The rise of 'omics' methods and data-driven research presents new possibilities for discovery but also stimulates disagreement over how science should be conducted and even how it should be defined.
Volume 6 Issue 4, April 2009
News & Views
The base-calling algorithm SNPSeeker detects single-nucleotide polymorphisms with frequencies that are below the error rate of the sequencing platform. It is thus well suited to analyze data from large pooled samples and find rare variants that may contribute to diseases or complex traits.
Long-term engraftment of hematopoietic stem cells into the bone marrow of a recipient depends on immunological compatibility between donor and host, or ablation of the host's immune system by irradiation. A 'universal recipient' mouse model now shows that mice that lack T, B and NK cells and bear mutations in the tyrosine kinase Kit accept any donor HSC without irradiation.
Neonatal desensitization allows long-term survival of neural xenotransplants without immunosuppression
Rats are desensitized to xenografts of human neural or embryonic stem cell–derived cells by exposure to the xenogeneic cells during the neonatal period. Brain grafts survive in immunocompetent rats without chronic immunosuppression, allowing long-term studies.
As an alternative to the use of radioactively labeled amino acids, incorporation of puromycin into proteins allows evaluation of translation in heterogenous cell populations by flow cytometry analysis after staining with an antibody to puromycin.
Complex three-dimensional structures on cellular surfaces are often damaged during high-resolution imaging of live cells. Now, hopping probe scanning ion conductance microscopy—which uses a hopping nanopipette that 'hops' instead of 'sliding'—protects surface structures from probe-induced damage.
Dense mapping of DNase I cleavage sites across the whole yeast genome by next-generation sequencing reveals a global view of the binding of regulatory proteins to genomic DNA. The high resolution allows the identification of new binding sites for known factors as well as the de novo derivation of factor binding motifs.
Amplification-free Illumina sequencing-library preparation facilitates improved mapping and assembly of (G+C)-biased genomes
The PCR step in the preparation of sequencing libraries for the Illumina Genome Analyzer can introduce coverage bias, especially in very (A+T)-rich genomes. By directly annealing template DNA to adapters with sequences needed for attachment in the flow cell, PCR can be omitted as cluster amplification in the flow cell enriches for fully ligated templates.
An automated system to measure aggression and courtship in pairs of interacting Drosophila is presented and should allow large-scale screens of these behaviors in the future.
From high-throughput electroporation platforms capable of transfecting thousands of different cells in a day, to nanowires that puncture and deliver DNA to just a single cell, new technology is emerging to help researchers with their changing gene delivery needs.