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New RNA polymerase discovered in plants

Biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered an entirely new cellular "machine" in plants that plays a significant role in plant flowering and DNA methylation, a key chemical process essential for an organism's development. .. .. RNA polymerase is an enzyme, or protein machine, essential for carrying out functions o...

DuPont's first biologically derived polymer receives global recognition

DuPont's newest polymer innovation, the first DuPont polymer derived from a biological source, has been recognized by the China State Intellectual Property Office and China Central Television (CCTV) as "Most Visionary Innovation" at a recent award ceremony. .. will receive the 2005 "New Technologies in Renewable Materials and Processes" award at the Global Plastics and Environmental Conference,...

Polymers with copper show promise for implanted sensors

Developing chemical sensors that can be placed in the bloodstream or under the skin to continuously monitor oxygen, acidity (pH), or glucose levels is a major challenge for analytical chemists and biomedical engineers. The problem is, the body responds to these foreign objects in ways that interfere with their ability to accurately measure blood chemistry. In the bloodstream, clots form on the su...

Researchers identify protein crucial for survival of Lyme-disease bacterium

When the tick-borne bacterium that causes Lyme disease lacks a specific protein that responds to an incoming meal of blood, it is unable to be transmitted from the tick to a new animal host, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found. . .. Results of the multisite study are currently online and will appear in an upcoming issue of the Proceedin...

Researcher examines polymers created with poultry feathers

Biodegradable polymers created from poultry feathers may add value to the poultry industry and help solve the growing environmental problem of plastic waste. . According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 29 million tons of non-biodegradable plastic waste ends up in landfills each year. Justin Barone, associate professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech, is i...

Polymer gel can block toxic leakage problem in gene therapy

Duke University biomedical engineers have devised a potentially patentable method to arrest toxic leakages of genetically engineered viruses that have plagued attempts to use gene therapy against cancerous tumors. The problem has been that viruses carrying anti-tumor genes have tended to leak from tumors, proving toxic to other body tissues. . The researchers have developed a biocompatible polyme...

Polymer aids in blood clotting, pointing way to new treatment

A serendipitous comparison prompted by an old scientific image and involving an ancient but understudied molecule may lead to a new treatment strategy for injuries or illnesses in which blood clotting is paramount to survival. . .. Polyphos...

Stable polymer nanotubes may have a biotech future

. .Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created polymer nanotubes that are unusually long (about 1 centimeter) as well as stable enough to maintain their shape indefinitely. Described in a new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,* the NIST nanotubes may have biotechnology applications as channels for tiny volumes of chemicals in nanofl...

Polymers show promise for lab-on-a-chip technology

Researchers are touting the use of liquid crystalline polymers (LCP) as a viable tool for use in devices such as the sought-after lab-on-a-chip technology. . .. "Based on our research of liquid crystalline polymers, we anticipate the...

Triple threat polymer captures and releases

A chemist at Washington University in St. Louis has developed a remarkable nanostructured material that can repel pests , sweeten the air, and some day might even be used as a timed drug delivery system –as a nasal spray, for instance. . Karen L. Wooley, Ph.D., Washington University James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, has taken the same materials that...

A new view on Lyme disease: Rodents hold the key to annual risk

In the United States, Lyme disease incidence has skyrocketed from 497 cases reported in 1982 (the first year national statistics were collected) to a record 23,763 in 2002. . Lyme disease, like other zoonoses, is transmitted by a vector that picks up the pathogen during a blood meal from a vertebrate host. In the eastern and central United States, the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi...

MIT engineers probe spiders' polymer art

A team of MIT engineers has identified two key physical processes that lend spider silk its unrivaled strength and durability, bringing closer to reality the long-sought goal of spinning artificial spider silk. . .. In a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, Gareth H. McKinley, professor of mechanical engineering, and colleagues examined how spiders spin th...

Applied scientists create wrinkled 'skin' on polymers

Applied scientists demonstrated a new method for developing wrinkled hard skins on the surface areas of polymers using a focused ion beam. By controlling the direction and intensity of the ion beam, the researchers literally sculpted patterns on flat areas of polydimethylsiloxane, a silicon-based organic polymer (more commonly known as the primary ingredient in Silly Putty). The technique has pot...
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