How do you compare the impact of a researcher in chemistry or physics with a molecular biologist who may be working on similar projects? Two experts support the use of citation indicators that are based on percentiles, a statistical parameter that allows for comparisons with a carefully def ... more
A better way to copy DNA
Scientists have developed a new method for DNA amplification that could replace the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In the August issue of EMBO reports, Huimin Kong and colleagues at New England Biolabs (Beverly, MA, USA) describe a way to copy mass amounts of DNA that has significant advantages over PCR. The new technique is called HDA (helicase-dependent amplification). The new technique is called HDA (helicase-dependent amplification). HDA is as simple as PCR, but has significant advantages. PCR requires thermocycling to heat and cool a sample of DNA, to allow denaturation (separating DNA into single strands) and synthesis (copying single strands to create new double-stranded DNA).
HDA instead mimics nature's method of replicating DNA by using a helicase enzyme to denature the DNA. As a result, the entire HDA reaction can be performed at one temperature that is optimized for synthesis, eliminating the need for an expensive and power-hungry thermocycler. HDA could expand the application of DNA amplification to situations in which the requirements for PCR have made it prohibitive. The costs are likely to be more modest and, most importantly, the simplicity of HDA makes it suitable for the development of hand-held DNA diagnostic devices that could be used to detect pathogens at the point-of-care or in the field.
The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) announce Carol V. Robinson, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, UK, as the winner of the 2011 FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award. Professor Robinson has been recogniz ... more
Olivier Voinnet from the CNRS Institute of Plant Molecular Biology in Strasbourg, France, is awarded the 2009 EMBO Gold Medal. The researcher receives this medal for his pioneering work on the mechanisms and roles of gene silencing via RNA in plants. With this annual award, the European Mo ... more
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