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Human Brain Evolution: Harnessing the Genomics (R)evolution to Link Genes, Cognition, and Behavio

The evolution of the human brain has resulted in numerous specialized features including higher cognitive processes such as language. Knowledge of whole-genome sequence and structural variation via high-throughput sequencing technology provides an unprecedented opportunity to view human evolution at high resolution. However, phenotype discovery is a critical component of these endeavors and the use
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Epigenetic control of neural precursor cell fate during development

The temporally and spatially restricted nature of the differentiation capacity of cells in the neural lineage has been studied extensively in recent years. Epigenetic control of developmental genes, which is heritable through cell divisions, has emerged as a key mechanism defining the differentiation potential of cells. Short-term or reversible repression of developmental genes puts them in a 'poised
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XENON100 announced the new results

The XENON100 collaboration submitted a paper with the first results of a 11.2 days background analysis to PRL, excluding previously unexplored parameter space and questioning the light WIMP interpretation of the DAMA and CoGeNT results. The preprint can be found here: arXiv:1005.0380.These results are also covered in the media:The New York TimesNew ScientistNature BlogDiscover Magazine BlogScientific
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The evolutionary significance of ancient genome duplications

Many organisms are currently polyploid, or have a polyploid ancestry and now have secondarily 'diploidized' genomes. This finding is surprising because retained whole-genome duplications (WGDs) are exceedingly rare, suggesting that polyploidy is usually an evolutionary dead end. We argue that ancient genome doublings could probably have survived only under very specific conditions, but that, whenever
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'Junk' DNA Proves To Be Highly Valuable

What was once thought of as DNA with zero value in plants--dubbed "junk" DNA--may turn out to be key in helping scientists improve the control of gene expression in transgenic crops.  For more than 30 years, scientists have been perplexed by the workings of intergenic DNA, which is located between genes. Scientists have since found that, among other functions, some intergenic DNA plays a physical
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