more about this research from the 25 January issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Farida Korobova & Henry Higgs. Click the image for more information.]

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Flipping the Switch that Arms a Bacterium

Photorhabdus luminescens bacteria, carried in the gut of nematodes, can be switched from a friendly to a formidable form with a small genetic rearrangement. Vishal Somvanshi at Michigan State University and colleagues show that this flipped switch is enough to arm the bacteria with toxins. When the nematodes penetrate an insect host, they regurgitate the killer bacteria, which kill the insect and provide the nematodes with a nutrient-rich meal.

Read more about this research from the 6 July issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Alexander Martin. Click the image for more information.]

© 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Special Section on Computational Biology

Advances in computing power are giving us new insights into the mechanisms of life. Four Reviews in this issue describe how scientists are using models to simulate biological processes. Also, a News story in this special section looks at how physiological ecologists who design computer models to predict how animals handle heat are forecasting the effects of climate change.

Read more about this research from the 13 April issue of Science here.

[Click here for caption information.]

© 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

The Root of Resistant Malaria in Southeast Asia?

Researchers have identified a particular region on a chromosome in P. falciparum — a major malaria parasite — that helps to explain how such parasites in Southeast Asia are developing resistance to the current generation of artemisinin-based drugs. Currently, artemisinin-based combination therapies represent the first-line treatment in nearly all countries where malaria has become endemic. But, emerging resistance to these therapies has recently been confirmed in western Cambodia and western Thailand.

Read more about this research from the 6 April issue of Science here.

[Photo provided by Tim Anderson; click the image for caption information.]

© 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.