Genes That Control Embryonic Stem Cell Fate Identified

Scientists have identified about two dozen genes that control embryonic stem cell fate. The genes may either prod or restrain stem cells from drifting into a kind of limbo, they suspect. The limbo lies between the embryonic stage and fully differentiated, or specialized, cells, such as bone, muscle or fat.

By knowing the genes and proteins that control a cell’s progress toward the differentiated form, researchers may be able to accelerate the process — a potential boon for the use of stem cells in therapy or the study of some degenerative diseases, the scientists say.
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Excellent animation explaining the mechanism of RNAi technology

This superb animation from Youtube explains the RNA interference mechanism that recently won the Nobel prize for its discovery. The original video is from the journal Nature.

Designer RNA fights high cholesterol

Small, specially designed bits of ribonucleic acid (RNA) can interfere with cholesterol metabolism, reducing harmful cholesterol by two-thirds in pre-clinical tests, according to a new study by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in collaboration with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In a study that appears online today and in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that a single dose of a small interfering RNA (siRNA), a chemical cousin of DNA, lowered cholesterol levels up to 60 percent in rodents, with the effects lasting for weeks.

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