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Research

Discovering the structure of RNA

It is the less known member of the nucleic acid family, superseded in popularity by its cousin DNA. And yet RNA, or ribonucleic acid, plays an essential role in many biological processes: not only as messenger molecule with the task of transmitting genetic information from the nucleus to the cytoplasm for protein production, but also as protagonist of different and significantly important cellular mechanisms.

Right-handed or left-handed?

Are you born or do you become right-handed or left-handed? A study led by Valentina Parma, researcher at the International School for Advanced Studies - SISSA of Trieste, and Professor Umberto Castiello of the University of Padua, just published on Scientific Reports, shows that hand preference is already well defined at the 18th week of gestation. Analysing the characteristics of several foetal movements, the researchers have been able to accurately foresee the motor preference observed in the same boys and girls at age nine.

Paired mutations to discover the shape of proteins

It is a bit like business partners: if one of the two parties changes strategy – voluntarily or otherwise – to keep the business going, the other  has to adapt in turn. The leap from business ventures to the structure of proteins might seem a little bold. Yet, this concept of “balanced changes” is precisely the guiding principle of an important new study that just appeared in PNAS, the journal of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

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