Choreography, not molecular prepattern, creates vertebrate building blocks

In a study that combines state-of-the-art biological imaging with gene expression analysis, scientists at the California Institute of Technology have uncovered a fundamental insight into the way embryonic cells and tissue move about to form key structures along the vertebrate axis. The study, which could lead to a better understanding of human development, takes advantage of the accessibility of chick embryos to embryonic manipulation. The study enters on segments known as somites, which form along either side of the future spinal cord of an embryo. Somites give rise to mature structures such as ribs, individual vertebrae, and even skin. The key role of somite segmentation in the patterning of the nervous system and the vertebral column has been long known. But the question of precisely how an individual somite buds off from a block of tissue in a pattern that is repeated all along the animal’s torso, from head to tail, is poorly understood.

No Difference Between Ionized Bracelet and Placebo for Pain Relief

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic say that wearing ionized bracelets for the treatment of muscle and joint pain is no more effective than wearing placebo bracelets. Authors of the published study randomly assigned 305 participants to wear an ionized bracelet for 28 days and another 305 participants to wear a placebo bracelet for the same duration. The study volunteers were men and women 18 and older who had self-reported musculoskeletal pain at the beginning of the study. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew which volunteers wore an ionized bracelet and which wore a placebo bracelet. Bracelets were worn according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Both types of bracelets were identical and were supplied by the manufacturer, QT, Inc.

MIT, HP team on massive digital archive

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology today announced the worldwide launch of DSpace, a massive digital repository system which will capture, store, distribute and preserve the intellectual output of MIT’s faculty and research staff. Developed jointly by the MIT Libraries and the Hewlett-Packard Co., DSpace will transform how MIT distributes and archives the results of its research, and will serve as a model for other universities and institutions with similar needs.

Researchers Develop Chemical Switch to Control Biomolecular Motor

Researchers have created a tiny motor that they can turn on and off at will, bringing scientists one step closer to using such devices to repair cellular damage, manufacture medicines and attack cancer cells. As reported in this month’s Nature Materials, the researchers have developed a chemical switch that gives them control over a biomolecular motor just 11 nanometers, or 11 billionths of a meter, in size ? hundreds of times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Researchers Propose Devices To Control The Motion Of Magnetic Fields

Researchers say the biological motors that nature uses for intracellular transport and other biological functions inspired them to create a whole new class of micro-devices for controlling magnetic flux quanta in superconductors that could lead to the development of a new generation of medical diagnostic tools. As integrated circuits become smaller and smaller, it becomes increasingly difficult to create the many “guiding channels” that act like wires to move electrons around the circuit components.