Time-resolved analysis and visualization of dynamic processes in living cells.
Recent development of in vivo microscopy techniques, including green fluorescent proteins, has allowed the visualization of a wide range of dynamic processes in living cells. For quantitative and visual interpretation of such processes, new concepts for time-resolved image analysis and continuous time-space visualization are required. Here, we describe a versatile and fully automated approach consisting of four techniques, namely highly sensitive object detection, fuzzy logic-based dynamic object tracking, computer graphical visualization, and measurement in time-space. Systematic model simulations were performed to evaluate the reliability of the automated object detection and tracking method. To demonstrate potential applications, the method was applied to the analysis of secretory membrane traffic and the functional dynamics of nuclear compartments enriched in pre-mRNA splicing factors. (+info)
Cloning and embryonic stem cells: a new era in human biology and medicine.
The cloning of mammals using adult cells as nuclear donors has been achieved and the same procedure can be, at least theoretically, used to clone humans. Another recent technological advance, the derivation of human embryonic stem cells, opens up new possibilities in cell and tissue replacement therapy and heralds significant improvements in gene therapy. Besides suggesting new and potentially valuable medical applications, the insights gained through the use of these techniques could significantly enrich our understanding of basic mechanisms regulating human development. On the other hand, these preliminary results are viewed by many as the opening of the Pandora's box and there are loud voices clamoring that research in these areas be forbidden in perpetuity. I suggest in the following article that at present we do not know enough to make anything but an entirely emotional decision about future applications of these techniques. I try to summarize the current state of the kn owledge in the field and indicate how much further research is necessary if benefits and drawbacks are to be properly understood. (+info)
Chemical biology: the promise, and confusion, of adolescence.
It takes time for any new scientific discipline to gain momentum, and chemical biology is no exception. But with the formation of new training programs and interdisciplinary departments, the changes are coming. (+info)
DBcat: a catalog of 500 biological databases.
The DBcat (http://www.infobiogen.fr/services/dbcat ) is a comprehensive catalog of biological databases, maintained and curated at Infobiogen. It contains 500 databases classified by application domains. The DBcat is a structured flat-file library, that can be searched by means of an SRS server or a dedicated Web interface. The files are available for download from Infobiogen anonymous ftp server. (+info)
Database resources of the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
In addition to maintaining the GenBank(R) nucleic acid sequence database, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) provides data analysis and retrieval and resources that operate on the data in GenBank and a variety of other biological data made available through NCBI's Web site. NCBI data retrieval resources include Entrez, PubMed, LocusLink and the Taxonomy Browser. Data analysis resources include BLAST, Electronic PCR, OrfFinder, RefSeq, UniGene, Database of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (dbSNP), Human Genome Sequencing pages, GeneMap'99, Davis Human-Mouse Homology Map, Cancer Chromosome Aberration Project (CCAP) pages, Entrez Genomes, Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COGs) database, Retroviral Genotyping Tools, Cancer Genome Anatomy Project (CGAP) pages, SAGEmap, Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) and the Molecular Modeling Database (MMDB). Augmenting many of the Web applications are custom implementations of the BLAST program optimized to search specialized data sets. All of the resources can be accessed through the NCBI home page at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov (+info)
Teaching experimental design to biologists.
The teaching of research design and data analysis to our graduate students has been a persistent problem. A course is described in which students, early in their graduate training, obtain extensive practice in designing experiments and interpreting data. Lecture-discussions on the essentials of biostatistics are given, and then these essentials are repeatedly reviewed by illustrating their applications and misapplications in numerous research design problems. Students critique these designs and prepare similar problems for peer evaluation. In most problems the treatments are confounded by extraneous variables, proper controls may be absent, or data analysis may be incorrect. For each problem, students must decide whether the researchers' conclusions are valid and, if not, must identify a fatal experimental flaw. Students learn that an experiment is a well-conceived plan for data collection, analysis, and interpretation. They enjoy the interactive evaluations of research designs and appreciate the repetitive review of common flaws in different experiments. They also benefit from their practice in scientific writing and in critically evaluating their peers' designs. (+info)
Theoretical biology in the third millennium.
During the 20th century our understanding of genetics and the processes of gene expression have undergone revolutionary change. Improved technology has identified the components of the living cell, and knowledge of the genetic code allows us to visualize the pathway from genotype to phenotype. We can now sequence entire genes, and improved cloning techniques enable us to transfer genes between organisms, giving a better understanding of their function. Due to the improved power of analytical tools databases of sequence information are growing at an exponential rate. Soon complete sequences of genomes and the three-dimensional structure of all proteins may be known. The question we face in the new millennium is how to apply this data in a meaningful way. Since the genes carry the specification of an organism, and because they also record evolutionary changes, we need to design a theoretical framework that can take account of the flow of information through biological systems. (+info)
The past, the future and the biology of memory storage.
We here briefly review a century of accomplishments in studying memory storage and delineate the two major questions that have dominated thinking in this area: the systems question of memory, which concerns where in the brain storage occurs; and the molecular question of memory, which concerns the mechanisms whereby memories are stored and maintained. We go on to consider the themes that memory research may be able to address in the 21st century. Finally, we reflect on the clinical and societal import of our increasing understanding of the mechanisms of memory, discussing possible therapeutic approaches to diseases that manifest with disruptions of learning and possible ethical implication of the ability, which is on the horizon, to ameliorate or even enhance human memory. (+info)