December 15, 2016 3 min to read

Enzyme’s structure helped elucidate RNAi’s mechanism

Category : Look back at 2006

Study confirmed how RNA-cleaving “Dicer” enzyme measures and then snips its substrates, advancing our understanding of gene silencing Stu Borman Dicer cleaves RNAs (blue strands) into segments roughly the length of its “handle” region. PAZ, RNase IIIa, and RNase IIIb are protein domains, and red spheres are magnesium ions. C...

December 15, 2016 2 min to read

Watching protein expression one molecule at a time

Category : Look back at 2006

Single-molecule imaging methods confirmed that gene expression is a random, bursty process Celia Henry Arnaud In 2006, X. Sunney Xie of Harvard University accomplished a rare feat. His group published one paper in Nature and another in Science in the same week. Those papers described the first observations of protein production in li...

December 14, 2016 2 min to read

Scientists smiled with DNA origami

Category : Look back at 2006

Once used to design tiny smiley faces, the nanoscale patterning technique is gaining credibility as a practical tool Bethany Halford Ten years ago, Rothemund used DNA origami to create nanoscale smiley faces. This year he used the technique to recreate a fluorescent dime-sized version of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” (shown bel...

December 15, 2016 2 min to read

Most-cited chemistry papers published a decade ago

Category : Look back at 2006

C&EN and CAS look back at high-impact research from 2006 Lauren K. Wolf A scanning electron microscope image of graphene flakes. Credit: Capkuckokos/Wikimedia Commons Title: Graphene-based composite materials Reference: Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature04969 Number of citations: 6,196 Senior authors: SonBinh T. Nguyen and Rodney S. ...

December 13, 2016 1 min to read

Hawaii explosion cost a researcher an arm

Category : Top headlines of 2016

Electrostatic spark likely ignited tank containing mix of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide gases Jyllian Kemsley This steel tank ruptured during the explosion, which severed a researcher’s arm. Credit: Honolulu Fire Department Calls for heightened attention to laboratory risks continued in 2016 after postdoctoral researcher The...

December 13, 2016 2 min to read

TSCA reform crossed the finish line

Category : Top headlines of 2016

After decades of negotiations, law that controls chemicals in the U.S. marketplace got a makeover Britt E. Erickson It was an epic year for chemical regulation in the U.S. For the first time in nearly 40 years, both chambers of Congress agreed to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the law that governs chemicals used in h...

December 13, 2016 2 min to read

U.S. elected Trump as president

Category : Top headlines of 2016

Uncertainty remains about his stance on science Cheryl Hogue Trump speaks at a rally in North Carolina. Credit: Timothy/ZUMA Press/Splash News/Newscom After a long, hard-fought campaign, voters handed Republican Donald Trump a presidential victory in November. Republicans also retained control of Congress, meaning GOP lawmakers are p...

December 13, 2016 1 min to read

The periodic table got four new elements

Category : Top headlines of 2016

Nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson complete the seventh row Jyllian Kemsley Credit: C&EN The periodic table rang in 2016 with a newly completed seventh row, after the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry formally recognized the discoveries of elements 113, 115, 117, and 118. A few weeks ago, the element...

December 13, 2016 1 min to read

Post Dow-DuPont, chemical deal-making waned as 2016 advanced

Category : Top headlines of 2016

A few big chemical deals were inked during the year, but it was hardly the frenzy observers were expecting Alexander H. Tullo Chemical deals lead mergersBuoyed by Bayer’s planned $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto, the chemical industry led global merger activity through the first three quarters of this year. Overall, deal-mak...

December 12, 2016 2 min to read

Labs made advances in Zika research

Category : Top headlines of 2016

Although funding to fight the virus was stymied, scientists hit milestones Sarah Everts Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—their larvae shown here—have been named the culprit in transmitting Zika.Credit: Oscar Rivera/EPA/Newscom In January, the Pan American Health Organization announced an alarming rise in cases of microcephaly and...