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Light or fight? Scientists discover how plants make tough survival choices

La Jolla, CA — Ever since insects developed a taste for vegetation, plants have faced the same dilemma: use limited resources to out-compete their neighbors for light to grow, or, invest directly in defense against hungry insects. Now, an international team of scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Institute of Investigaciones Fisiológicas y Ecológicas Vinculadas a la Agronomía (IFEVA) has discovered how plants weigh the tradeoffs and redirect their energies accordingly.

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Inder Verma Named First Incumbent of the Irwin Mark Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Sciences

La Jolla, CA -- The Salk Institute today named principal investigator Inder M. Verma the first incumbent of the Irwin Mark Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Sciences. Established to honor its namesake's exceptional leadership in business and philanthropy, the honor is given to an internationally renowned senior Salk scientist who has made extraordinary discoveries in basic biomedical research and has contributed to the direction and vitality of the Institute.

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Involuntary maybe, but certainly not random

LA Jolla, CA—Our eyes are in constant motion. Even when we attempt to stare straight at a stationary target, our eyes jump and jiggle imperceptibly. Although these unconscious flicks, also known as microsaccades, had long been considered mere "motor noise," researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that they are instead actively controlled by the same brain region that instructs our eyes to scan the lines in a newspaper or follow a moving object.

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Fruit flies soar as lab model, drug screen for the deadliest of human brain cancers

LA Jolla, CA—Fruit flies and humans share most of their genes, including 70 percent of all known human disease genes. Taking advantage of this remarkable evolutionary conservation, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies transformed the fruit fly into a laboratory model for an innovative study of gliomas, the most common malignant brain tumors.

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Why fruits ripen and flowers die:
Salk scientists discover how key plant hormone is triggered

La Jolla, CA—Best known for its effects on fruit ripening and flower fading, the gaseous plant hormone ethylene shortens the shelf life of many fruits and plants by putting their physiology on fast-forward. In recent years, scientists learned a lot about the different components that transmit ethylene signals inside cells. But a central regulator of ethylene responses, a protein known as EIN2, resisted all their efforts.

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The gregarious gene?

La Jolla, CA–Unraveling the genetics of social behavior and cognitive abilities, researchers at the University of Utah and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have traced the role of two genes,GTF2I and GTF2IRD, in a rare genetic disorder known as Williams Syndrome.

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New pathway is a common thread in age-related neurodegenerative diseases

La Jolla, CA–How are neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's initiated, and why is age the major risk factor? A recent study of a protein called MOCA (Modifier of Cell Adhesion), carried out at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, provides new clues to the answers of these fundamental questions.

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Newborn brain cells "time-stamp" memories

La Jolla, CA — "Remember when...?" is how many a wistful trip down memory lane begins. But just how the brain keeps tabs on what happened and when is still a matter of speculation. A computational model developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies now suggests that newborn brain cells—generated by the thousands each day—add a time-related code, which is unique to memories formed around the same time.

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The breakdown of barriers in old cells may hold clues to aging process

La Jolla, CA - Like guards controlling access to a gated community, nuclear pore complexes are communication channels that regulate the passage of proteins and RNA to and from a cells nucleus. Recent studies by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies offer new insights about the pores' lifespan and how their longevity affects their function.

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Salk Launches Center for Aging Research

The Salk Institute today received a $5 million gift from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, becoming the third institution (with Harvard University and MIT) to receive major Glenn funding for studying the molecular basis of aging.

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