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Of Interest

Our 12 Favorite Science Podcasts

Whether you’re doing a quick Miniprep or labeling hundreds of PCR tubes, listening to science podcasts can help keep you sane, entertained, and informed! With so many podcasts out there, we’ve pulled together this list of twelve great options: 1. 60-Second Science (1 – 2 minutes, updated weekdays) This Scientific American podcast offers quick news about…

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Mysterious miRNAs: An Introduction to MicroRNAs

mRNA, miRNA, siRNA, tRNA, rRNA! Just what do all these RNAs do? Most biology graduates will have heard a good deal about mRNAs, tRNAs and rRNAs since these are vital players in protein synthesis. For siRNAs there has been a lot of focus within drug discovery and biomedical research over the last decade, but there…

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How to Manipulate Plasmid Copy Number

So far in this series, we have looked at origins of replication, we’ve discussed how plasmid replication is regulated in the popular pBR22 plasmid, and we’ve seen how a disturbance of this regulatory mechanism has given rise to the high-copy pUC18 plasmid. Are you ready for more plasmid talk?? If so, keep reading, as we…

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pUC18 – Probably the Best High-Copy plasmid in the World!

Today I would like to introduce you to pUC18, a plasmid most noted for its high copy number. In the first article in this series, we talked about how origins of replication (ori) control plasmid replication and copy number. To learn about this, we focused on the pBR22 ori and the role of Rop protein in…

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Article Series: E.coli Plasmid Origins of Replication: The Origin

The literature is bursting at the seams with information about plasmids, sequences, origins of replication and more, and it can be overwhelming to sift through everything (at least for me!) when all you want is to find out a simple fact about your plasmid of choice!! This series of 3 articles aims to take a…

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Analyzing Apoptosis – A Review of Analytical Techniques

Now that we’ve learned about the role of apoptosis in good health and disease, it will be useful to know how we can detect apoptosis in cells or organisms. A variety of apoptosis detection kits are commercially available, and here is a roundup of how they work: TUNEL and DNA damage assays The TUNEL assay…

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Apoptosis Gone Wrong: Cell Death’s Role in Disease

Like yin and yang, apoptosis has a duality.  While it is is a pathway used in the normal maintenance and development of tissues in healthy organisms it also had a dark side. As you can imagine, apoptosis is a tightly regulated process – controlled by the integration of multiple pro- and anti-apoptotic signals. Ultimately the induction…

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Life or Death? Apoptosis in Healthy Organisms

Everybody has to die at some point. But fortunately, the death of a cell does not mean the end of the organism, at least for us metazoans. Indeed, controlled cell death a.k.a apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is an integral part of the biology of all organisms, from nematodes on up. Apoptosis is central to…

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Ready to commercialise your research? Bioincubators are worth considering

Finding adequate sources of funding is the primary challenge of just about any startup company, and biotechnology is no different. In fact, the regulatory, scientific and logistical requirements of making a new drug or device could easily be the most challenging of any industry. In addition, the global recession of 2007-2009 (combined with austerity measures…

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Don’t Miss Bioconference Live…

It’s that time of year again…time for BioConference Live! The 6th Annual Life Sciences BioConference Live virtual event kicks off September 12-13, then will be available on-demand for three months following. This free online-only event will bring scientists from all around the world together exclusively online, to learn about the latest advances in life sciences and topics…

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Telling Time On Your Biological Clock

It is not uncommon for scientists to work irregular hours: starting very early in the morning to have all lab equipment for yourself, and/or continuing until late at night. Next to increased productivity (at least that’s what we think … read on!), what are the other consequences of screwing up your biological clock? Body rhythms…

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BioConference Live: a Free Online Conference for Life Scientists!

It’s that time again: BioConference Live is hosting its (free!) virtual life science conference next week. This two day, all-online event brings speakers on a huge variety of topics right to your desktop and is a great way to catch up with the latest and greatest in the life sciences without having to travel further…

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Around The Blogs

Around The Blogs is a continuing series where we bring you interesting stories – from biology to technology, and beyond. In this edition we have a brief update on how the recent US national budget agreement might affect science, an introduction to journal retractions, an important technological birthday, a poisonous rat and 3-D printing. The…

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Biotech Innovation Will Find a Way

I often find myself knee-deep in biotech industry reports, newsletters, industry journals, news, social media and analysis. Every communication piece and organization takes a slightly different angle on summing up the current state and future viability of our industry, but I find a common thread in each. Considerable Opportunity All parties tend to agree that…

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Free Online Bioconference, Astronaut Included

Back in November 2009, we told you about a ground-breaking new concept from the people at BioconferenceLive – a whole three day conference, complete with lobby, exhibitor booths and great presentations, held entirely online. Suzanne and I were  “there” (in a virtual sense), attending some of the talks and manning the Bitesize Bio booth, and…

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A Facelift, Questions and World Class Seminars

We have been working furiously for the past 6 months to bring you a new, improved and dramatically upgraded Bitesize Bio. And now we are now ready to share. So what’s in the new version? The first thing you’ll notice is the facelift. But the new logo and colors are just the start. The site…

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A role for cannabinoids in slowing down HIV

We all are very familiar with the effects of cannabinoid receptor stimulation on the body. Relaxation, pain relief, and increased appetite probably come first to mind. These psychoactive effects result from activation of  the CB1 receptor found on cells in the brain by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But there is another receptor, called CB2, that can bind THC and other…

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The Best of Bitesize Bio 2009

Before we get our brains fully back into gear after the festive season and embark on what we hope will be a momentous year for Bitesize Bio (watch this space, we’ve got some cool stuff in store), we thought this would be a good time to look back at the best articles we published in…

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PARP-1 Inhibition: A Bench to Clinic Success Story?

Recently, someone very close to me went through chemotherapy for a fairly common yet very scary cancer. One night as we were going over her treatments and how they were going to affect the rest of her body I compared our cancer treatments to using the biggest hammer possible, hitting a building and hoping that…

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Admirable Maggots?

Any dedicated consumer of historical fiction or costume-epic movies knows that maggots applied to festering wounds by a folk healer will save the protagonist when all seems lost. Why we don’t use maggots in Western medicine? Well, some of us do.

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The Role of the FDA in Molecular Diagnostics

When was the last time you had to give blood or a swab sample for a test, such as for a cold or flu, or some other virus? Have you ever wondered about the accuracy of the test results? If the test is FDA approved, then you can rest easy knowing that the test went…

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Are You Armored?

Are you tired of having to clean dingy, moldy waterbaths? Or tired of babysitting the heat block to make sure the temperature stayed where you set it? Well there is a new solution to this problem. I just recently discovered something called Bath Armor by a company called Lab Armor. I was walking by my…

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A Stephen Jay Gould Highlight Reel

With it almost being Darwin Day, it seems only right to review a book on perhaps the best popularizer of evolutionary biology in the 20th Century, Stephen Jay Gould.

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Around The Blogs

Our highlights from the blogosphere this week include cloning woolly mammoths, the logistics of tissue culture entertainment and Google’s efforts to save the world. Back from the dead. Sandra Porter at Discovering Biology in a Digital World covers the recent cloning of some long frozen mice by a Japanese group, which could take us one…

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Gates Foundation Innovations on Funding Science

All fields in Science thrive on fresh ideas that contest accepted theory. Yet, researchers seeking funded face ever greater competition for limited funds – funds that are overly wedded to safe, unadventurous research.

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Assessing the Bitesize Bio Experience

With the new design for Bitesize Bio, I thought it appropriate for a re-assessment of what blogging here means to me. Nick started this site as a blog for molecular biology, with a bit of a dream to turn it into a community for aspiring molecular biologists. By providing a mix of personal development, technique…

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Evolution of Lager Yeasts

For something a bit more on the fun side, at least if you enjoy a pint of beer now and then – a genomic-based study has reconstructed the origins by hybridization of the lager yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus, published in the journal Genome Research [Press release]. For thousands of years, ale-type beers have been brewed with…

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A Presidential Candidate on Science Policy

What do Obama’s responses tell us about him and his support of scientifically-sound policies? Well, not necessarily that he is personally good on science – but he does apparently know how to hire decent scientific advisers, and listen to them. That is huge.

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Polarity, Diffusion, and Cellular Aging

Two recent articles provide the theoretical and experimental proof that polarity and asymmetry are reducible to something as simple as diffusion – even in a complex cellular process such as aging.

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Science as Culture

Dan shares some commentary on a review of the World Science Festival by Lawrence Krauss. At its core, science is a cultural phenomenon, complete with social customs. There are some differences between the culture of science and other cultures however…

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Sir Paul Nurse on Information in Biology

In an opinion piece in Nature, Sir Paul Nurse suggests that we supplement reductionism with studying the information content in cells. Take a look at the modern version of holism in biology.

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Ignorance and Democracy

Catching up on the news after being away for two weeks – Lawrence Krauss had short comment in the New Scientist, Stop creationists undermining school science. The very quote-worthy punchline being: Say that you are in charge of developing a state-wide high-school curriculum in French-language studies, and that you need the advice of a group…

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More on the Promise of Biomedical Breakthroughs

Following up on my post last week about Emerging Biomedical Technologies and their Promise, Nature had a timely editorial in last week’s issue. In Broken Promises, the article describes precisely the phenomenon that I was referring to: Intense public support for clinical research can be a mixed blessing – and the hunt for a vaccine…

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Emerging Biomedical Technologies and their Promise

Do you remember how around ten years ago, gene therapy was supposed to cure various inheritable diseases? Or how various discoveries herald the expected development of new vaccines (AIDS being a notable example)? Most scientists would agree that they try to ‘sell’ their research to publishers and foundations by exaggerating the importance of findings or…

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Zebrafish: Making Development Transparent

With the recent development of transparent Zebrafish, allowing scientists to directly view its internal organs, and observe processes like tumor metastasis and blood production after bone-marrow transplant, it seems appropriate to describe Zebrafish as a model organism.

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