Friday, May 20, 2005


News article about a cantilever device sensitive enough to detect the mass of a single DNA molecule.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

New PNAS papers

Two papers of note from this week's issue of PNAS (subscribers only):

The use of oscillatory signals in the study of genetic networks

Ovidiu Lipan and Wing H. Wong

The structure of a genetic network is uncovered by studying its response to external stimuli (input signals). We present a theory of propagation of an input signal through a linear stochastic genetic network. We found that there are important advantages in using oscillatory signals over step or impulse signals and that the system may enter into a pure fluctuation resonance for a specific input frequency.

Controlled fabrication of hierarchically branched nanopores, nanotubes, and nanowires

Guowen Meng, Yung Joon Jung, Anyuan Cao, Robert Vajtai, and Pulickel M. Ajayan

Here, we report a generic synthetic approach to rationally design multiply connected and hierarchically branched nanopores inside anodic aluminum oxide templates. By using these nanochannels, we controllably fabricate a large variety of branched nanostructures, far more complex than what exists today. These nanostructures include carbon nanotubes and metallic nanowires having several hierarchical levels of multiple branching. The number and frequency of branching, dimensions, and the overall architecture are controlled precisely through pore design and templated assembly. The technique provides a powerful approach to produce nanostructures of greater morphological complexity, which could have far-reaching implications in the design of future nanoscale systems.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Slime mould genome

Nature have made freely available an analysis of the genome of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum (slime mould). "The slime mould Dictyostelium discoideum has been an important laboratory model for over 50 years. These social amoebae normally live in forest soil where they hunt bacteria and yeast, and have therefore excelled in studies of how cells sense and move towards attractants in their environment. When hunting is not successful, the unicellular organisms become one multicellular entity and form a fruiting body to disperse spores, shown on the cover image." There's also a link to archival material.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Follow up: Bacterial pattern formation

News story about the Weiss Nature paper referenced on Friday.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

DNA Computing 11: preliminary program

The program has been announced for the 2005 International Meeting on DNA Computing. It looks like the most exciting meeting to date, and I'm annoyed at having to miss it! The ever-increasing profile of experimentalists, doing real wet lab work, can only be good for this emerging field.