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Research news 2014

Some long non-coding RNAs are conventional after all

 

HEIDELBERG, 4 April 2014 – Not so long ago researchers thought that RNAs came in two types: coding RNAs that make proteins and non-coding RNAs that have structural roles. Then came the discovery of small RNAs that opened up whole new areas of research. Now researchers have come full circle and predicted that some long non-coding RNAs can give rise to small proteins that have biological functions. A recent study in The EMBO Journal describes how researchers have used ribosome profiling to identify several hundred long non-coding RNAs that may give rise to small peptides.

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Small non-coding RNAs could be warning signs of cancer

 

HEIDELBERG, 17 February 2014 – Small non-coding RNAs can be used to predict if individuals have breast cancer conclude researchers who contribute to The Cancer Genome Atlas project. The results, which are published in <em">EMBO reports, indicate that differences in the levels of specific types of non-coding RNAs can be used to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous tissues. These RNAs can also be used to classify cancer patients into subgroups of individuals that have different survival outcomes.

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Quality control of mitochondria as a defense against disease

 

HEIDELBERG, 20 January 2014 – Scientists from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital in Canada have discovered that two genes linked to hereditary Parkinson’s disease are involved in the early-stage quality control of mitochondria. The protective mechanism, which is reported in The EMBO Journal, removes damaged proteins that arise from oxidative stress from mitochondria.

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Stem cells overcome damage in other cells by exporting mitochondria

 

HEIDELBERG, 16 January 2014 – A research team has identified a protein that increases the transfer of mitochondria from mesenchymal stem cells to lung cells. In work published in The EMBO Journal, the researchers reveal that the delivery of mitochondria to human lung cells can rejuvenate damaged cells. The migration of mitochondria from stem cells to epithelial cells also helps to repair tissue damage and inflammation linked to asthma-like symptoms in mice.

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Researchers propose alternative way to allocate science funding

 

HEIDELBERG, 8 January 2014 – Researchers in the United States have suggested an alternative way to allocate science funding. The method, which is described in EMBO reports, depends on a collective distribution of funding by the scientific community, requires only a fraction of the costs associated with the traditional peer review of grant proposals and, according to the authors, may yield comparable or even better results.

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