Building on earlier work exploring the complex choreography by which intricate cellular proteins interact with and copy DNA prior to cell division, scientists have captured a key step— molecular images showing how the enzyme that unwinds the DNA double helix gets drawn to and wrapped around its target.
ASU's Paul Davies has proposed a new way to look at cancer, by tracing its deep evolutionary roots to the dawn of multicellularity more than a billion years ago. If this theory is correct, it promises to transform the approach to cancer therapy, and to link the origin of cancer to the origin of life and the developmental processes of embryos.
A team of scientists has identified why disruption of a vital pathway in cell cycle control leads to the proliferation of cancer cells. Their findings on telomeres, the stretches of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that protect our genetic code and make it possible for cells to divide, suggest a potential target for preventive measures against cancer, aging and other diseases.
Rett syndrome has been definitively traced to mutations in a single gene. An X chromosome-linked disorder, it affects girls almost exclusively, causing regression in language acquisition and motor control as well as seizures and respiratory problems. Researchers are gaining deeper understanding of the specific molecular pathways behind the cluster of genetic mutations—any one of which can derail normal development by varying degrees.
Chemists have performed a DNA-based logic-gate operation within a human cell. The research may pave the way to more complicated computations in live cells, as well as new methods of disease detection and treatment. Until now, DNA computation events have typically taken place in a test tube, rather than in living cells.
A new study shows that mammalian species can "choose" the sex of their offspring in order to beat the odds and produce extra grandchildren. In analyzing 90 years of breeding records, the researchers were able to prove what has been a fundamental theory of evolutionary biology: that mammals rely on some unknown mechanism to manipulate the sex ratios of their offspring as part of a highly adaptive evolutionary strategy.
New insights into why obese cigarette smokers experience a high risk of heart disease suggest that cigarette smoke affects the activity of hundreds of key genes that both protect the heart and lungs and expose them to damage. The study suggests that the effects may be especially profound in obese nonsmokers who inhale “sidesteam smoke” from cigarettes smoldering nearby.
Although several genetic ALS mutations have been identified, they only apply to a small number of cases. The ongoing challenge is to identify the mechanisms behind the non-genetic form of the disease. Now, using samples of stem cells derived from the bone marrow of non-genetic ALS patients, a team of researchers have uncovered four different biomarkers that characterize the non-genetic form of the disease.
A mere 25 years ago, noncoding RNAs were considered nothing more than “background noise” in the overall genomic landscape. Now, two new studies reveal that one of these tiny noncoding molecules—microRNA-22—plays an outsized role in two types of cancer.
In a step toward the goal of sending a DNA sequencer to Mars, where it can analyze soil and ice samples for traces of DNA and other genetic material, researchers have created a DNA-sequencing microchip that can survive space radiation.
The genes that code for proteins—more than 20,000 in total—make up only about 1 percent of the complete human genome. That entire thing—not just the genes, but also genetic junk and all the rest—is coiled and folded up in any number of ways within the nucleus of each of our cells. Think, then, of the challenge that a protein or other molecule, like RNA, faces when searching through that material to locate a target gene.
The genetic mutation leading to the developmental disorder “CHARGE syndrome” blocks the maturation of neural stem cells. This finding explains why CHARGE patients suffer from mental retardation and learning disabilities. Strikingly, exercise by running can completely rescue the CHARGE phenotype.
Aspirin has been widely used for more than 50 years as a common, inexpensive blood thinner for patients with heart disease and stroke, but doctors have little understanding of how it works and why some people benefit and others don’t. Now, researchers have developed a blood-based test of gene activity that has been shown to accurately identify who will respond to the aspirin therapy.
The strain of cholera that has sickened thousands in Haiti came from a single source and was not repeatedly introduced to the island over the past three years as some have thought, according to a new study. The results of this latest study are consistent with earlier findings that indicate Vibrio cholerae bacteria were introduced to Haiti by United Nations soldiers between July and October 2010.
Researchers have pinpointed the role of a gene known as Arl13b in guiding the formation and proper placement of neurons in the early stages of brain development. Mutations in the gene could help explain brain malformations often seen in neurodevelopmental disorders. The Arl13b is expressed in a part of the cell called primary cilium and is associated with a rare neurological disorder known as Joubert syndrome.
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has identified a family of tiny RNA molecules that work as powerful regulators of the immune response in mammals. Mice who lack these RNA molecules lose their normal infection-fighting ability, whereas mice that overproduce them develop a fatal autoimmune syndrome.
DNA fragments in your blood may someday help doctors quickly learn if chest pain means you have narrowed heart arteries, according to a new study. The study involved 282 patients, ages 34 to 83, who reported chest pain and were suspected of having coronary artery disease. Researchers used computed tomography imaging to look for hardened, or calcified, buildup in the blood vessels that supply the heart.
For the first time, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have identified small molecules that allow for complete control over a genetic defect responsible for the most common adult onset form of muscular dystrophy.
Researchers from the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research in Tokyo have discovered that forced elongation of telomeres (extensions on the end of chromosomes) promotes the differentiation of cancer cells, probably reducing malignancy, which is strongly associated with a loss of cell differentiation.
Britain may allow a controversial technique to create babies using DNA from three people, a move that would help couples avoid passing on rare genetic diseases, the country's top medical officer says. The new techniques help women with faulty mitochondria, the energy source in a cell, from passing on to their babies defects that can result in such diseases as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, heart problems and mental retardation.
Scientists at the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark (University of Copenhagen) have sequenced the so far oldest genome from a prehistoric creature. They have done so by sequencing and analyzing short pieces of DNA molecules preserved in bone-remnants from a horse that had been kept frozen for the last 700.000 years in the permafrost of Yukon, Canada.
In 2011 and 2012, research from China’s Nanjing University made international headlines with reports that after mice ate, bits of genetic material from the plants they’d ingested could make it into their bloodstreams intact and turn the animals’ own genes off. Now, though, a research team at Johns Hopkins reports that Zhang’s results were likely a false positive that resulted from the technique his group used.
You say tomato, I say comparative transcriptomics. Researchers in the U.S., Europe and Japan have produced the first comparison of both the DNA sequences and which genes are active, or being transcribed, between the domestic tomato and its wild cousins.
Bacterial DNA may integrate into the human genome more readily in tumors than in normal human tissue, scientists have found. The researchers, affiliated with the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences, analyzed genomic sequencing data available from the Human Genome Project, the 1,000 Genomes Project and The Cancer Genome Atlas.
Nanoparticles that deliver short strands of RNA offer a way to treat cancer and other diseases by shutting off malfunctioning genes. Although this approach has shown some promise, scientists are still not sure exactly what happens to the nanoparticles once they get inside their target cells. A new study sheds light on the nanoparticles’ fate and suggests new ways to maximize delivery of the RNA strands they are carrying.