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Stories announcing new developments in research related to the biosciences or health generally draw the most public attention because their impact on individual members of the public is most likely to be personal. At Berkeley Lab this past year, researchers helped decipher the genomes of the Japanese pufferfish and the sea squirt. What is learned from the study of these two genomes should help in finding new human genes and understanding how they're regulated. Other Berkeley researchers identified a new protein that appears to play a significant role in controlling triglyceride levels in the blood, a major risk factor in heart disease. In another development which carries implications for gene therapy and infection-fighting drugs, scientists identified the mechanism by which some viruses infect the cells of other organisms. Last but not least, researchers solved the delicate crystal structure of a protein that allows water to move in and out of a cell but blocks everything else.
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