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Reading the Human Genome

February 27, 2013

Berkeley Lab researchers have achieved a major advance in understanding how genetic information is transcribed from DNA to RNA by providing the first step-by-step look at the biomolecular machinery that reads the human genome.

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Engineering Bacterial Live Wires

February 28, 2013

Just like electronics, living cells use electrons for energy and information transfer. Despite electrons being a common “language” of the living and electronic worlds, living cells cannot speak to our largely technological realm. Giving a cell the ability to communicate directly with an electrode would lead to enormous opportunities in the development of new energy conversion techniques, fuel production, biological reporters, or new forms of bioelectronic systems. Building off previous research, a group led by Berkeley Lab’s Caroline Ajo-Franklin has now demonstrated that engineered E. coli strains can generate measurable current at an anode.

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New Opportunities for Crystal Growth

February 25, 2013

Berkeley Lab’s crystal growth facility offers unique and increasingly rare capabilities for creating crystals that can serve homeland security, medical diagnostics and a raft of other non-destructive imaging applications.

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Unearthing the Solar System’s Chemical Recipe

February 20, 2013

The ratio of isotopes in elements like oxygen, sulfur, and nitrogen were once thought to be much the same everywhere, determined only by their different masses. Then isotope ratios in meteorites, interplanetary dust and gas, and the sun itself were found to differ from those on Earth. Planetary researchers now use Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source to study these “mass-independent” effects and their origins in the chemical processes of the early solar system.

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A Cyclotron’s Long Journey Home

February 19, 2013

Seventy-five years after one of the world’s first working cyclotrons was handed to the London Science Museum, it has returned to its birthplace in the Berkeley hills, where the man who invented it, Ernest O. Lawrence, helped launch the field of modern particle physics as well as the national laboratory that would bear his name, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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A Dual Look at Photosystem II Using the World’s Most Powerful X-Ray Laser

February 14, 2013

Artificial photosynthesis and other new technologies based on
metalloenzyme catalysis will benefit from a technique for simultaneously collecting both diffraction and spectroscopy data demonstrated by Berkeley Lab and SLAC researchers at the world’s most powerful X-ray laser.

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The Motor That Drives Archaea

February 14, 2013

The protein structure of the archaellum, the motor that propels many species of Archaea, the third domain of life, has been characterized for the first time by a team from Berkeley Lab and the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology. A ring made of six identical proteins derives energy from hydrolyzing adenosine triphosate (ATP) and uses this energy to drive shape changes, both assembling and rotating the archaellum’s whiplike propeller.

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New Details on the Molecular Machinery of Cancer

February 11, 2013

New details into the activation of a cell surface protein that has been strongly linked to a large number of cancers and is a major target of cancer therapies have been reported by Berkeley Lab researchers.

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In the Field: Counting Trees in the Amazon Jungle

February 5, 2013

Jeff Chambers’ path to the Amazon forest started 20 years ago in an unlikely place: Livermore, California. Since then, he has bushwhacked through dense woodland, traveled hundreds of miles down jungle rivers, had close encounters with the world’s most painful ant and near misses with deadly snakes—all in the name of science.

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