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A team led by biophysicist Jeremy Smith of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has taken a significant step toward unraveling the mystery of how proteins fold into unique, three-dimensional shapes.

Using ORNL's Cray XT4 Jaguar supercomputer as well as computer systems in Italy and Germany, the team revealed a driving force behind protein folding involving the way its constituents interact with water. The team's results are being published in this week's edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Proteins are the workhorses of the body, taking on a wide variety of tasks. They fight infections, turn food into energy, copy DNA and catalyze chemical reactions. Insulin is a protein, as are antibodies and many hormones.

Whether a smoking-cessation drug will enable you to quit smoking may depend on your genes, according to new genotyping research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study, published in the September issue of the journal Biological Psychiatry, found that the enzyme known to metabolize both the smoking cessation drug bupropion and nicotine is highly genetically variable in all ethnicities and influences smoking cessation.

For two generations of physicists, it has been a standard belief that the neutron, an electrically neutral elementary particle and a primary component of an atom, actually carries a positive charge at its center and an offsetting negative charge at its outer edge.

The notion was first put forth in 1947 by Enrico Fermi, a Nobel laureate noted for his role in developing the first nuclear reactor. But new research by a University of Washington physicist shows the neutron's charge is not quite as simple as Fermi believed.

Using precise data recently gathered at three different laboratories and some new theoretical tools, Gerald A.

Good-looking people capture our attention and render us temporarily helpless to turn our eyes away from them, according to a new Florida State University study. That applies to men and women and, in the case of married people, even to looking at the same sex.

“It’s like magnetism at the level of visual attention,” said Jon Maner, an assistant professor of psychology at FSU, who studied the role mating-related motives can play in a psychological phenomenon called attentional adhesion. The paper is one of the first to show how strongly, quickly and automatically we are attuned to attractive people, he said.

The "Victorian Era", named for the period when Queen Victoria was Queen of England and the British Empire was at its apex, is now regarded as one of either impeccable manners and dress or one of sexual repression and quiet frustration.

Ian Christopher McManus of the University College London says that Victorian society also seems to have repressed left-handedness. 11 percent of people today are left-handed yet according to his research only 3 percent of people born in 1900 were. They say that threefold difference merits explanation and they looked to old films for answers.

"Left-handedness is important because more than 10 percent of people have their brains organized in a qualitatively different way to other people," said McManus. "That has to be interesting.

For the first time scientists have been able to film, in real time, the nanoscale interaction of an enzyme and a DNA strand from an attacking virus.