Friday, November 28, 2008

A hell of a joke on Impact Factors

In a recent issue of Genome Biology, Gregory Petsko published a very funny commentary on impact factors. Basically, it tells the story of a recently departed genome biologist that discusses the impact factor of his life with St Peter at the Pearly Gates.

You can get it here LINK.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wordle of the blog

The Wordle ( of the blog. This utility generates word clouds from the text that is inserted. In this case the whole blog. Unfortunately I've had little time to update the blog recently. I will try to catch up soon. Sorry....

Friday, November 07, 2008

Two in a row... Another Science paper using flow sorting on plant protoplasts

Can it be two in a row? It is indeed. Two weeks ago de Smet and co-authors published a study entitled "Receptor-Like Kinase ACR4 Restricts Formative Cell Divisions in the Arabidopsis Root" on Science. It is a very interesting application of flow sorting of plant perycicle cells undergoing lateral root initiation to identify the receptor-like kinase ACR4 of Arabidopsis.

One of the authors told me that this important and interesting study resulted from a fruitful collaboration between Philip Benfey's group from the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, Duke University and the Root Development Group in Ghent headed by Tom Beeckman with cell sorting being done in both Departments.

Congratulations to all the persons involved in such groundbreaking investigation.

During the development of multicellular organisms, organogenesis and pattern formation depend on formative divisions to specify and maintain pools of stem cells. In higher plants, these activities are essential to shape the final root architecture because the functioning of root apical meristems and the de novo formation of lateral roots entirely rely on it. We used transcript profiling on sorted pericycle cells undergoing lateral root initiation to identify the receptor-like kinase ACR4 of Arabidopsis as a key factor both in promoting formative cell divisions in the pericycle and in constraining the number of these divisions once organogenesis has been started. In the root tip meristem, ACR4 shows a similar action by controlling cell proliferation activity in the columella cell lineage. Thus, ACR4 function reveals a common mechanism of formative cell division control in the main root tip meristem and during lateral root initiation.