About the Cover

07 August 2013
Vol 5, Issue 197

Cover image

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ONLINE COVER A Not-So-Harmless Plant. Shown is a flower of Aristolochia baetica, one of the many species that make up the genus Aristolochia. Members of this genus are found in most parts of the world and have been used as herbal remedies in Asia for centuries. In recent years, aristolochic acid, a chemical compound found in these plants, was shown to cause kidney damage and urinary tract cancers. It has since been banned in several countries, but many people are still exposed to it through herbal mixtures or as an accidental contaminant. Now, Poon et al. and Hoang et al. have discovered that exposure to aristolochic acid leaves a tell-tale pattern of mutations in patients' DNA and may be responsible for more cancers than previously suspected. See also the accompanying Focus by Lee and Ladanyi and a related Podcast by Bin Tean Teh. [CREDIT: CARSTEN NIEHAUS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS]

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER A Not-So-Harmless Plant. Shown is a flower of Aristolochia baetica, one of the many species that make up the genus Aristolochia. Members of this genus are found in most parts of the world and have been used as herbal remedies in Asia for centuries. In recent years, aristolochic acid, a chemical compound found in these plants, was shown to cause kidney damage and urinary tract cancers. It has since been banned in several countries, but many people are still exposed to it through herbal mixtures or as an accidental contaminant. Now, Poon et al. and Hoang et al. have discovered that exposure to aristolochic acid leaves a tell-tale pattern of mutations in patients' DNA and may be responsible for more cancers than previously suspected. See also the accompanying Focus by Lee and Ladanyi and a related Podcast by Bin Tean Teh. [CREDIT: CARSTEN NIEHAUS/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS]