Monday, March 25, 2013


Physiologic brain activity causes DNA double-strand breaks in neurons

More evidence that DNA and RNA are directly involved in learning and memory in the brain... Connectionism seems not to be enough... "Scientists studying mice reported that normal neuronal activation stimulated by exposure to new environments can cause temporary DNA breaks—suggesting that transient damage may be involved in learning and memory." Full article @ Nature Neuroscience

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Friday, March 08, 2013


The Future of Quantum Information Processing

"In a world overwhelmed by increasing amounts of data, finding new ways to store and process information has become a necessity. Conventional silicon-based electronics has experienced rapid and steady growth, thanks to the progressive miniaturization of its basic component, the transistor, but that trend cannot continue indefinitely." Special issue @ Science

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The Other Revolution in the Life Sciences

'I first read the paper by Fritz Lipmann titled "Metabolic generation and utilization of phosphate bond energy" (4). This historic paper introduced the notion of the "high-energy phosphate bond," symbolized by Lipmann's famous "squiggle," together with the accompanying key concepts of group potential and group transfer. This paper, even though published 3 years before Schrödinger's celebrated book, was most probably unknown to him. It clarified for the first time the second property singled out by Schrödinger in his definition of life: its ability to extract "negative entropy," better known to chemists as "free energy," from the environment and convert it into chemical and other forms of work.' Full letter @ Science


Tuesday, March 05, 2013


How Cells Know Where They Are

"Development, regeneration, and even day-to-day physiology require plant and animal cells to make decisions based on their locations. The principles by which cells may do this are deceptively straightforward. But when reliability needs to be high—as often occurs during development—successful strategies tend to be anything but simple. Increasingly, the challenge facing biologists is to relate the diverse diffusible molecules, control circuits, and gene regulatory networks that help cells know where they are to the varied, sometimes stringent, constraints imposed by the need for real-world precision and accuracy." Full review @ Science

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