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Physical sciences/Chemistry/Molecular chemistry/Molecular networks

A new study in dogs reveals two genes responsible for controlling heartbeat rhythm and re-coordinating the action of the heart’s right and left ventricles. These genes may be part of the molecular pathway affected by pacemakers, researchers report in the 14 September issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Using gene therapy or drugs to activate these genes in heart failure patients may help people who cannot use a pacemaker—or possibly replace pacemakers altogether, the study authors propose.

A new molecular map reveals protein “social networks” in the brain that could potentially be targeted by drugs to treat several different forms of autism, according to a new study in Science Translational Medicine.

The findings in the 8 June issue of the journal describe how proteins associated with autism interact with hundreds of other proteins, and may serve as a platform for discovering new genes related to autism disorders.

Christopher Gregg is the 2010 Grand Prize winner in the annual international competition for The Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology. He is being recognized for his outstanding contributions to research on how the parental origin of a gene affects its expression in the developing and adult brains of offspring.