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Engineered Proteins Will Lead to ‘Synthetic Biology’

Biochemists have developed a computational method to design proteins that can specifically detect a wide array of chemicals from TNT to brain chemicals involved in neurological disorders. In a paper in the May 8, 2003, issue of the journal Nature, they demonstrate the breadth of their design method, and also that such sensor proteins can be re-incorporated into cells to activate cellular signaling and genetic pathways.

Insight into the genetic pathways that drive segmentation like clockwork

Researchers are gaining new insight into the molecular players involved in the process of vertebral column formation in the embryo.
A research team has found evidence for an oscillator called the segmentation clock, a timing mechanism responsible for the periodic production of the somites (the precursors of the vertebrae) in the embryo. This group now reports that the Notch signaling pathway provides the backbone of the segmentation clock in the chick embryo. These findings are reported in the Jan. 12 Advance Online Publication of the journal Nature in a paper titled “Periodic Notch inhibition by lunatic fringe underlies the chick segmentation clock.”