Monday, March 22, 2010

Dominant transposases, becoming famous for your lab mistakes and more, in my Picks of the Week from RB.

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.

Note that I'm only taking into consideration the molbio-related blog posts aggregated under "Biology".

Congratulations to everyone who got their post selected.

Transposable elements can greatly influence the structure and dynamics of the genomes they populate. Class 2 transposable elements or DNA transposons, are mobile genetic units that move using a single or double-stranded DNA intermediate. Moselio Schaechter at Small Things Considered comments on a recent Nucleic Acids Research paper reporting that transposases, enzymes involved in the movement of these genetic units, appear to be the most prevalent and abundant set of genes in nature (or at least in our genomic databases).

Everyone has made mistakes at the lab. In fact, you can check hundreds of them in Twitter under #scienceconfessions or #scifubar. Setting things on fire and throwing nasty solutions down the sink are part of the history of every lab. But what if a particular “mistake” turns out to have a tremendous influence on your field? Michele Arduengo at Promega Connections talks about “Sloppy Technicians and the Progress of Science” using the history of Hela cells and cytogenetics as an example.

In addition to these posts, this week I’m launching “honorable mentions” for Picks of the Week. Posts under this category will only be linked to and quoted, but not summarized.

This week’s honorable mention goes to Lucas Brouwers at Thoughtomics, for his post entitled “On the Origin of Animals”.

“In a Nature paper published last month, a team of researchers used the conserved expression of microRNAs to piece together some information about a great-great grandmother of animals”

That's it for this week. Stay tuned for more MolBio Research Highlights!

ResearchBlogging.orgSome of the articles discussed in this week's selected posts:

Aziz RK, Breitbart M, & Edwards RA (2010). Transposases are the most abundant, most ubiquitous genes in nature. Nucleic acids research PMID: 20215432

Christodoulou, F., Raible, F., Tomer, R., Simakov, O., Trachana, K., Klaus, S., Snyman, H., Hannon, G., Bork, P., & Arendt, D. (2010). Ancient animal microRNAs and the evolution of tissue identity Nature, 463 (7284), 1084-1088 DOI: 10.1038/nature08744

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