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Archive - Apr 15, 2009

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Red Pandas Can Taste Artificial Sweetener

In a surprise finding, researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have shown that a non-primate mammal (the red panda) can taste the articifial sweetener aspartame. Previously, only primates were believed able to taste this sweetener. The findings may shed light on how taste preferences and diet choice are shaped by molecular differences in taste receptors. [Press release]

Magnets Might Enable Low-Cost Nanopore DNA Sequencing

A novel technique to move DNA strands through nanopores at a slow enough speed for accurate sequencing has been developed by physicists at Brown University. The techique involves the use of "magnetic tweezers" in conjunction with an electric field to move the DNA. The researchers believe that this new technique might serve as the basis for lower-cost DNA sequencing. The research was reported in the journal Nanotechnology. [Press release]

Lung Cancer Susceptibility Gene Identified

Researchers have identified a lung cancer susceptibility gene (RGS17) that they believe may prove to be as important to lung cancer diagnosis and treatment as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have proven to be in breast cancer. They believe the RGS17 gene might eventually be used to identify high-risk patients who may benefit from earlier, more aggressive lung cancer screening. The research was published in the April 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research. [Press release]