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In early embryos, cilia get the message across

La Jolla, CA – Having your heart in the right place usually means having it located on the left side of your body. But just how a perfectly symmetrical embryo settles on what's right and what's left has fascinated developmental biologists for a long time. The turning point came when the rotational beating of cilia, hair-like structures found on most cells, was identified as essential to the process.

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Targeted tumor therapy: when antagonists do the better job

La Jolla, CA – Targeted tumor therapy lobs toxic payloads directly into tumors to destroy cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. In the case of radiotherapy, these missiles, which should unerringly home in on the target and make it implode, consist of radioactive bullets guided by small molecules – known as agonists – that recognize and then activate specific receptors over-expressed on the surface of tumor cells.

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A natural chemical found in strawberries boosts memory in healthy mice

La Jolla, CA – Mothers have long exhorted their children to eat their fruit and vegetables. But once kids are beyond mom's watchful eye, the hated greens often go the way of Barbie dolls and power rangers. Now, there's another reason to reach for colorful fruits past adolescence.

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Vax and Pax: taking turns to build an eye

La Jolla, CA – Opposing ball clubs don't take the field at the same time, and neither do teams of proteins responsible for creating the eye. While one team builds the retina, in adjacent cellular turf the opponents are busy constructing the cord that carries visual signals to the brain. And these guys aren't supposed to mingle.

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Algae provide new clues to cancer

La Jolla, CA – A microscopic green alga helped scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies identify a novel function for the retinoblastoma protein (RB), which is known for its role as a tumor suppressor in mammalian cells. By coupling cell size with cell division, RB ensures that cells stay within an optimal size range.

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More than meets the eye

La Jolla, CA – Ever watch a jittery video made with a hand-held camera that made you almost ill? With our eyes constantly darting back and forth and our body hardly ever holding still, that is exactly what our brain is faced with. Yet despite the shaky video stream, we usually perceive our environment as perfectly stable.

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Williams syndrome, the brain, and music

La Jolla, CA – Children with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, just love music and will spend hours listening to or making music. Despite averaging an IQ score of 60, many possess a great memory for songs, an uncanny sense of rhythm, and the kind of auditory acuity that can discern differences between different vacuum cleaner brands.

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Salk Nonresident Fellow Liz Blackburn awarded 2006 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research

La Jolla, CA – Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., has been awarded the highly prestigious Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for her pioneering work on telomeres, the structures that protect chromosome ends, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced on Saturday.

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Ronald M. Evans to receive Harvey Prize for outstanding contributions to human health

La Jolla, CA – Dr. Ronald M. Evans, professor and head of the Gene Expression Laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, was awarded the prestigious Harvey Prize in Human Health from the Technion-Israel Institute for Technology, Israel's premier science and technology university.

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Distinguishing friend from foe in the battle against cancer

La Jolla, CA – The latest generation of cancer chemotherapeutic drugs specifically targets mutant enzymes or "oncoproteins" that have run amok and now promote uncontrolled cell growth. As promising as these drugs are, cancer cells with their backs against the wall have the tendency to fight back. A major goal of cancer research is to frustrate these acts of cellular desperation.

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