Archive by category | General Interest

Some resources and tools related to noncoding RNAs

In ‘Meet some code-breakers of noncoding RNAs,’ the technology feature in the February issue of Nature Methods, we speak with a few scientists about the path ahead in methods for characterize the noncoding RNAs.  Read more

Computable sugars: some computational resources in glycoscience

Glycoscience is sweet science

As glycoscience advances, labs will increasingly want to ask questions about glycosylation sites on a protein or the structure of a sugar, says Raja Mazumder, a bioinformatician at George Washington University. They might ask for example: are there glycosyltransferases that are expressed in liver but not in the heart, or, which ones are overexpressed by a factor of three in more than two cancers. Such questions require infrastructure building, he says, because right now there is no mechanism to allow such queries. But he and others are building such capabilities. Mazumder along with William York at the University of Georgia are starting to build a glycoscience informatics portal.  Read more

DIY Biolabs – and why they matter

When proponents of Do-it-yourself Biology  explain their motivation for getting involved in the movement  they often resort to colorful imagery. Take for example Patrick D’haeseleer who helps organize the Counter Culture Labs in the San Francisco Bay Area. He asks, “When the first village tamed fire, the neighboring village was freaking out. Should only the village elders be allowed to make fire or should we teach everybody?”  “Any new technology has risk, but it behooves us to have all citizens know how these technologies work and what the risks are. “ he continues, “ the technology needs to be democratized because it will dominate the 21th century.”  … Read more