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Three Gene Networks Discovered in Autism

June 6, 2014 12:45 pm | News | Comments

A large new analysis of DNA from thousands of patients has uncovered several underlying gene networks with potentially important roles in autism. These networks may offer attractive targets for developing new autism drugs or repurposing existing drugs that act on components of the networks.

‘Clever’ DNA Help Bacteria Survive

June 5, 2014 12:38 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered that bacteria can reshape their DNA to survive dehydration. The research shows that bacterial DNA can change from the regular double helix to the more compact A-DNA form, when faced with hostile conditions such as dehydration.

Saturated Fat May Influence Expression of Obesity Genes

June 4, 2014 2:28 pm | News | Comments

Limiting saturated fat could help people whose genetic make-up increases their chance of being obese, according to a new study. The findings could be useful in identifying people who are predisposed to obesity and could ultimately lead to personalized dietary recommendations.

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Scientists Successfully Transplant, Grow Stem Cells in Pigs

June 4, 2014 1:46 pm | News | Comments

One of the biggest challenges for medical researchers studying the effectiveness of stem cell therapies is that transplants or grafts of cells are often rejected by the hosts. Now, researchers have shown that a new line of genetically modified pigs will host transplanted cells without the risk of rejection.

One Chip, One Dream: The Pursuit of a DNA-powered Lab-on-a-chip

June 4, 2014 1:38 pm | by Christina Jakubowski, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Christofer Toumazou believes he can change the world with his “one chip, one bug – one chip, one drug,” slogan. Nominated for the European Patent Office’s 2014 European Inventor award, he holds a patent for the technology behind a microchip that can analyze DNA within 30 minutes and without a laboratory.

Co-visualization of mRNA and Protein to Better Link Genotype and Phenotype

June 3, 2014 2:10 pm | by Don Weldon, R&D Manager, EMD Millipore; Yuko Williams, Research Scientist, EMD Millipore; and Victor Koong, Product Manager, EMD Millipore | White Papers

Correlating levels of mRNA and corresponding proteins within cells provides more information linking gene function to phenotype than examining either alone. Separate measurements of RNA and protein merely provide information about two similar but separate cell populations. The ability to study both in individual cells leads to more physiologically relevant data, including information about cell-to-cell heterogeneity within a given sample.

Making Embryos from 3 People Doesn't Look Unsafe

June 3, 2014 8:18 am | by Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

Britain's fertility regulator says controversial techniques to create embryos from the DNA of three people "do not appear to be unsafe" even though no one has ever received the treatment, according to a new report. Read more...       

BRCA2 Gene Now Connected to Lung Cancer, Doubling a Smoker's Risk

June 2, 2014 2:38 pm | News | Comments

New research confirms a vulnerability to lung cancer can be inherited and implicates the BRCA2 gene as harboring one of the involved genetic mutations. The study scanned the genomes of more than 11 thousand individuals of European descent to look for common variations associated with non-small cell carcinoma. The analysis showed that variations in the BRCA2 and CHEK2 genes can significantly increase an individual's risk for lung cancer.

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Study Identifies New Genetic Cause of Male Reproductive Birth Defects

June 2, 2014 2:26 pm | News | Comments

Baylor College of Medicine scientists defined a previously unrecognized genetic cause for two types of birth defects found in newborn boys. Cryptorchidism and hypospadias are among the most common birth defects but the causes are usually unknown.

Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes Link Explained

June 2, 2014 12:15 pm | News | Comments

Many people with cystic fibrosis develop diabetes. The reasons for this have been largely unknown, but now researchers have identified a molecular mechanism that contributes to the raised diabetes risk.              

Subtle DNA Change Determines Blond or Brunette Hair

June 2, 2014 12:01 pm | News | Comments

A molecule critical to stem cell function plays a major role in determining human hair color, according to a new study. The researchers found that the blond hair is caused by a single change in the DNA that regulates the expression of a gene that encodes a protein called KITLG, also known as stem cell factor.

Genome Sequences Show How Lemurs Fight Infection

May 30, 2014 1:56 pm | News | Comments

Duke researchers Peter Larsen, Ryan Campbell and Anne Yoder used high-throughput sequencing on sifaka blood samples to generate sequence data for more than 150,000 different sifaka antibodies -- protective molecules that latch on to bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders in the body and fight them off before they cause infection.

Scientists ID Metabolic Link Between Aging, Parkinson’s

May 30, 2014 11:48 am | News | Comments

Researchers identified within animal models an enzyme that links genetic pathways that control aging with the death of dopamine neurons– a clinical hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.                    

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Study Affirms Value of Epigenetic Test for Prostate Cancer Markers

May 29, 2014 2:11 pm | News | Comments

A multicenter team of researchers report that a commercial test designed to rule out the presence of genetic biomarkers of prostate cancer may be accurate enough to exclude the need for repeat prostate biopsies in many— if not most— men.    

Uncovering Clues to the Genetic Cause of Schizophrenia

May 29, 2014 1:22 pm | News | Comments

The overall number and nature of mutations—rather than the presence of any single mutation—influences an individual’s risk of developing schizophrenia, as well as its severity, according to a study by Columbia University Medical Center researchers. The findings could have important implications for the early detection and treatment of schizophrenia.

Human Proteome Project Finds 193 Previously Unknown Proteins

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

In an attempt to catalog the human “proteome,” a team of researchers identified 193 novel proteins that came from regions of the genome not predicted to code for proteins.                       

Sudden Cardiac Death Risk Tied to Protein Overproduction

May 28, 2014 12:57 pm | News | Comments

A genetic variant linked to sudden cardiac death leads to protein overproduction in heart cells, scientists report. The discovery adds to scientific understanding of the causes of sudden cardiac death and of possible ways to prevent it.    

Misguided DNA-Repair Proteins Caught in the Act

May 23, 2014 12:06 pm | News | Comments

Accumulation of DNA damage can cause aggressive forms of cancer and accelerated aging, so the body’s DNA repair mechanisms are normally key to good health. However, in some diseases the DNA repair machinery can become harmful. Now, scientists have discovered some of the key proteins involved in one type of DNA repair gone awry.

Study Shows How Common Obesity Gene Contributes to Weight Gain

May 23, 2014 12:01 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have discovered how a gene commonly linked to obesity—FTO—contributes to weight gain. The study shows that variations in FTO indirectly affect the function of the primary cilium, a little-understood hair-like appendage on brain and other cells.

Ancient DNA Ends Aussie Claim to Kiwi Origins

May 23, 2014 10:37 am | News | Comments

Australia can no longer lay claim to the origins of the iconic New Zealand kiwi following University of Adelaide research showing the kiwi's closest relative is not the emu as was previously thought. Instead, the diminutive kiwi is most closely related to the extinct Madagascan elephant bird.

Genes Link Circadian Clock to Eating Schedule

May 22, 2014 1:51 pm | Videos | Comments

Scientists have discovered a pair of genes that normally keeps eating schedules in sync with daily sleep rhythms, and, when mutated, may play a role in so-called night eating syndrome.                   

Genes Successfully Predict Alcoholism Risk

May 21, 2014 1:14 pm | News | Comments

A group of 11 genes can successfully predict whether an individual is at increased risk of alcoholism, a research team recently reported. Knowing one has a genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse could encourage behavioral and lifestyle changes.  

Researchers Sequence Genome of Primitive Termite

May 21, 2014 11:00 am | News | Comments

North Carolina State University entomologists are part of a research team that has for the first time sequenced the genome of a member of the termite order, the dampwood termite. The findings on the genetic blueprint of the dampwood termite, one of the world’s most primitive social insects, highlight key differences and similarities with other social insects like ants, wasps and bees, and provide insight into how social insects evolved.

Humpback Whale Subspecies Revealed by Genetic Study

May 21, 2014 10:42 am | News | Comments

A new genetic study has revealed that populations of humpback whales in the oceans of the North Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere are much more distinct from each other than previously thought, and should be recognized as separate subspecies. Understanding how connected these populations are has important implications for the recovery of these charismatic animals that were once devastated by hunting.

Scientists Develop New Approach for Sampling Gut Bacteria

May 20, 2014 12:52 pm | News | Comments

Scientists at Forsyth, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health have developed a new protocol for collecting saliva and stool samples for genomic and transcriptomic analyses. This method eliminates the need for specialized personnel and facilities while keeping the sample intact. It also provides critical insight into the genetic makeup of the microbiome of the digestive tract.

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