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Epigenetic Breakthrough Bolsters Understanding of Alzheimer’s

August 18, 2014 12:12 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers has uncovered some of the strongest evidence yet that epigenetic changes in the brain play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. The current study found that chemical modifications to DNA within the ANK1 gene are strongly associated with measures of neuropathology in the brain. 

Suspect Gene Corrupts Neural Connections

August 18, 2014 10:58 am | News | Comments

A genetic variation linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression wreaks havoc on connections among neurons in the developing brain, a team of researchers reports.                    

Bioscience Technology This Week #8: Safe Nuts for Allergy Sufferers

August 15, 2014 12:43 pm | Videos | Comments

On this episode of Bioscience Technology This Week, Christina Jakubowski reports on the possibility of making nuts safer to eat for those with allergies. Our second story tackles important questions about which genes may drive antibiotic resistance. 

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New Gene Editing Method Shows Promising Results for Correcting Muscular Dystrophy

August 15, 2014 11:30 am | News | Comments

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers successfully used a new gene editing method to correct a mutation that leads to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in a mouse model of the condition. Researchers used a technique called CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing, which can precisely remove a mutation in DNA, allowing the body’s DNA repair mechanisms to replace it with a normal copy of the gene.

Material Could Enhance Fast, Accurate DNA Sequencing

August 14, 2014 10:24 am | News | Comments

Gene-based personalized medicine has many possibilities for diagnosis and targeted therapy, but one big bottleneck: the expensive and time-consuming DNA-sequencing process. Now, researchers have found that nanopores in the material molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) could sequence DNA more accurately, quickly and inexpensively than anything yet available.

Genetically Engineered Fruit Flies Could Save Crops

August 13, 2014 1:53 pm | News | Comments

Releasing genetically engineered fruit flies into the wild could prove to be a cheap, effective and environmentally friendly way of pest control according to scientists at the University of East Anglia and Oxitec Ltd. This collaborative research study, with UEA shows that this approach is effective and once appropriate regulatory approvals are received the technology will offer growers a safe and effective route to protect their crops.

New Analysis Reveals Tumor Weaknesses

August 13, 2014 1:47 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have known for decades that cancer can be caused by genetic mutations, but more recently they have discovered that chemical modifications of a gene can also contribute to cancer. These alterations, known as epigenetic modifications, control whether a gene is turned on or off.

Huntingtin Gene Crucial to Memory Development

August 13, 2014 11:50 am | News | Comments

It has been more than 20 years since scientists discovered that mutations in the gene huntingtin cause the devastating progressive neurological condition Huntington’s disease. Surprisingly little, however, has been known about the gene’s role in normal brain activity. Now, new research shows it plays a critical role in long-term memory.

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Scientists Pinpoint Gene Likely to Promote Childhood Cancers

August 12, 2014 2:28 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) have identified a gene that contributes to the development of several childhood cancers, in a study conducted with mice designed to model the cancers. If the findings prove to be applicable to humans, the research could lead to new strategies for targeting certain childhood cancers at a molecular level.

An Easier Way to Manipulate Malaria Genes

August 12, 2014 2:06 pm | News | Comments

Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria, has proven notoriously resistant to scientists’ efforts to study its genetics. It can take up to a year to determine the function of a single gene, which has slowed efforts to develop new, more targeted drugs and vaccines.

Biomarker Could Predict PTSD Risk

August 12, 2014 12:40 pm | News | Comments

Blood expression levels of genes targeted by the stress hormones called glucocorticoids could be a physical measure, or biomarker, of risk for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), according to a new study.          

Gene Slows Bone Loss, Promotes Bone Formation

August 12, 2014 12:29 pm | News | Comments

A gene discovery brings scientists closer to developing therapeutic agents that could slow down bone loss and regenerate lost bone, which could provide relief for millions suffering from aging-related bone loss.           

Editing HPV's Genes to Kill Cervical Cancer Cells

August 11, 2014 2:13 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have hijacked a defense system normally used by bacteria to fend off viral infections and redirected it against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical, head and neck, and other cancers.Using the genome editing tool known as CRISPR, the Duke University researchers were able to selectively destroy two viral genes responsible for the growth and survival of cervical carcinoma cells.

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Scientists Unlock Key to Blood Vessel Formation

August 11, 2014 2:09 pm | News | Comments

Scientists from the University of Leeds have discovered a gene that plays a vital role in blood vessel formation, research which adds to our knowledge of how early life develops. The discovery could also lead to greater understanding of how to treat cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Largest Cancer Genetic Analysis Reveals New Way of Classifying Cancer

August 7, 2014 2:24 pm | News | Comments

Researchers with The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network have completed the largest, most diverse tumor genetic analysis ever conducted, revealing a new approach to classifying cancers. The work not only revamps traditional ideas of how cancers are diagnosed and treated, but could also have a profound impact on the future landscape of drug development.

New Gene Tied to Breast Cancer Risk

August 6, 2014 5:23 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's long been known that faulty BRCA genes greatly raise the risk for breast cancer. Now, scientists say a more recently identified, less common gene - called PALB2 - can do the same.                 

“Treatments Waiting to be Discovered” Inside New Database

August 6, 2014 2:00 pm | News | Comments

Your genes are blueprints for proteins, and molecules called microRNA can help to determine how often these genetic blueprints are manufactured into proteins. Researchers often ask what microRNA regulates a gene related to disease. Or what gene is regulated by a microRNA found in sick patients? The answers to these questions could help doctors and researchers manipulate protein levels in the body that cause disease.

‘Jumping Genes’ Help Black Truffles Adapt

August 6, 2014 12:55 pm | News | Comments

Black truffles expensive and highly prized in the world of haute cuisine, but in the world of epigenetics, the fungi are of major interest for another reason: their unique pattern of DNA methylation, a biochemical process that chemically modifies nucleic acids without changing their sequence.

New DNA Analysis Technique Promises Speedier Diagnosis

August 5, 2014 2:01 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have achieved a technical breakthrough that should result in speedier diagnosis of cancer and various pre-natal conditions. The key discovery lies in a new tool that allows researchers to load long strands of DNA into a tunable nanoscale imaging chamber in ways that maintain their structural identity and under conditions that are similar to those found in the human body.

DNA Modifications Predict Brain’s Threat Response

August 4, 2014 1:01 pm | News | Comments

The tiny addition of a chemical mark atop a gene that is well known for its involvement in clinical depression and posttraumatic stress disorder can affect the way a person’s brain responds to threats, according to a new study.       

New Genetic Risk Markers Found in Pancreatic Cancer

August 4, 2014 12:46 pm | News | Comments

A large DNA analysis of people with and without pancreatic cancer has identified several new genetic markers that signal increased risk of developing the highly lethal disease, scientists report.               

Small RNAs in Blood May Reveal Heart Injury

August 4, 2014 12:07 pm | News | Comments

New research suggests that microRNAs may be able to relay valuable information about damage to the heart: Scientists have linked an increase in certain microRNAs circulating in the blood with injury to cardiac muscle.          

Mosaicism: Study Clarifies Parents as Source of New Mutations

July 31, 2014 3:36 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have long speculated that mosaicism plays a bigger role in the transmission of rare disease mutations than is currently known. Now, a study sheds new light on the frequency of mosaicism in genomic disorders and its influence on recurrence risk.

Strict Genomic Partitioning by Biological Clock Separates Key Metabolic Functions

July 31, 2014 3:10 pm | News | Comments

Much of the liver’s metabolic function is governed by circadian rhythms—our own body clock—and UC Irvine researchers have now found two independent mechanisms by which this occurs. The study reveals new information about the body clock’s sway over metabolism and points the way to more focused drug treatments for liver disease and such metabolic disorders as obesity and diabetes.

Biologists Describe Mechanism Promoting Multiple DNA Mutations

July 31, 2014 1:03 pm | News | Comments

DNA mutations—long known to fuel cancer as well as evolutionary changes in a living organism—had been thought to be rare events that occur randomly throughout the genome. However, recent studies have shown that cancer development frequently involves the formation of multiple mutations that arise simultaneously and in close proximity to each other.

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