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December 17th, 2007
The increased use of nanomaterials in everything from consumer goods to medicines highlights the need to understand the toxicity of these substances better. Various nanomaterials such as fullerenes and carbon nanotubes are known to be toxic in cells at high concentrations but nobody quite understands the molecular and cellular mechanisms behind the effects.
Frank Chen, a biologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs in California, US, believes that quantum effects play an important role in the interaction between nanomaterials and the molecular machinery within cells. And now he has built a machine for testing these effects on gene expression.
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