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Sun Exposure May Reduce Blood Pressure

January 21, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

Exposing skin to sunlight may help to reduce blood pressure by altering levels of the small messenger molecule nitric oxide (NO) in the skin and blood, thus cutting the risk of heart attack and stroke, a new study says.       

Elephant Shark Genome Decoded

January 9, 2014 12:34 pm | News | Comments

An international team of researchers has sequenced the genome of the elephant shark and found new insights into the shark's bone formation and immunity.                            

Researchers Differentiate Between Microbial Good and Evil

January 9, 2014 11:48 am | News | Comments

To safely use bacteria in agriculture to help fertilize crops, it is vital to understand the difference between harmful and healthy strains. But can the microbial good and evil be told apart? Yes, life scientists and an international team of researchers report.


“Rapid Evolution” Method Found in Eyeless Fish

January 8, 2014 11:09 am | by Cynthia Fox | Articles | Comments

The controversial idea that vertebrate evolution can happen rapidly, in the merest handful of generations, has been given a boost. Harvard University evolutionary geneticist Nicolas Rohner and colleagues recently reported finding the mechanism by which some cavefish are born eyeless after the species moves from surface waters to dark caves.

Neanderthal Genome Exposes Interbreeding

December 20, 2013 12:17 pm | News | Comments

An international research team has completed the first high-quality genome sequence of a Neanderthal, deepening knowledge about the genetic connections and population histories of ancient and modern humans.             

Fracking Chemicals Disrupt Hormone Function

December 17, 2013 10:58 am | News | Comments

A controversial oil and natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses many chemicals that can disrupt the body’s hormones, according to new research.                   

Revealing the Mechanisms of 'Cryptic' Genetic Variation

December 16, 2013 10:22 am | by Harvard Medical School | News | Comments

Thousands of years ago, a population of Astyanax mexicanus fish in northeastern Mexico swam or was swept from its hospitable river home into harsh underwater caves and became trapped. Facing a dramatically different environment of near total darkness and hardly any food, the fish had to adapt— fast.

Genes May Determine Response to Disasters

December 9, 2013 8:30 am | by Harvard Medical School | News | Comments

While posttraumatic stress is expected after natural disasters, few survivors anticipate the positive psychological changes that they may experience – and now new research has revealed that genes may play a role.           


Aging Impacts Epigenome in Human Skeletal Muscle

November 21, 2013 10:19 am | News | Comments

The switches in our epigenome help alter the way our cells act and are impacted by environmental factors including diet, exercise and stress. Research at the Buck Institute reveals that aging also effects the epigenome in human skeletal muscle. 

Next Generation of Biofuels Still Years Away

November 14, 2013 3:16 am | by JONATHAN FAHEY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The first trickle of fuels made from agricultural waste is finally winding its way into the nation's energy supply, after years of broken promises and hype promoting a next-generation fuel source cleaner than oil.           

High Tungsten Levels Can Double Stroke Risk

November 12, 2013 12:44 pm | News | Comments

A new study has shown that high concentrations of tungsten– as measured in urine samples– is strongly linked with an increase in the occurrence of stroke, roughly equal to a doubling of the odds of experiencing the condition.       

Fast-mutating DNA Sequences Shape Early Development

November 12, 2013 11:38 am | News | Comments

What does it mean to be human? According to scientists the key lies in the billions of lines of genetic code that comprise the human genome. The problem has been deciphering that code. But now, researchers have discovered how the activation of specific stretches of DNA control the development of uniquely human characteristics.

Scientist Poses New Theory on Origins of Eukaryotic Gene Expression

November 8, 2013 11:29 am | News | Comments

It might seem obvious that humans are elegant and sophisticated beings in comparison to lowly bacteria. But when it comes to genes, a scientist wants to turn conventional wisdom about human and bacterial evolution on its head.       


Infected Butterflies Lead Geneticists Up the Garden Path

November 7, 2013 1:32 pm | News | Comments

For animal species that cannot be distinguished using their external characteristics, genetic techniques such as DNA barcoding can help to identify cryptic species. Now, an international team of researchers has demonstrated how a bacterial infection can mimic cryptic speciation in butterflies.

Scientists Solve Major Biological Complexity Mystery

November 6, 2013 1:29 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have solved a big piece of the puzzle of how and why multicellular organisms evolved the trait of using single cells to reproduce by applying experimental evolution to transform a single-celled algae into a multicellular one that reproduces by dispersing single cells.

Scientists Study Some Fishy Behavior to Solve an Animal Locomotion Mystery

November 5, 2013 12:18 pm | Videos | Comments

A multi-institutional research team, led by Johns Hopkins engineers, says it has solved the puzzle of why animals push in directions that don’t point toward their goal, like the side-to-side sashaying of a running lizard or cockroach.      

Wound Healing Mechanisms Clarified in Zebrafish

October 30, 2013 3:11 pm | News | Comments

A new study clarifies the role of calcium signaling in the medically significant communication between skin cells that occurs during wound healing.                             

Growing Up in Poverty Can Change Brain Anatomy

October 29, 2013 1:02 pm | News | Comments

Growing up in poverty can have long-lasting, negative consequences for a child. But for poor children raised by parents who lack nurturing skills, the effects may be particularly worrisome, according to a new study that shows children living in poverty exhibit changes in the brain that can lead to lifelong problems.

Stem Cells Reveal Differences Between Humans, Apes

October 24, 2013 1:41 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have, for the first time, taken chimpanzee and bonobo skin cells and turned them into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a type of cell that has the ability to form any other cell or tissue in the body.         

Vinyl Flooring Exposes Kids to Harmful Substances

October 23, 2013 12:15 pm | News | Comments

Large areas of vinyl flooring in daycares and schools appear to expose children to a group of compounds called phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive and developmental problems, scientists are reporting.          

Virus Confirms Ancient Human Migration Patterns

October 22, 2013 12:43 pm | News | Comments

A study of the full genetic code of a common human virus offers a dramatic confirmation of the "out-of-Africa" pattern of human migration, which had previously been documented by anthropologists and studies of the human genome.       

DNA Links Mysterious Yeti to Ancient Polar Bear

October 17, 2013 3:26 pm | by JILL LAWLESS - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

DNA analysis conducted by a British genetics professor suggests that he has solved the mystery of the Abominable Snowman— the elusive ape-like creature of the Himalayas. He thinks it's a bear.               

Genetic Engineering Could Rescue Animals, Plants from Extinction

September 26, 2013 12:56 pm | News | Comments

With estimates of losing 15 to 40 percent of the world’s species over the next four decades– due to climate change and habitat loss, researchers ponder whether science should employ genetic engineering to the rescue.  The technique would involve “rescuing a target population or species with adaptive alleles, or gene variants, using genetic engineering,” say the authors of new commentary on the subject.

Blue-green Algae Linked to Motor Neuron Disease

September 26, 2013 12:22 pm | News | Comments

A recently identified link between a toxic amino acid found in blue-green algae and several motor neuron diseases could help researchers devise a therapy for the fatal conditions. Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), most often associated with nutrient runoff in coastal waters, produce a neurotoxic amino acid called β-methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA.

Current Generation Lives Two Years Longer than Last

September 13, 2013 12:14 pm | News | Comments

Average Americans today can look forward to two more years of healthy life than they could have just a generation ago, researchers have found. By synthesizing the data collected in government-sponsored health surveys conducted over recent decades, researchers were able to measure how the quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) of Americans has changed over time.

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