Biomedicine and Life Sciences

Browse the following groundbreaking articles nominated by our Editors-in-Chief and read why they believe they could help change the world.

Enjoy free access until the end of July, 2018. Open access articles are freely available online on a permanent basis.

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A comprehensive view of the epigenetic landscape part I: DNA methylation, passive and active DNA demethylation pathways and histone variants.

Neurotoxicity Research

This paper focuses on the regulation of higher-order chromatin as an essential element for tissue-specific patterns of gene expression.


A method for the production and expedient screening of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated non-transgenic mutant plants

Horticulture Research

Creating genetically engineered non-transgenic plants.


A survey of methods and tools to detect recent and strong positive selection

Journal of Biological Research - Thessaloniki

In this review article, summary statistics and software tools are presented and classified according to (1) the selective sweep signature they detect and (2) their capacity to analyze whole genomes or subgenomic regions. As such, it’s a must-read for bioinformaticians and evolutionary scientists alike.


A view of human haematopoietic development from the Petri dish

Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

A update on the progress in making blood stem cells in vitro, which has broad applications in basic research and clinical medicine, e.g. for therapies involving the transplantation and transfusion of blood cells.


Amphioxus mouth after dorso-ventral inversion

Zoological Letters

Puts forward a unique concept on how our mouths evolved.


An Algorithm for Sequencing by Hybridization Based on an Alternating DNA Chip

Interdisciplinary Sciences: Computational Life Sciences

An algorithm solving the non-classical case of SBH, where the chip probes consist in a set of oligonucleotides described by some specific pattern.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant growth-promoting pseudomonads improve yield, quality and nutritional value of tomato: a field study


Applied research confirms that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi can be used to reduce inorganic fertilizer use and improve yield in commercial field production.


Atoh1 regulation in the cochlea: more than just transcription

​​​​Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE B (Biomedicine & Biotechnology)

A significant new technology for olefin polymerization fluidized bed reactors based on acoustic emissions has demonstrated impressive reliability for stable operation.


Autonomic control of body temperature and blood pressure: influences of female sex hormones

Clinical Autonomic Research

A key paper to understanding temperature and autonomic changes in women depending on their hormonal status.


Challenges and science-based implications for modern management and conservation of European ungulate populations

Mammal Research

This article provides key science-based management and conservation measures to ensure the viability and endurance of sustainable ungulate populations in Europe.


Clinical Translation of Tumor Acidosis Measurements with AcidoCEST MRI

Molecular Imaging and Biology

Imaging modality is non-invasive and not dependent on radiation.  As such, the methodology should be much more broadly applied.


Cohesin biology meets the loop extrusion model

Chromosome Research

This paper deals with a very hot topic: how DNA and the genome are structured and expressed.


Conjugated polymer nanomaterials for theranostics​​​​​​​

Acta Pharmacologica Sinica

Conjugated polymer nanomaterials hold great promise for biomedical imaging, noninvasive therapy, and drug delivery applications.

Dark-Fermentative Biological Hydrogen Production from Mixed Biowastes Using Defined Mixed Cultures

Indian Journal of Microbiology

Puts forward an eco-friendly process for managing waste to reduce greenhouse gases and pathogens - two of the greatest concerns for Environmental and Health Departments.


Detecting the fingerprint of drought across Europe’s forests: do carbon isotope ratios and stem growth rates tell similar stories?​​​​​​​

Forest Ecosystems

The authors demonstrate that the isotopic ratio of 13C to 12C stored in wood offers a reliable indicator of drought across a wide range of tree species and environmental conditions. Understanding how trees respond to drought is critical to forecasting both the short-term and long-term impacts of climate change on forests.


Development of a Comprehensive Sequencing Assay for Inherited Cardiac Condition Genes​​​​​​​

Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Rsearch

This outstanding article describes a new method for identifying the mutations that lead to inherited cardiac diseases.


Differential specificity between closely related corals and abundant Endozoicomonas endosymbionts across global scales

​​​​​​​The ISME Journal

The work reported by Neave et al. yields valuable new insights into how prokaryotic endosymbionts are shaped in corals and how they contribute to host functions.

Domestic violence shapes Colombian women’s partner choices​​​​​​​

Behavioral Eology and Sociobiology

The experimental finding that women with higher scores on the domestic violence factor preferred significantly less masculine Colombian male faces is highly relevant and significant in the current #MeToo public debate.


Dosage compensation and its roles in evolution of sex chromosomes and phenotypic dimorphism: lessons from Drosophila, C.elegans and mammals. 


A must-read article that describes the new concept of dosage compensation in the context of regulating the sexual dimorphism and evolution of sex chromosomes.


Dual-targeting by CRISPR/Cas9 for precise excision of transgenes from rice genome​​​​​​​

Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture: Journal of Plant Biotechnology

CRISPR/Cas9 excised a 1.6 kb transgene fragment from the rice chromosome, developing mono-allelic and bi-allelic excisions and yielding marker-free plants.


Early life factors that affect allergy development​​​​​​​

Nature Reviews Immunology

Environmental experiences during childhood can result in the development of allergies that persist into adulthood. Knowledge of these early-life exposures may help to inform the treatment and prevention of allergies.


Ephedra Herb extract activates/desensitizes transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 and reduces capsaicin-induced pain​​​​​​​

Journal of Natural Medicines

Provides must-read advice for researchers on pharmacological studies of Kampo medicines containing Ephedra herba.


Experimental evolution of Escherichia coli harboring an ancient translational protein​​​​​​​

The Journal of Molecular Evolution

Can we resurrect ancient genes? Here, Kacar et al. show that, with the aid of directed evolution, we can make hybrid proteins that both inform evolutionary history and the creation of novel activities.


How metal hyperaccumulating plants can advance Zn biofortification​​​​​​​

Plant and Soil

Biofortification of plants with micronutrients holds tremendous potential to improve the quality of food for humans, and of feed for farm animals.


Human haematopoietic stem cell lineage commitment is a continuous process​​​​​​​

Nature Cell Biology

An analysis of human hematopoiesis at single-cell resolution shows that hematopoietic stem cell lineage commitment is a continuous process, unlike the traditionally accepted model of stepwise progression through distinct stem and progenitor states.


Human life is unlimited – but short


How long can a human life be? Is it finite or potentially infinite? The authors provide statistical evidence for a potentially unlimited lifespan.


Intermittent fasting promotes adipose thermogenesis and metabolic homeostasis via VEGF-mediated alternative activation of macrophage

Cell Research

On-and-off fasting can help combat obesity and metabolic diseases.

Mapping fifteen trace elements in human seminal plasma and sperm DNA

Biological Trace Element Research

A must-read paper for cancer researchers, which shows the difference between carcinogenic trace elements interacting with DNA and with its environment.


Methylation patterns in serum DNA for early identification of disseminated breast cancer

Genome Medicine

This research holds great potential for the early identification of breast cancer and may lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.


Microbiota Transfer Therapy alters gut ecosystem and improves gastrointestinal and autism symptoms: an open-label study


This article addresses the importance of microbes in health, and in serious conditions such as autisms.


Micro-CT imaging of live insects using carbon dioxide gas-induced hypoxia as anesthetic with minimal impact on certain subsequent life history traits

BMC Zoology

Insects are fascinating life forms that are all around us and play crucial roles in our ecosystems - this new technique could considerably expand our understanding of insects.


Mucosa-associated invariant T cells infiltrate hepatic metastases in patients with colorectal carcinoma but are rendered dysfunctional within and adjacent to tumor microenvironment.

Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy

Overcoming dysfunction of a novel and rarely studied immune cell type may be important for controlling metastatic cancer.


New future of cell biology and toxicology: thinking deeper

Cell Biology and Toxicology

An innovative approach to cell biology and toxicology, which could challenge our assumptions and open a new world of drug discovery and development.


Next-generation approaches to understand and combat the antibiotic resistome

Nature Reviews Microbiology

Offers a proactive guide to identifying and mitigating the global threat posed by antibiotic resistance.


Platelets prime hematopoietic–vascular niche to drive angiocrine-mediated liver regeneration

Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy

Demonstrates that white blood cells produce pro-regenerative factors that can help the liver recover from injury.


Polar body transfer restores the the developmental potential of oocytes to blastocyst stage in a case of repeated embryo fragmentation.

Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

After a year of gene editing in human embryos this paper reveals that a common feature of human embryos is correctable after transfer of one patient’s polar body (genome) into the cytoplasm of a donor oocyte. This finding opens a whole new avenue of potential therapeutic interventions.


PPARγ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) protects neuroblastoma cells against amyloid-beta (Aβ) induced cell death and neuroinflammation via NF-κB pathway

BMC Neuroscience

Increasing a transcriptional coactivator can successfully reduce neuronal death caused by amyloid beta in the context of Alzheimer’s disease.


Probability density distribution of delta RR intervals: a novel method for the detection of atrial fibrillation

Australasian Physical & Engineering Sciences in Medicine

Introduces a novel method for detecting atrial fibrillation using the ECG signal.


Problematic Quantifications: a Critical Appraisal of Scenario Making for a Global ‘Sustainable’ Food Production

Food Ethics

The authors highlight ethically problematic trends in scientific analyses of food security, and show how easily the message can become biased.


Reversal of maladaptive fibrosis and compromised ventricular function in the pressure overloaded heart by a caveolin-1 surrogate peptide

Laboratory Investigation

Proposes a promising new treatment for congestive heart failure.

Serotonergic stimulation induces nerve growth and promotes visual learning via posterior eye grafts in a vertebrate model of induced sensory plasticity

npj Regenerative Medicine

These findings suggest that drugs used to treat neurological and psychiatric diseases could be repurposed to augment the innervation, integration, and function of organs transplanted in regenerative therapies.


Small cell lung cancer, an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like cancer: significance of inactive Notch signaling and expression of achaete-scute complex homologue 1

Human Cell

This review introduces readers to the roles of Notch and ASCL1 in the biology of small cell lung cancer, providing potential therapeutic targets for this recalcitrant cancer.


Soil myxobacteria as a potential source of polyketide-peptide substances

Folia Microbiologica

Discusses the production of a new type of biologically active compounds in a group of microorganisms that have traditionally been overlooked.


The Acoustic Habitat Hypothesis: An Ecoacoustics Perspective on Species Habitat Selection


Sound is an essential component of the environment, and provides the conditions and information needed to preserve many animals’ and ecosystems’ health.


The fabrication of biomimetic biphasic CAN-PAC hydrogel with a seamless interfacial layer applied in osteochondral defect repair

Bone Research

Femtosecond laser fabrication: realizing dynamic control of electrons.


The regulation of the Treg/Th17 balance by mesenchymal stem cells in human systemic lupus erythematosus

Cellular & Molecular Immunology

Investigates the mechanism of UC MSCs in the regulation of peripheral regulatory T (Treg) cells and T helper 17 (Th17) cells in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

The remarkable multivalency of the Hsp70 chaperones

Cell Stress & Chaperones

This paper discusses the role of a key protein’s functional plasticity in preventing diseases associated with aging.


The Role of Ontogeny in the Evolution of Human Cooperation

Human Nature

This article presents two major aspects leading to human cooperation: cooperative breeding, which produces ontogenetic preadaptations for collaboration during infancy that later prove useful for older children and adults; and interdependent collaboration during adulthood, which puts pressure on ever-younger children to begin acquiring and practicing their collaborative skills. For the full story, we need both the phylogeny and ontogeny, and how they relate.


The unpredictable risk imposed by microbial secondary metabolites: how safe is biological control of plant diseases?

Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection

This paper discusses the risks posed by the introduction of biological control agents and strongly suggests including secondary metabolite gene cluster expression data in the list of information required for approving plant protection agents and releasing them to the field.


Three-dimensional organotypic co-culture model of intestinal epithelial cells and macrophages to study Salmonella enterica colonization patterns

npj Microgravity

Infectious diseases are the world’s biggest killer of children and young adults. There is a substantial demand for models that mimic the structure-function and multicellular complexity of endogenous tissues . Advanced 3-D intestinal co-culture models containing multiple epithelial cell types and inflammatory immune cells were engineered under physiological fluid flow conditions, validated, and applied to study infection by Salmonella pathovars with different host adaptations, disease phenotypes, and antibiotic resistance.


TRPA1 channel mediates organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy

Cell Discovery

Introducing a new way to treat organophosphate-induced nerve damage.


Utility of oropharyngeal real-time PCR for S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae for diagnosis of pneumonia in adults

European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases

Real-time PCR analysis of oropharyngeal samples is compared to conventional testing for the diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia caused by S. pneumoniae or H. influenzae.


We need radical change in how we produce and consume food

Food Security: the science, sociology and economics of food production and access to food

With nearly 3 billion people suffering from hunger or hidden hunger, and with current food production methods being non-sustainable, Peter Horton shows what steps need to be taken.


Photosystem II Subunit S overexpression increases the efficiency of water use in a field-grown crop

Nature Communications

A must-read paper for those who concern feeding the ever increasing world population under the growing water scarcity situation.


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