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From the College of Natural Sciences
Researchers Discover Why It's So Hard to Grow an Extra Finger

Researchers Discover Why It's So Hard to Grow an Extra Finger

The fact that most humans have five digits on each hand and foot is due in part to a complex developmental pathway called Hedgehog. If something goes wrong in this process during development, say a mutation in a critical gene that affects its expression, a person might be born with extra fingers or toes, a condition known as polydactyly. New research shows that for at least one part of the pathway, there is a sort of failsafe mechanism that seems to make it harder for mistakes to happen.

Possible Explanation for Human Diseases Caused by Defective Ribosomes

Possible Explanation for Human Diseases Caused by Defective Ribosomes

Ribosomes are essential for life, generating all of the proteins required for cells to grow. Mutations in some of the proteins that make ribosomes cause disorders characterized by bone marrow failure and anemia early in life, followed by elevated cancer risk in middle age. These disorders are generally called “ribosomopathies.”

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This Longhorn Has Been Brought to You by DNA

This Longhorn Has Been Brought to You by DNA

In a set of two recent papers, Andy Ellington and his lab show how DNA can make pictures, but more importantly, that DNA circuits could someday be used to manufacture drugs or grow organs, such as a new heart.

Creating a Social Network for Genes

Creating a Social Network for Genes

Computer scientist Inderjit Dhillon and biochemist Edward Marcotte are combining forces to create the first "social network" for genes, with a focus on finding genes associated with human diseases.  

Systems Biologist Receives $2.5 Million Pioneer Award for Genome Research

Systems Biologist Receives $2.5 Million Pioneer Award for Genome Research

Marcotte’s project focuses on what he sees as the next step in “next-generation” genome sequencing technology.

Video: Next Generation Sequencing

Video: Next Generation Sequencing

Next-generation genome analysis technology enables biologist Christopher Sullivan to study how viruses replicate and cause tumors in new ways.

Algal Biofuels are the Future (For Now)

Algal Biofuels are the Future (For Now)

Jerry Brand said that once we learn how to farm microalgae at extraordinary scales, it will be a viable energy source to fuel our cars, trucks and planes.

Large Facility For Growing Algae for Biofuels Opens

Large Facility For Growing Algae for Biofuels Opens

Algae has gained significant attention as a feedstock for biofuels and as an alternative to other petroleum-based products because of its potential for high yields, high productivity and scalability.

Department of Energy Fellowship Provides Support for Grad Student

College of Natural Sciences graduate student Cory Nelson has received a fellowship as part of a new U.S. Department of Energy program.

Biologists Use Bacteria from Hot Springs to Reveal Clues To Evolution of Early Life and To Unlock Biofuels’ Potential

Biologists Use Bacteria from Hot Springs to Reveal Clues To Evolution of Early Life and To Unlock Biofuels’ Potential

A bacteria that lives in hot springs in Japan may help solve one of the mysteries of the early evolution of complex organisms, according to a study just published in PLoS Biology.