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English, Biology

Silken, stretchy and stronger than steel!

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Could spider silk be the answer to medical and military challenges? Giovanna Cicognani from the Institut Laue-Langevin and Montserrat Capellas from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, France, investigate Christian Riekel and Tilo Seydel’s research into this remarkable material.


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Teaching science in the classroom is all very well, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to let your students learn for themselves what it’s really like to work in a research laboratory? Sooike Stoops from the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Belgium, describes a project that does just that!

Ethics in research

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Is it acceptable to use human embryonic stem cells in research? What about live animals? Professor Nadia Rosenthal, head of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy, talks to Russ Hodge about the ethics of her research.

The Third Man of the Double Helix

By Maurice Wilkins

Reviewed by Friedlinde Krotscheck, Internationale Gesamthochschule Heidelberg, Germany

Rhythms of Life: The Biological Clocks That Control the Daily Lives of Every Living Thing

By Leon Kreitzman and Russell Foster

Reviewed by Michalis Hadjimarcou, Cyprus

Molecular Biology of the Cell* and Molecular Biology of the Cell: A Problems Approach+

*By Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson, Julian Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts and Peter Walter

+By Tim Hunt and John Wilson

Reviewed by Bernhard Haubold, Fachhochschule Weihenstephan, Germany

How do muscles produce work? Using optical tweezers to study molecular machines

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Alexandre Lewalle from King’s College, London, UK, pushes back the frontiers of our knowledge of motors – at the molecular level.

Two hydrolytic enzymes and an epistemological–historical approach

The author, Isabella Marini, and her students at the Liceo Scientifico Ulisse Dini, Pisa

Why are enzymes so special? How do they differ from inorganic catalysts? Isabella Marini from the University of Pisa, Italy, describes a classroom protocol to enable students to answer these questions for themselves.

Is traditional engineering the right system with which to manipulate our world?

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We are relative newcomers on Earth and still have a lot to learn. Julian Vincent from the University of Bath, UK, investigates some of the lessons we can learn from the living world.

The yeast proteome: retooling the factory floor

Gitte Neubauer, Anne-Claude Gavin, Rob Russell and Peer Bork

Russ Hodge from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, reports on the first complete survey of 'molecular machines' in yeast.

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