Science in The News

KP_PC k.p.collins at worldnet.att.net
Mon Oct 6 21:44:01 EST 2003


Two Important Articles, commented-upon
briefly.

"2 M.R.I. Pioneers Win Nobel Prize
By NICHOLAS WADE

Published: October 6, 2003"

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/06/international/06CND-NOBE.html?hp

Quoting from The New York Times Article:

"His idea concerned a technique called N.M.R. spectroscopy, in which
molecules are entrained in a strong magnetic field and zapped with
radio waves. Chemists went to great pains to create a uniform
magnetic field, under which the molecules gave the clearest signal.
Dr. Lauterbur realized that the fuzziness in the signal in fact
contained information about the spatial distribution of the
contributing molecules. By applying a varying magnetic field, he
could obtain the spatial information to build an image of molecules
arranged in some structure."

"It was disappointing to have his article rejected by Nature, but Dr.
Lauterbur bears no grudge. "You could write the entire history of
science in the last 50 years in terms of papers rejected by Science
or Nature," he said."

"Certain nuclei, such as those of the hydrogen, which is ubiquitous
in the body's water molecules, will absorb and emit radio waves of
precise frequency when they are aligned in a strong magnetic field.
It is these signals that are used as the basis for imaging the body's
tissues."

If folks look closely, folks'll see that the NL-P
received this Year's Nobel in Medicine :-]

It's in the field-variation removal-of-fuzziness.

HURRAH!

This next one is =REQUIRED-READING=
for everyone in Biology [which is coming to
be Everyone, period :-] My quotes are more-
than-usual-extensive, but there's =much=
more in the Article, so I encourage 'you' to
clock-on the URL and give it a read.

"A Pregnant Mother's Diet May Turn the Genes Around
By SANDRA BLAKESLEE

Published: October 7, 2003

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/07/science/07GENE.html

Quoting from The New York Times Article:

"Most geneticists are focusing on sequences of genes in trying to
understand which gene goes with which illness or behavior, said Dr.
Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
`But these epigenetic effects could turn out to be much more
important. The field is revolutionary,' he said, `and humbling.`"

"Finally, methyl groups play a critical role in controlling genes
involved in prenatal and postnatal development, including some 80
genes inherited from only one parent. Because these so-called
imprinted genes must be methylated to function, they are vulnerable
to diet and other environmental factors."

"When a sperm and egg meet to form an embryo, each has a different
pattern of methylated genes. The patterns are not passed on as genes
are, but in a chemical battle of the sexes some of the egg and sperm
patterns do seem to be inherited. In general, the egg seems to have
the upper hand."

"`We're compounds, mosaics of epigenetic patterns and gene
sequences,' said Dr. Arthur Beaudet, chairman of the molecular and
human genetics department at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
`While DNA sequences are commonly compared to a text of written
letters', he said, `epigenetics is like the formatting in a word
processing program.`"

"Though the primary letters do not vary, the font can be large or
small, Times Roman or Arial, italicized, bold, upper case, lower
case, underlined or shadowed. They can be any color of the rainbow."

"`Methylation is nature's way of allowing environmental factors to
tweak gene expression without making permanent mutations', Dr. Jirtle
said."

"Fleeting exposure to anything that influences methylation patterns
during development can change the animal or person for a lifetime.
Methyl groups are entirely derived from the foods people eat. And the
effect may be good or bad. Maternal diet during pregnancy is
consequently very important, but in ways that are not yet fully
understood."

"For reasons that are not well understood, methylation patterns are
absent from very specific regions of the rat genome before birth.
Twelve hours after rats are born, a new methylation pattern is
formed. The mother rat then starts licking her pups. The first week
is a critical period, Dr. Meaney said. Pups that are licked show
decreased methylation patterns in an area of the brain that helps
them handle stress. Faced with challenges later in life, they tend to
be more confident and less fearful."

"`We think licking affects a methylation enzyme that is ready and
waiting for mother to start licking,' Dr. Meaney said. 'In perilous
times, mothers may be able to set the stress reactivity of their
offspring by licking less. When there are fewer dangers around, the
mothers may lick more.`"

It's "Standing-Wave Genetics" - DNA-RNA
tuning via NL-P 'Coulomb forces' :-]

K. P. Collins

--
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