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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.

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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.

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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.

Osteoarthritis Progression Halted

May 20, 2013 10:30 am | News | Comments

Scientists have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, they now have evidence that the bone underneath the cartilage is also a key player and exacerbates the damage.

Nanogel Secretes Insulin on Demand

May 16, 2013 11:49 am | News | Comments

Injectable nanoparticles developed at MIT may someday eliminate the need for patients with Type 1 diabetes to constantly monitor their blood-sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin. The nanoparticles were designed to sense glucose levels in the body and respond by secreting the appropriate amount of insulin, thereby replacing the function of pancreatic islet cells, which are destroyed in patients with Type 1 diabetes.

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New Drug Slows Alzheimer's

May 15, 2013 10:17 am | News | Comments

A drug developed by scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, known as J147, reverses memory deficits and slows Alzheimer's disease in aged mice following short-term treatment. The findings may pave the way to a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease in humans.

Gel Implant Restores Paralyzed Nerves

May 14, 2013 11:33 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers has invented a method for repairing damaged peripheral nerves. Through a biodegradable implant in combination with a newly-developed Guiding Regeneration Gel (GRG) that increases nerve growth and healing, the functionality of a torn or damaged nerve could ultimately be restored.

Product Roundup: Fume Hoods and Biological Safety Cabinets

May 10, 2013 2:34 pm | News | Comments

In any laboratory, safety of both the researchers and the samples are integral to a successful experiment. Fume hoods and biological safety cabinets offer protection from hazardous fumes with proper ventilation that will ensure the safety of all scientists in the laboratory and the samples they are working with.

Protein Reverses Age-related Heart Failure

May 10, 2013 10:53 am | News | Comments

Researchers have identified a protein in the blood of mice and humans that may prove to be the first effective treatment for the form of age-related heart failure that affects millions of Americans. When the protein was injected into old mice, the hearts were reduced in size and thickness, resembling the healthy hearts of younger mice.

Diabetes Cured in Mice

May 9, 2013 11:03 am | News | Comments

Researchers have made a significant first step with newly engineered biomaterials for cell transplantation that could help lead to a possible cure for Type 1 diabetes, which affects about 3 million Americans. Engineers and clinicians have successfully engrafted insulin-producing cells into a diabetic mouse model, reversing diabetic symptoms in the animal in as little as 10 days.

Life Span Extended 25% in Fruit Flies

May 7, 2013 4:25 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have identified a gene previously implicated in Parkinson's disease that can delay the onset of aging and extend the healthy life span of fruit flies. The research, they say, could have important implications for aging and disease in humans.

Device Extracts DNA in Minutes

May 6, 2013 3:51 pm | News | Comments

Take a swab of saliva from your mouth and within minutes your DNA could be ready for analysis and genome sequencing with the help of a new device. Engineers and NanoFacture, a Bellevue, Wash., company, have created a device that can extract human DNA from fluid samples in a simpler, more efficient and environmentally friendly way than conventional methods.

Sex at Zero Gravity

May 2, 2013 1:38 pm | by Skip Derra | Articles | Comments

If the long-term goal of humans is, indeed, space exploration and colonization, then there are many survivability questions that need to be answered. Leaving Earth means leaving the friendly confines of a planet on which we have evolved over the eons and to which our bodies have adapted. And it turns out gravity has a role in successful sexual reproduction, at least for plants.

Physical by Smartphone a Growing Possibility

May 2, 2013 12:20 am | by LAURAN NEERGAARD - AP MEDICAL WRITER | News | Comments

It's not a "Star Trek" tricorder, but by hooking a variety of gadgets onto a smartphone you could almost get a complete physical- without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor's office. Blood pressure? Just plug the arm cuff into the phone for a quick reading.

Hypothalamus May Hold Key to Aging

May 1, 2013 2:01 pm | by Einstein | News | Comments

While the search continues for the Fountain of Youth, researchers may have found the body’s “fountain of aging”: the brain region known as the hypothalamus. For the first time, scientists report that the hypothalamus of mice controls aging throughout the body.

Cell Sorting Based on RNA Detection in Living Cells

May 1, 2013 12:10 pm | by Don Weldon, Yuko Williams, Alex Ko, EMD Millipore Corporation | Articles | Comments

Identifying cell types and sorting cells based on RNA expression levels without any transfection reagents or intrusive sample preparation can improve live cell sorting efficiency, physiological relevance, and post-sorting survival rate. SmartFlare RNA detection probes can detect levels of RNA inside living cells, providing the ability to sort and propagate live cell populations based on gene expression levels.

Researcher Invents 'DNA Bardcode'

May 1, 2013 9:13 am | News | Comments

DNA evidence is invisible and remarkably easy to transfer, making it possible for a sample to be spilled or even planted on a piece of evidence. A researcher has developed a solution that permanently marks DNA samples to prevent contamination. 

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