NEWS FROM ThE EMBO cOMMUNITY The double helix Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA 60 years ago, an annotated and illustrated edition of this classic book gives new insights into the personal relationships between JAMES WATSON, FRANCES CRICK, MAURICE WILKINS, and ROSALIND FRANKLIN, and the making of a scientific revolution. In his 1968 memoir, The Double Helix, the brash young scientist James Watson chroni- cled the drama of the race to identify the structure of DNA, a discovery that would usher in the era of modern molecular biology. Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski have built upon this gripping narrative, juxtaposing Watson’s racy account with the observations of other protago- nists and offering an enhanced perspective on the now legendary story of Watson and Crick’s discovery. Gann and Witkowski have mined many sourc- es, including a trove of newly discovered corre- spondence belonging to Francis Crick (mislaid some fifty years ago) and the archives of Maurice Wilkins, Linus Pauling, Rosalind Franklin, and Watson and Crick themselves. Also in this edition are Watson’s own account of the Nobel Prize award and celebrations, appendixes that include an account of the book’s controversial first publi- cation, and a chapter dropped from the original edition, as well as an extraordinary assortment of documents and photographs – many never before published. This wealth of material contributes depth and color to Watson’s novelistic text and places events in their contemporary scientific and social context. The Library of Congress recognized The Double Helix as “A Book That Shaped America.” This new edition adds depth and richness to one of the most famous stories in science. Mammalian epigenetics in biology and medicine The ROYAL SOCIETY has recently published a special theme issue on mammalian epigenetics, compiled and edited by FUMITOSHI ISHINO, YOICHI SHINKAI and EMMA WHITELAW. The publication reviews the epigenetics of mammalian development, the molecular mechanisms of DNA methylation in the mammalian life cycle, and epigenetics in reprogramming technologies, human health and medicine. Epigenetics is the study of gene expression changes that occur without alteration of the primary DNA sequence but which are relatively stable over a lifetime. This area of research is crucial to understand the relation- ship between the genotype and the phenotype of living organisms. This special issue on epigenetics examines the progress that has been made in understanding well-characterized epigenetic phenomena, such as genomic imprinting, X-inactivation and epige- netic variation. It also provides a review of the underlying molecular mechanisms of epige- netics, such as DNA methylation and histone modification. Recent progress on gene expression control in animals produced by somatic cloning and other reproductive technologies and in pluripotent cells, such as primordial germ cells, embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, is also examined. The special issue also provides new insights into mammalian development and regen- erative medicine. The print issue of Mammalian epigenetics in biology and medicine can be ordered online at mammalian_epigenetics.xhtml TFascinated by plants he Second International Fascination of importance of plant science for agriculture, in Plants day will take place on 18 May sustainably producing food, as well as for horti- 2013. The event, which builds on the culture, forestry, and all of the non-food products success of the inaugural activities in 2012 (see also EMBOencounters Winter issue 2011/2012), serves to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants. The activities are designed to inform individuals about the such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy, and pharmaceuticals. The role of plants in environ- mental conservation is also emphasized. Further details about the 2013 event are available at Longitudinal section of a fern crozier, Asplenium elliottii, by Olivier Leroux National University of Ireland, Galway 12 EMBOencounters | Winter 2012|2013 | ©2013 EMBO © Olivier Leroux ThEME ISSUE BOOk REVIEW