Online Editorials

Where are the Pockets?

(February 8th, 2016) Allosteric sites on proteins have enormous potential for the development of new and better drugs. Finding such sites is, however, very difficult. But that is changing thanks to AlloPred, an online utility from the laboratory of Michael Sternberg at Imperial College, London.


Going Viral

(February 5th, 2016) Just a short while ago, the fight against the Ebola virus was won. Now, a new virus is frightening the world, in particular people in the Americas. We contacted two experts to learn more about this international emergency known as the Zika virus.


Unlimited Openness

(February 3rd, 2016) Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) is the latest journal launched by Pensoft, an open access publisher with a history of innovation. Via its digital platform, preliminary stages of the academic workflow and final research reports can be authored, reviewed and published.


Smarter than we Think?

(February 1st, 2016) Just a silly idea or a new chapter in plant biology? With recently acquired funding, two biologists want to condition plants, just like Ivan Pavlov did with his dogs. Will they succeed?


Plastic Pollution in the Lab

(January 29th, 2016) A whopping five-and-a-half million tons of plastic waste is generated annually in bioscience labs over the world. The global scientific community needs to sit up and take notice, urge Mauricio Urbina and colleagues.


The Power of the Crowd gets Stronger

(January 27th, 2016) In research or elsewhere, every helping hand is welcome. Swedish scientists found, there’s an emerging trend of publications, featuring non-scientific personnel: citizen scientists.


Making the Most of What We Have

(January 25th, 2016) It is typically more economical to repurpose old possessions than to go out and buy new ones. As it turns out, this same principle may also apply to cancer treatments.  


3D Genomics to the Rescue?

(January 22nd, 2016) Mutations in one gene or many are behind numerous debilitating diseases. To be able to cure these diseases, we have to understand them. 3D genomics might do the trick, if it can overcome its teething troubles. 


Shall we Dance?

(January 20th, 2016) Elephants do it, chimpanzees do it, and yes, even humans like to shake a leg from time-to-time. What started the evolution of dance? Swaying to a salsa rhythm, our writer, Alejandrolvido, tries to find the answer.


An Entire Galaxy to be Explored

(January 18th, 2016) Who would have thought there’s a beautiful galaxy inside our cells – you only have to make it visible. A new method for unveiling thousands of contact points between genes in 3D takes you on a journey into space, revealing new insights into mouse development along the way.


The Agar Tweet Twitch

(January 15th, 2016) Recently, Nature News issued a warning: there’s not enough seaweed for everyone. Microbiologists should, thus, stock up on their agar, as the dwindling algae harvest is about to imperil the culturing of lab microbes. How worried should researchers be?


The “Voinnet Case”: Lost Control

(January 13th, 2016) What was behind the multiple paper manipulations by Olivier Voinnet et al.? An attempted explanation...


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Observations of The Owl -
Misused Reviews

Current Issue - OwlI have to admit there is definitely something that you humans have over us birds: a plethora of different facial expressions. You can laugh, you can cry, you can look angry, sad, indifferent, playful,... what ever you like. And we birds? We can only look just the way we do: sparrows busily, vultures voraciously, chickens densely (of course!), owls wisely (what else?)...more

Publication Analysis 2007-2013: Plant & Animal Ecology

Current Issue - Publication AnalysisIn our last issue, we chose the winning and a "highly commended" image of the 2015 BMC Ecology Image Competition to be our Picture of the Issue. Ecologists, as we have learnt, view nature and the world with very different eyes. Thus, who could better describe this research discipline than ecologists themselves? 'Ecology' derives from the Greek word for 'house' ... more

Bench philosophy: Pocket-sized RNA-Seq

Current Issue - Publication AnalysisMore and more roles are found for non-coding (nc)RNAs in fine-tuning the transcriptome. Hence, the race is on to find the full range of what these RNAs are up to. Until now, ncRNAs have proved to be challenging to work with, however, all that is starting to change, thanks to a burgeoning crop of new techniques... more

Tips and tricks of the trade: Antisense Oligonucleotides

Current Issue - TricksGene silencing techniques taking advantage of antisense oligonucleotides and RNAi, rely on the efficient uptake of constructed oligonucleotides into the cells. The oligo transfer may be greatly enhanced by simply adding CaCl2 to the cell culture medium. Oligonucleotide-based gene silencing and editing techniques, such as Antisense Oligonucleotides (ASOs), Aptamers, siRNAs, miRNAs and CRISPR-Cas are widely employed in life science research to modify gene expression and protein function... more

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