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Unique epigenomic code identified during human brain development

LA JOLLA,CA—Changes in the epigenome, including chemical modifications of DNA, can act as an extra layer of information in the genome, and are thought to play a role in learning and memory, as well as in age-related cognitive decline. The results of a new study by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies show that the landscape of DNA methylation, a particular type of epigenomic modification, is highly dynamic in brain cells during the transition from birth to adulthood, helping to understand how information in the genomes of cells in the brain is controlled from fetal development to adulthood. The brain is much more complex than all other organs in the body and this discovery opens the door to a deeper understanding of how the intricate patterns of connectivity in the brain are formed.

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Scientists help explain visual system's remarkable ability to recognize complex objects

LA JOLLA, CA—How is it possible for a human eye to figure out letters that are twisted and looped in crazy directions, like those in the little security test internet users are often given on websites?

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High-resolution mapping technique uncovers underlying circuit architecture of the brain

LA JOLLA, CA—The power of the brain lies in its trillions of intercellular connections, called synapses that together form complex neural "networks." While neuroscientists have long sought to map these individual connections to see how they influence specific brain functions, traditional techniques have been unsuccessful. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute and the Gladstone Institutes, using an innovative brain- tracing technique, have found a way to untangle these networks. These findings offer new insight into how specific brain regions connect to each other, while also revealing clues as to what may happen, neuron by neuron, when these connections are disrupted.

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Salk scientists discover previously unknown requirement for brain development

LA JOLLA—Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have demonstrated that sensory regions in the brain develop in a fundamentally different way than previously thought, a finding that may yield new insights into visual and neural disorders.

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Singing superstar Katharine McPhee headlines Symphony at Salk on August 24

LA JOLLA, CA—On Aug. 24, 2013, multi-talented singer Katharine McPhee will step into the spotlight as the featured headliner for the 18th annual "Symphony at Salk-a concert under the stars" to perform with the San Diego Symphony and acclaimed guest conductor Maestro Thomas Wilkins.

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Scientists identify thousands of plant genes activated by ethylene gas

LA JOLLA, CA—It's common wisdom that one rotten apple in a barrel spoils all the other apples, and that an apple ripens a green banana if they are put together in a paper bag. Ways to ripen, or spoil, fruit have been known for thousands of years-as the Bible can attest-but now the genes underlying these phenomena of nature have been revealed.

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Three Salk faculty awarded endowed chairs

LA JOLLA, CA—Salk scientists Beverly M. Emerson, Christopher R. Kintner, and Paul E. Sawchenko were selected as inaugural holders of new endowed chairs created through the Joan Klein Jacobs and Irwin Mark Jacobs Senior Scientist Endowed Chair Challenge. In 2008, Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs created a challenge grant to establish endowed chairs for senior scientists. For every $2 million that a donor contributes toward an endowed chair at the Institute, the Jacobses will add $1 million to achieve the $3 million funding level required to fully endow a chair for a Salk senior scientist. To date, 17 out of 20 chairs have been established.

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Protein preps cells to survive stress of cancer growth and chemotherapy

LA JOLLA, CA—Scientists have uncovered a survival mechanism that occurs in breast cells that have just turned premalignant-cells on the cusp between normalcy and cancers-which may lead to new methods of stopping tumors.

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Timing of cancer radiation therapy may minimize hair loss, researchers say

LA JOLLA, CA—Discovering that mouse hair has a circadian clock - a 24-hour cycle of growth followed by restorative repair - researchers suspect that hair loss in humans from toxic cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy might be minimized if these treatments are given late in the day.

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Salk scientists develop drug that slows Alzheimer's in mice

LA JOLLA, CA—A drug developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, known as J147, reverses memory deficits and slows Alzheimer's disease in aged mice following short-term treatment. The findings, published May 14 in the journal Alzheimer's Research and Therapy, may pave the way to a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease in humans.

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