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After the genome comes the proteome. Potter Wickware and Paul Smaglik describe how old-established protein identification techniques such as gel electrophoresis, mass spectrometry and chromatography are being automated, updated and adapted to deal with the mammoth task of identifying the thousands of proteins produced by an organism and understanding how they interact with each other.
The computer is now ubiquitous in today's biology labs. Bioinformatics — the development and application of computational tools to acquire, store, organize, archive, analyse and visualize biological data — is one of biology's fastest-growing technologies, as Marina Chicurel finds out.
Water in its various forms has always worked as a great amplifier of changes imposed on the climate system. It acts both as the Earth's central heating system and as the refrigerator, and how these processes will evolve in a changing climate is as important a question as it is difficult. The articles in this Insight explore some of the interactions between climate and the hydrologic cycle in the past, present and future.
With global population projected to reach nine billion by 2050, new ways must be found to increase agricultural yields while preserving natural habitats and biodiversity. The decisions we make now about food will affect our descendants for millennia to come, and this Collection of articles highlights the importance of planning for a sustainable future.
Screening vast numbers of chemical compounds to find the small handful that 05 become tomorrow's new drugs is one of the first steps in the long journey from pharmaceutical laboratory to clinic. This technology feature looks at how the drug-discovery industry is rising to the challenge of making their screening assays faster, more effective and less expensive.
Although RNA is very similar to DNA in chemical terms, it provides a striking contrast in its structural plasticity and versatility. This Insight reviews the many facets of RNA chemistry and biology, including its role in the evolution of life and in ribosome structure and function, the catalytic properties of RNA enzymes, RNA-based gene regulation, and progress towards using RNA molecules as therapeutic agents.
Nervous systems come in all shapes and sizes, and have evolved to match the needs of specific organisms. Non-mammalian neuroscience offers a host of preparations with interesting behaviours and neural circuitry. The reviews in this Insight sample the advantages of several of these experimental preparations in elucidating general neural principles.
DNA microarrays that can detect the presence or the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously are a key tool in the interpretation of the mass of genetic information coming out of the genome sequencing programmes. Diane Gershon looks at how this technology is becoming easier to use, cheaper and more accessible, and at some of the problems in standardizing and storing microarray data.
New types of physical behaviour occur under unimaginably cold conditions, and modern laser-cooling technologies enable scientists to probe the quantum world of condensates. We review the latest research into ultracold matter and find that coherent matter waves as well as individual ultracold atoms and ions are extremely attractive for both theoretical and practical studies.
Malaria is a disease of poverty. Drug-resistant parasite strains, insecticide resistance in mosquitoes, environmental changes and increased population are contributing to its resurgence. But growing international awareness and funding is leading to new control efforts. This Insight describes the latest research developments, likely future progress and the practical impact that the new knowledge will have.
Heart disease is the world's leading cause of death, with smoking, fat-laden diets and sedentary lifestyles all detrimental to a healthy heart. But the heart is one of the most widely studied organs of the body, and a greater understanding of the processes involved at the molecular and genetic level is enabling us to make inroads in preventing and treating heart disease.
Recent events have confirmed that bioterrorism is no longer a threat but a reality. To provide wide-ranging access to the latest scientific information about anthrax and other potential bioweapons, Naturepresents research, news and features from our archive.