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Gold Particles Enhance Cardiac Patches

July 18, 2013 9:48 am | News | Comments

In the search for innovative methods to restore heart function, scientists have been exploring cardiac "patches" that could be transplanted into the body to replace damaged heart tissue. Now, researchers are literally setting a gold standard in cardiac tissue engineering by integrating cardiac cells with nanofibers made of gold particles.

Breaking News: Tissues Help Target Malaria

July 17, 2013 1:29 pm | News | Comments

Although malaria has been eradicated in many countries, including the United States, it still infects more than 200 million people worldwide. Researchers have developed a way to grow liver tissue that can support the liver stage of the life cycle of the two most common species of malaria. This system could be used to test drugs and vaccines against both species.

Psychedelic Drug Erases Fear in Mice

July 16, 2013 9:57 am | News | Comments

Low doses of a psychedelic drug erased the conditioned fear response in mice, suggesting that the agent may be a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions, a new study found. The unexpected finding was made by a reasearch team studying the effects of the compound psilocybin on the birth of new neurons in the brain and on learning and short-term memory formation.

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DNA Computations Performed in Living Cells

July 11, 2013 12:03 pm | News | Comments

Chemists have performed a DNA-based logic-gate operation within a human cell. The research may pave the way to more complicated computations in live cells, as well as new methods of disease detection and treatment. Until now, DNA computation events have typically taken place in a test tube, rather than in living cells.

MicroRNAs Implicated in Breast, Blood Cancers

July 10, 2013 10:31 am | News | Comments

A mere 25 years ago, noncoding RNAs were considered nothing more than “background noise” in the overall genomic landscape. Now, two new studies reveal that one of these tiny noncoding molecules—microRNA-22—plays an outsized role in two types of cancer.

Detecting DNA in Space

July 9, 2013 11:07 am | News | Comments

In a step toward the goal of sending a DNA sequencer to Mars, where it can analyze soil and ice samples for traces of DNA and other genetic material, researchers have created a DNA-sequencing microchip that can survive space radiation. 

UK May OK Creating Babies with DNA from 3 People

June 27, 2013 8:01 pm | by MARIA CHENG - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Britain may allow a controversial technique to create babies using DNA from three people, a move that would help couples avoid passing on rare genetic diseases, the country's top medical officer says. The new techniques help women with faulty mitochondria, the energy source in a cell, from passing on to their babies defects that can result in such diseases as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, heart problems and mental retardation.

700,000 Year Old Horse Gets Its Genome Sequenced

June 27, 2013 12:17 pm | News | Comments

Scientists at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark (University of Copenhagen) have sequenced the so far oldest genome from a prehistoric creature. They have done so by sequencing and analyzing short pieces of DNA molecules preserved in bone-remnants from a horse that had been kept frozen for the last 700.000 years in the permafrost of Yukon, Canada.

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Lab Confirms Thirdhand Smoke Causes DNA Damage

June 21, 2013 10:35 am | News | Comments

A study led by researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found for the first time that thirdhand smoke—the noxious residue that clings to virtually all surfaces long after the secondhand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out—causes significant genetic damage in human cells.

Fungus Joins New Species List

June 19, 2013 10:24 am | News | Comments

A new species of fungus that causes life-threatening infections in humans and cats has been discovered. After six years of investigation, researchers have confirmed this as a completely new species, Aspergillus felis, which can cause virulent disease in humans and cats by infecting their respiratory tract.

Drawing Pad Monitors Learning-disabled Brains

June 18, 2013 10:58 am | News | Comments

For less than $100, University of Washington researchers have designed a computer-interfaced drawing pad that helps scientists see inside the brains of children with learning disabilities while they read and write. To create the system, researchers hollowed out a ballpoint pen and inserted two optical fibers that connect to a light-tight box in an adjacent control room where the pen’s movement is recorded.

Melanoma Tumors 'Eradicated' in Mice

June 17, 2013 11:10 am | News | Comments

Researchers eradicated most melanoma tumors by exposing them to a fast-acting virus, according to a report in the Journal of Virology. Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer and can spread throughout the body and even into the brain.

Technique Clears Major Diabetes Transplant Hurdle

June 17, 2013 11:04 am | News | Comments

Researchers have identified a way to trigger reproduction in the laboratory of clusters of human cells that make insulin, potentially removing a significant obstacle to transplanting the cells as a treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes. 

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Developmental Protein Regulates Cancer Spread

June 14, 2013 9:43 am | News | Comments

A protein used by embryo cells during early development, and recently found in many different types of cancer, apparently serves as a switch regulating the spread of cancer, known as metastasis, new research reports. Metastasis is responsible for 90 percent of cancer-related deaths.

US Court Rules Against Gene Patents

June 13, 2013 11:08 am | by BY JESSE J. HOLLAND - ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER | News | Comments

The Supreme Court ruled today that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and biotechnology industries. The high court's unanimous judgment reverses three decades of patent awards by government officials.

New Human Cornea Layer Discovered

June 12, 2013 9:08 am | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered a previously undetected layer in the cornea, the clear window at the front of the human eye. The breakthrough could help surgeons to dramatically improve outcomes for patients undergoing corneal grafts and transplants.

1-D to 3-D Genomics

June 11, 2013 11:21 am | News | Comments

New breakthroughs in research on protein-DNA recognition may have profound implications for furthering research into cancer and other genetically based diseases. The research— which integrates two fields, genomics and structural biology— sheds light on the mechanisms underlying how proteins recognize their DNA binding sites by translating genome sequences into three-dimensional structures.

Bioengineered Vein Successfully Implanted

June 7, 2013 10:21 am | News | Comments

In a first-of-its-kind operation in the United States, a team of doctors helped create a bioengineered blood vessel and transplanted it into the arm of a patient with end-stage kidney disease. The procedure is a milestone in the field of tissue engineering.

Anesthesia Effects Depend on Age of Neurons, Not Patient

June 6, 2013 11:07 am | News | Comments

As pediatric specialists become increasingly aware that surgical anesthesia may have lasting effects on the developing brains of young children, new research suggests the threat may also apply to adult brains. Researchers recently reported that testing in laboratory mice shows anesthesia’s neurotoxic effects depend on the age of brain neurons– not the age of the animal undergoing anesthesia.

The Fight Against Genome Parasites

June 5, 2013 10:23 am | News | Comments

In the gonads of animals, genome parasites, such as transposons, pose a serious threat to evolutionary fitness. To protect genomic integrity, animals evolved the so-called piRNA pathway to silence the deleterious transposons. Researchers have now identified almost 50 genes that play important roles in the piRNA pathway of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Neuron Circuits Overexcited in Fragile X Brains

June 4, 2013 10:58 am | News | Comments

The genetic malady known as Fragile X syndrome is the most common cause of inherited autism and intellectual disability. Brain scientists know the gene defect that causes the syndrome and understand the damage it does in misshaping the brain's synapses, but how this abnormal shaping of synapses translates into abnormal behavior is unclear. Now, researchers believe they know.

Altered Gut Microbiota Can Predict Diabetes

May 30, 2013 10:39 am | News | Comments

Intestinal bacteria may have a greater influence on us than was previously thought. In a recent study, researchers showed that patients with Type 2 diabetes have an altered gut microbiota. Their findings have led to a new model to identify patients at increased risk of developing diabetes.

Scientists Announce Top 10 New Species

May 24, 2013 9:11 am | News | Comments

An amazing glow-in-the-dark cockroach, a harp-shaped carnivorous sponge and the smallest vertebrate on Earth are just three of the newly discovered top 10 species selected by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University.

Digging Out DNA with Digital PCR

May 23, 2013 10:44 am | by Mike May, PhD | Articles | Comments

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) plays a leading role in today’s biology. PCR started with an endpoint approach that detected a particular nucleic-acid sequence. Then, real-time PCR provided relative quantification of the sequences. Most recently, digital PCR (dPCR) allowed scientists to absolutely quantify sequences of nucleic acids.

'Lifespan Machine' Monitors Worm Aging

May 20, 2013 12:00 pm | by Harvard Medical School | News | Comments

The worm’s tail wriggles, a micrometer-scale twitch. A scanner captures the new posture. Software recognizes the motion. Life goes on in the Lifespan Machine, a new system devised in the lab of Walter Fontana that, essentially, counts dead worms.

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