Scientists at work: IUB geneticists

In his recent book Next, Michael Crichton addresses the issues of genetic engineering. He provides accurate information and insightful comments on stem cell research, patenting of the human genome, gene therapy, transgenic animals, common public misconceptions and university research. Mixed with the data, however, is a good amount of fiction, and sometimes it becomes difficult to separate the two. Indiana University has a strong genetics faculty who shed light on the science and issues raised by Crichton.  Full Story

Discovery in plants suggests entirely new approach to treating human cancers

Arabidopsis, TIR1 and auxin

For the first time, scientists from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Cambridge have determined how a plant hormone -- auxin -- interacts with its hormone receptor, called TIR1. Their report, on the cover of Nature in April, also may have important implications for the treatment of human disease, because TIR1 is similar to human enzymes that are known to be involved in cancer.

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Gene induces eyes in odd spots

Drosophila antenna, sine oculis

A gene thought to play a relatively minor role in eye development is powerful enough on its own to initiate the formation of eyes in strange spots on a fruit fly's body, Indiana University Bloomington scientists have learned. Biologist Justin Kumar and colleagues report in the March 15 issue of Developmental Biology that the gene sine oculis (or just "so") is capable of turning on a series of developmental cascades that result in the formation of retinas on traditionally non-retinal tissues, including the antennae, legs, wings and even genitals.

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Most modern forests don't resemble what they replaced

Indiana Forests

The great forests that once covered the eastern United States were cut down almost completely by settlers who needed open land for farming and timber for construction. When some areas proved unsuitable for agriculture -- such as flood plains and steep slopes -- they were abandoned by the farmers who had cleared them, and the forests had a chance to grow back. But what grew back was different from what had been destroyed.

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Watching videos can help children with autism learn social skills

Video Kid

Two new studies at Indiana University demonstrate that videos depicting exemplary behaviors can be effective in helping children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders develop social skills and daily living skills. Lead researcher Scott Bellini said these findings will help to identify video modeling as a worthwhile strategy for educators and child development professionals in a field lacking proven methods of treatment.

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Previous issue

DiMarchi, Richard

The March 28 issue of Discoveries profiled Richard DiMarchi, chair of the Chemistry Department at IU Bloomington. Also featured in this issue were stories about the WIYN telescope, a new hand-held testing device that could revolutionize health care, the latest cyber crook trends and IU scientists' latest discovery about flowering plants.

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