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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Biologist Studies Evolution of HIV

AUSTIN, Texas--Dr. Sara Sawyer, an evolutionary biologist, will use a $120,000 grant from the Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) to study how the HIV virus and the cells it attacks have evolved together over time. The goal of her research is to discover new targets for drugs. When HIV infiltrates cells, the virus hijacks its host's genetic m...
Why Hybrids Grow Bigger

Why Hybrids Grow Bigger

AUSTIN, Texas—Hybrid plants, like corn, grow bigger and better than their parents because many of their genes for photosynthesis and starch metabolism are more active during the day, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin in a new study published in the journal Nature. Their research has relevance in many areas of agriculture, a...
Discovery Opens Door For Drugs To Fight Bird Flu, Influenza Epidemics

Discovery Opens Door For Drugs To Fight Bird Flu, Influenza Epidemics

AUSTIN, Texas—Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Rutgers University have reported a discovery that could help scientists develop drugs to fight avian flu and other virulent strains of influenza. The researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of a site on an influenza A virus protein that binds to one of the human...

Model for Angelman Syndrome Developed

AUSTIN, Texas—A model for studying the genetics of Angelman syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes mental retardation and other symptoms in one out of 15,000 births, has been developed by biologists at The University of Texas at Austin. Their research demonstrates that when a particular fruit fly gene, dube3a, is altered, the mutant flies s...

Genes Evolve to Minimize Protein Production Errors

AUSTIN, Texas--Genetic evolution is strongly shaped by genes’ efforts to prevent or tolerate errors in the production of proteins, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University have found. Their study also suggests that the cost of errors in protein production may lie in the malformed proteins themselves, rather than in th...
Natural Selection May Not Produce the Best Organisms

Natural Selection May Not Produce the Best Organisms

AUSTIN, Texas—Natural selection may favor the fittest organisms around, but it doesn’t always lead to the evolution of the most optimal organisms, says a team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. Drs. Matthew Cowperthwaite and Lauren Ancel Meyers led a team that developed a new theory suggesting that traits that are easy to evolve ...

Chemists Receive NIH Grant for Cancer Research

AUSTIN, Texas--Chemistry researchers at two Central Texas universities have received a four-year, $1,113,615 grant from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate a new technique that could rapidly predict the anti-cancer activity of new compounds. Lynn Guziec, assistant professor of chemistry at Southwestern University, will collaborate on the...
New Source for Biofuels Discovered

New Source for Biofuels Discovered

AUSTIN, Texas--A newly created microbe produces cellulose that can be turned into ethanol and other biofuels, report scientists from The University of Texas at Austin who say the microbe could provide a significant portion of the nation’s transportation fuel if production can be scaled up. Along with cellulose, the cyanobacteria developed by Profe...
Saliva Can Help Diagnose Heart Attack

Saliva Can Help Diagnose Heart Attack

AUSTIN, Texas—Early diagnosis of a heart attack may now be possible using only a few drops of saliva and a new nano-bio-chip, a multi-institutional team led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin reported at a recent meeting of the American Association for Dental Research. The nano-bio-chip assay could some day be used to analyze a pa...
Gene Discovery Made Easier

Gene Discovery Made Easier

AUSTIN, Texas—The identification of disease-causing genes will be much easier and faster using a powerful new gene-networking model developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. Edward Marcotte and his colleague, postdoctoral researcher Insuk Lee, used the gene network technique to identify new genes that regulate life span and ar...