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Latest Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Stories

2010-01-04 16:00:12

Metagenomics, the study of DNA isolated from samples of naturally occurring microbial populations, is rapidly growing. Improvements to cloning and sequencing techniques are allowing researchers to study microorganisms in environmental samples, and new knowledge of species interactions and community dynamics is emerging. The identification of microorganisms in these samples is of vital importance to interpreting the results of such studies. In the January issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols...

2010-01-04 13:19:53

A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has determined a hierarchical set of criteria that explain how the molecular precursors of gene-regulating small RNAs are sorted by the cellular machinery. Led by Benjamin Czech, a group working in the laboratory of CSHL Professor Gregory Hannon posed the question: can distinct patterns be observed in the process that unfolds when double-stranded RNAs enter the RNAi pathway? Shorthand for RNA interference, RNAi is a biological...

2009-12-02 11:26:54

Live cell imaging techniques are driving a revolution in biological research. Instead of viewing dead tissues and cells fixed at a particular stage of activity, scientists can now visualize dynamic changes as they happen, permitting a better understanding of biological processes. The revolution has been fueled by the implementation of genetically encoded fluorescent proteins, the subject of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry...

2009-11-12 11:34:00

A domain of the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor is mapped in exquisite detail A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) reports on Thursday their success in solving the molecular structure of a key portion of a cellular receptor implicated in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other serious illnesses. Assistant Professor Hiro Furukawa, Ph.D., and colleagues at CSHL, in cooperation with the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory, obtained crystal...

2009-11-09 14:41:47

Aggressive tumors lacking p53 protein stop dead in their tracks when p53's sister protein -- TAp63 -- steps in Oncologists have had their hands tied because more than half of all human cancers have mutations that disable a protein called p53. As a critical anti-cancer watchdog, p53 masterminds several cancer-fighting operations within cells. When cells lose p53, tumors grow aggressively and often cannot be treated. These tumors might be tough, but they're not invincible, suggests a new study...

2009-11-04 15:00:26

A chemical cousin of the common antibiotic tetracycline might be useful in treating spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a currently incurable disease that is the leading genetic cause of death in infants. This is the finding of a research collaboration involving Adrian Krainer, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and scientists from Paratek Pharmaceuticals and Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. SMA is caused by mutations in a gene called Survival of Motor Neuron 1...

2009-11-03 12:42:12

The introduction of high-throughput laboratory methods has greatly increased the pace of research into the genetics of complex diseases. Instead of focusing only on one or a few coding variants in a small sample of individuals, the ability to accurately and efficiently genotype many individuals and to cover more of the variation within individual genes has resulted in genetic studies with greater statistical power. "Laboratory Methods for High-Throughput Genotyping," from Howard Edenberg and...

2009-10-26 15:05:31

Gene copy number variations of the same region, 16p11.2, are already linked to autism An international team of researchers led by geneticist Jonathan Sebat, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), has identified a mutation on human chromosome 16 that substantially increases risk for schizophrenia. The mutation in question is what scientists call a copy number variant (CNV). CNVs are areas of the genome where the number of copies of genes differs between individuals. The CNV is located...

2009-10-02 08:54:45

Discovery could lead to treatments for learning and memory deficits, particularly Noonan's syndrome As most good students realize, repeated studying produces good memory. Those who study a lot realize, further, that what they learn tends to be preserved longer in memory if they space out learning sessions between rest intervals. Neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have now discovered how this so-called "spacing effect" is controlled in the brain at the level of individual...

2009-08-24 15:33:12

 A research team led by Associate Professor Jonathan Sebat, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has developed a sensitive and accurate way of identifying gene copy number variations (CNVs). The method, which is described in a paper published online ahead of print in Genome Research, uses new DNA sequencing technologies to look for regions of the genome that vary in copy number between individuals in the population. Capable of detecting a wide range of different classes of...