“Extraordinary measures” is a heart-wrenching movie about a parent’s quest to save the lives of two dying children with Pompe disease. Starring Brandon Fraser (John Crowley) as the venture capitalist fathering the two children, and Harrison Ford (Robert Stonehill) as the aloof researcher with the science to curing Pompe, the story beautifully illustrates the many difficulties and challenges behind transforming basic science into a usable drug.
The smallest entity of life is the single cell, which exists not only as single cell organisms, but as evolution proceeds, as members of a bigger and more complex living organism. During the progression of life, an organism encounters many experiences, and encodes these experiences as memories or knowledge.
The human genome is the home of over 3 billion nucleotide base pairs packaged into 23 chromosome pairs. But despite the tremendous size of the human genome, only 1-2% of genome actually encodes for proteins.
Can somatic cells be reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells? Well, the answer is yes or no, depending on your perspective, and perhaps your definition of what pluripotent stem cells should be.
Biotechnology in the last decade has been continually driven forward by the relentless economical desires of the ever-growing biopharmaceutical industry, creating innovative technologies that have gradually taken root in our society and have transformed our daily lives. These include transgenic rodents used in laboratories worldwide to understand diseases at a molecular level, as well as genetically modified foods that are found today in our salads.
Regarding the recent Nature News article (Transcription: Enhancer makes non-coding RNA. Nature 465, 173-174; 2010) about the discovery of enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) and their apparent link with neuronal activity, an initial question that arises is whether these eRNAs are really a new class of small RNAs. The question stems from the striking similarities between eRNAs and microRNAs.