In 1953, Cambridge researchers Watson and Crick published a paper describing the interweaving ‘double helix’ DNA structure – the chemical code for all life. Now, in the year of that scientific landmark’s 60th Anniversary, Cambridge researchers have published a paper proving that four-stranded ‘quadruple helix’ DNA structures – known as G-quadruplexes – also exist within the human genome.
Biomedical researchers studying aging and cancer are intensely interested in telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes. In a new study, scientists at UC Santa Cruz used a novel technique to reveal structural and mechanical properties of telomeres that could help guide the development of new anti-cancer drugs.
The diverse complexity seen amongst individual species within the animal kingdom evolved from a surprisingly small gene pool. The key to morphological and behavioral complexity, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests, is the regulation of gene expression by a family of DNA-binding proteins called “transcription factors.”
Collecting specimens in biobanks provides little value unless the samples can be easily used. As Mark A Collins, PhD, director of marketing at BioFortis, says, “People have invested a lot of money in biobanks and the specimens in them. Now, they are looking to best leverage those specimens to drive clinical research, personalized medicine and clinical trials.”
Exposing pregnant mice to low doses of the chemical tributyltin can lead to obesity for multiple generations without subsequent exposure, a study has found. After exposing pregnant mice to TBT in concentrations similar to those found in the environment, researchers saw increased body fat, liver fat and fat-specific gene expression in their offspring over multiple generations.
A recent study on how tadpoles re-grow their tails identified which genes were activated during tail regeneration and showed that several genes that are involved in metabolism are activated, in particular those that are linked to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) - chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen that are commonly believed to be harmful to cells.
Roy Curtiss wants to vaccinate children and animals alike in the far regions of the world from the most basic scourges of the Earth—typhoid fever, pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis. But to do that, he must get them to swallow Salmonella-laced liquids.
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found, for the first time that young humans (infants, children and adolescents) are capable of generating new heart muscle cells. These findings refute the long-held belief that the human heart grows after birth exclusively by enlargement of existing cells.
To plant food, insect repellant and other homespun uses for spent coffee grounds, scientists are adding an application that could make the gunk left over from brewing coffee a valuable resource for production of dietary supplements. Their new report concludes that used coffee grounds are a rich source of healthful antioxidant substances.
The Chinese government will give a boost to the biotechnology industry in order to tackle problems related to population growth, food safety, energy conservation and environmental protection, the State Council said. The government aims to double the share of GDP that the sector's value-added output accounts for by 2015 from the 2010 level.
On the list of undesirable medical conditions, a parasitic worm infection surely ranks fairly high. Although modern pharmaceuticals have made them less of a threat in some areas, these organisms are still a major cause of disease and disability throughout much of the developing world. But parasites are not all bad, according to new research by a team of scientists.
Epigenetics research has expanded rapidly over the last several years, as evidenced by the exponential increase in published literature in this field. Breakthroughs have been made in the elucidation of basic epigenetic mechanisms such as histone modification, and with these advances have come an understanding of the critical role epigenetic modifications play in the development and progression of cancer.
University of Florida researchers and colleagues have identified a protein that, when absent, helps the body burn fat and prevents insulin resistance and obesity. The discovery could aid development of drugs that not only prevent obesity, but also spur weight loss in people who are already overweight.
A variant of a gene associated with active personality traits in humans seems to also be involved with living a longer life. This derivative of a dopamine-receptor gene – called the DRD4 7R allele – appears in significantly higher rates in people more than 90 years old and is linked to lifespan increases in mouse studies.
As if space travel was not already filled with enough dangers, a new study shows that cosmic radiation – which would bombard astronauts on deep space missions to places like Mars – could accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
One approach to understanding components in living organisms is to attempt to create them artificially. A suite of techniques—collectively referred to as synthetic biology—have been used to produce self-replicating molecules, artificial pathways in living systems, and organisms bearing synthetic genomes. In a new twist, a researcher fabricated an artificial protein in the laboratory and examined the ways living cells respond to it.
People who study or treat Alzheimer’s disease and its earliest clinical stage, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), have focused attention on the obvious short-term memory problems. But a new study suggests that people on the road to Alzheimer’s may actually have problems early on in processing semantic or knowledge-based information.
Following up on an ancient Russian way of keeping milk from going sour — by putting a frog in the bucket of milk — scientists have identified a wealth of new antibiotic substances in the skin of the Russian Brown frog. Amphibians secrete peptides through their skin. These compounds make up the majority of their skin secretions and act as a first line of defense against bacteria and other microorganisms.
Over the last half decade, it has become increasingly clear that the normal gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria play a variety of very important roles in the biology of human and animals. Now researchers propose yet another role for GI bacteria: that they exert some control over their hosts’ appetites.
Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have developed the first synthetic compound that can reverse the effects of a serious metabolic condition known as fatty liver disease. True to its name, the disease involves an abnormal buildup of fat in the liver.
Global research and development (R&D) spending is forecast to grow by 3.7 percent, or $53.7 billion in 2013 to $1.5 trillion, according to the closely watched forecast by Battelle and R&D Magazine. While much remains uncertain about the future of the U.S. R&D enterprise, China’s march to prominence in the global R&D arena accounts for $23. billion on the coming year’s projected growth.
Finding ways to diagnose cancer earlier could greatly improve the chances of survival for many patients. One way to do this is to look for specific proteins secreted by cancer cells, which circulate in the bloodstream. However, the quantity of these biomarkers is so low that detecting them has proven difficult. A new technology may help to make biomarker detection much easier.
The judges dove Down Under to select an Australian video of freshwater rotifers as First Prize winner in the 2012 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition, a forum for showcasing microscope photos and movies of life science subjects.
A new study that finds the earliest solid evidence of cheese-making. Scientists performed a chemical analysis on fragments from 34 pottery sieves discovered in Poland to determine their purpose. Until now, experts weren't sure whether such sieves were used to make cheese, beer or honey.
To millions of people, the Christmas tree is a cheerful sight. To scientists who decipher the DNA codes of plants and animals, it's a monster. We're talking about the conifer, the umbrella term for cone-bearing trees like the spruce, fir, pine, cypress and cedar.