Many questions arise when two identical twins raised in the same home—fed the same, nurtured the same way—follow disparate paths. How can the identical offspring of a single egg turn out so differently? Scientists ask the same question when genetically identical cells in identical environments—monoclonal cells produced by a single ancestor that replicated—exhibit wildly different behaviors.
Diseases from a mutation in one genome are complicated enough, but some illnesses arise from errant interactions between two genomes: the DNA in the nucleus and in the mitochondria. Scientists want to know more about how such genomic disconnects cause disease.
Double-strand breaks in DNA happen every time a cell divides and replicates. Depending on the type of cell, that can be pretty often. Many proteins are involved in everyday DNA repair, but if they are mutated, the repair system breaks down and cancer can occur. Cells have two complicated ways to repair these breaks, which can affect the stability of the entire genome.
A new atlas, developed by a team led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is a publicly accessible Web-based collection of data that identifies and locates thousands of gene-regulating elements in a region of the brain that is of critical importance for cognition, motor functions, and emotion.
Using genome-wide analysis, investigators at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and the University of Montreal have potentially eliminated a lifetime drug prescription that two children with a previously unknown type of adrenal insufficiency had been receiving for 14 years.
For centuries, the fate of the original Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, the capital of a pre-Aztec Mexican city-state, has remained unknown. Researchers have long wondered whether they assimilated with the Aztecs or abandoned the town altogether. According to new anthropological research, the answers may lie in DNA.
Even in our DNA there is no refuge from rogues that prey on the elderly. Parasitic strands of genetic material called transposable elements — transposons — lurk in our chromosomes, poised to wreak genomic havoc. Cells have evolved ways to defend themselves, but in a new study, Brown University researchers describe how cells lose this ability as they age.
Just as the body can become resistant to antibiotics, certain methods of killing cancer tumors can end up creating resistant tumor cells. But a University of Central Florida professor has found a protein present in several types of cancer, including breast and ovarian cancer, which could be helpful in preventing tumors from coming back.
Zhen Huang freely admits he was not interested in blood vessels four years ago when he was studying brain development in a fetal mouse. Instead, he wanted to see how changing a particular gene in brain cells called glia would affect the growth of neurons. The result was hemorrhage, caused by deteriorating veins and arteries, and it begged for explanation.
Healthy men and women show little difference in their hearts, except for small electrocardiographic disparities. But new genetic differences found by Washington University in St. Louis researchers in hearts with disease could ultimately lead to personalized treatment of various heart ailments.
Genome sequencing data once regarded as junk is now being used to gain important clues to help understand disease. In the latest example, scientists have developed an approach to mine the repetitive segments of DNA at the ends of chromosomes for insights into cancer.
Scientists have identified genetic circumstances under which common mutations on two genes interact in the presence of cocaine to produce a nearly eight-fold increased risk of death as a result of abusing the drug. The variants are found in two genes that affect how dopamine modulates brain activity.
John Chaput and his research team are developing new exotic molecules called XNA, that are alternatives to natural DNA and RNA. The team is determining whether XNA contributed to the rise of life on Earth. At the same time, the team also is evolving XNA molecules with functions that could be used to diagnose and treat human diseases.
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.”
A team has developed a strain of mice that turns on a gene from fireflies when the normal p16 gene is activated. In cells undergoing senescence, the p16 gene is switched on, activating the firefly gene and causing the affected tissue to glow.
Researchers have identified a new genetic mutation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), opening the door to future targeted therapies. They discovered mutations within the ARHGEF28 gene are present in ALS. When they looked across both familial and sporadic forms of the disease, they found virtually all cases of ALS demonstrated abnormal inclusions of the protein that arises from this gene.
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.
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.
Much of the DNA that makes up our genomes can be traced back to strange rogue sequences known as transposable elements, or jumping genes, which are largely idle in mammals. But Johns Hopkins researchers report they have identified a new DNA sequence moving around in bats — the first member of its class found to be active in mammals.
Hepatitis C virus has evolved to invade and hijack the basic machinery of the human liver cell to ensure its survival and spread. Researchers at the University of North have discovered how hepatitis C binds with and repurposes a basic component of cellular metabolism known as a microRNA to help protect and replicate the virus.
Scientists have long sought to understand a repair protein known as RecA in bacterial cells helps broken DNA find a way to bridge the gap. They knew that RecA guided a broken DNA strand to a matching sequence on an adjoining bit of double-stranded DNA, but they didn’t know how. In a new study, researchers report they have identified how the RecA protein does its job.
A fast growing, flesh-eating fungus killed 5 people following a massive tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., according to two new studies based on genomic sequencing. Health officials should be aware of infections caused by the fungus Apophysomyces, according to the studies, which tracked 13 people infected by the pathogen during the Class EF-5 tornado.
Scientists have discovered a new gene mechanism that appears to regulate triglyceride levels. This pathway may protect carriers of a gene variant against cardiovascular disease, especially among those with greater intakes of polyunsaturated fat (PUFA).
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.