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November 5, 2004
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Using Particles to Picture Proteins

The workhorse for solving the structures of biological molecules is x-ray crystallography, but some proteins can't be crystallized. Enter single-particle electron cryomicroscopy, a technique that uses images of randomly oriented molecules, frozen in solution, to construct a 3-D model in the computer — crystallization in silico.
  Feature Stories  
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A gene named for Sonic the Hedgehog is the "fate switch" for neural stem cells.
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New computer studies reveal how a flexible molecular machine called a chaperonin refolds proteins that get bent out of shape.
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A new report tracks a growing number of states investing in clean energy.
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AIDS Help From the South Pacific

Long used by Samoan healers, the mamala tree was saved from extinction to become a potent AIDS fighter. Now an agreement with the government of Samoa will help see to it that the mamala's powerful medicine is manufactured synthetically, with half the proceeds going to the Samoan people.
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How Quark Matter Freezes

Pondering the interiors of neutron stars, a nuclear scientist stumbled upon a startling hypothesis about how quark matter freezes. While theorists debate, astronomers gather more clues as to how the densest matter in the universe arranges itself.