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In 2001, the DNA sequence was published of a combination of persons. The DNA sequences of Jim Watson, discoverer of the DNA’s double helix structure, followed in 2007, and later the DNA of gene hunter Craig Venter. Recently the completion of the sequences of two Yoruba Africans was announced.

Now geneticists of Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) in The Netherlands have determined the first DNA sequence of a woman - and also the first European. This has been announced by the researchers this morning, during a special press conference at ‘Bessensap’, a yearly meeting of scientists and the press in the Netherlands.

Following in-depth analysis, the sequence will be made public, except incidental privacy-sensitive findings. The results will contribute to insights into human genetic diversity.

Who is Marjolein Kriek?

When patches of red, flaky and itchy skin on newborn mice led rapidly to their deaths, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis looked for the reason why. What they found was a molecular alarm system that serves as a sentinel to monitor the integrity of skin — the body's essential protective barrier.

The fatal effects of raising this alarm in the lab mice suggests generally that certain kinds of impairments to the skin's structure can potentially trigger harmful effects in other areas of the body, according to the researchers.

The research team found that the mice's irritated skin produced an alarm signal in the form of a natural inflammatory substance called TSLP (thymic stromal lymphopoietin), which launched a massive overproduction of white blood cells and ultimately killed the mice.

There was no significant increase in the prevalence of obese children and teens in the U.S. between 1999 and 2006, in contrast to the increase that had been reported in prior years, according to a study in the May 28 issue of JAMA.

“In the United States, the prevalence of overweight among children increased between 1980 and 2004, and the heaviest children have been getting heavier,” the authors write.

Cynthia L. Ogden, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues updated the most recent national estimates of the prevalence of pediatric high body mass index (BMI). Height and weight measurements were obtained from 8,165 children and adolescents as part of the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which are nationally representative surveys of the U.S. population.

Poor blood vessel function is recognized as an early stage indicator of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. For more than 20 million Americans living with diabetes, these vascular impairments can eventually lead to heart disease and stroke, the cause of death for two-thirds of those who suffer from diabetes. Despite good diabetes control and medical treatment, adults with the disease often continue to experience vascular dysfunction. This has led scientists on a search for novel medical or nutritional options to improve the health and quality of life for people with diabetes.

Scientists funded by Mars, Inc. have determined that a cocoa flavanol-rich beverage made using the Mars Cocoapro® process experienced a 30 percent improvement in measured vessel function at the completion of a 30-day trial. Consuming a cocoa flavanol-rich beverage daily may have the potential to positively impact the blood vessel dysfunction associated with diabetes, they say.

The flavanol in cocoa is not to be confused with another compound spelled flavonol, which is found in some onions, grapes and green tea.

Scientists of the University of Almeria are developing a new system to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions using microalgae photosynthetic activity. This project, called CENIT CO2, is being developed by Spanish electricity company Endesa and is supported by the Spanish Ministry of Industry.

At the pilot plant, Las Palmerillas, Almeria-based researchers are trying to prove the validity of this new method for eliminating CO2 emissions. They expect to begin testing on an industrial level in the next year. Researchers say that ENDESA, which is promoting this research line, may test its application in some of the facilities which could show immediate results - small gas plants.

"The mechanism developed is simple on paper. By the gas emission points a water tank would be installed in order to retain the pollutant gases resulting from a specific industrial process. This polluted water would go through a system of bioreactors with a microalgae culture system, which would then transform the CO2 emissions into vegetal matter and oxygen through the photosynthesis process," the researchers say.

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Swedish SEKAB today announced that it is the first company in the world to supply verified sustainable ethanol. This ethanol from Brazilian sugarcane is quality assured from environmental, climate and social perspectives.

"Consumers and other stakeholders need guarantees that the ethanol is verified sustainable," says Anders Fredriksson, EVP of SEKAB BioFuels & Chemicals.

SEKAB has together with progressive Brazilian producers developed criteria that cover the entire lifecycle of ethanol from the sugarcane fields to its use in flexi-fuel (FFV) cars.

The criteria are in line with demands highlighted in the ongoing processes being led by organisations like the UN, EU, ILO and a number of NGOs.