"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sour Genes and a Happy K-Hole 

Researchers seem to have identified the proteins responsible for how mammals taste sour things. That's pretty cool, but not as cool as Utah researchers reconstructing what seems to be an ancestral Hox gene in mice. They found that the 'ancestral' Hox1 gene could take the place of both the modern Hoxa1 and Hoxb1 genes in mice, and this is being touted as 'reversing evolution.' Obviously, that last bit is media hype, but it's still a really very cool experiment.

In another cool gene discovery, UIUC researchers seem to have found the genes responsible for planaria's amazing regenerative abilities. It seems that a Bruli RNA binding protein is responsible for maintaining stem cell renewal - without it, the stem cells all differentiate and regeneration ceases. Understanding how this all works could be key to making stem cell therapy worthwhile in humans.

The club drug ketamine, also known as horse tranquilizer, seems to be useful in treating depression. Researchers have found that an IV dose of the drug led to almost immediate relief of depression symptoms in highly treatment resistant patients. What's really cool here is that ketamine is totally different than current antidepressants: instead of acting on Serotonin or Dopamine levels by blocking reuptake, it acts on Glutamate by antagonizing the NMDA receptor.

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