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.
MIT biologists have discovered a mechanism that allows cells to read their own DNA in the correct direction and prevents them from copying most of the so-called “junk DNA” that makes up long stretches of our genome. Only about 15 percent of the human genome consists of protein-coding genes, but in recent years scientists have found that a surprising amount of the junk, or intergenic DNA, does get copied into RNA.
A gene called SIRT1, previously shown to protect against diseases of aging, plays a key role in controlling circadian rhythms. Researchers found that circadian function decays with aging in normal mice, and that boosting their SIRT1 levels in the brain could prevent this decay. Conversely, loss of SIRT1 function impairs circadian control in young mice, mimicking what happens in normal aging.
Human bone breaks down and regenerates naturally all the time, in a perfectly balanced dance that maintains skeletal integrity. As people age, bone tends to deteriorate faster, causing osteoporosis and other disorders. Smoking artificially accelerates bone degeneration as well. For the first time, researchers have described the mechanics of how certain toxic compounds in smoke break down bone.
Aspirin is known to lower risk for some cancers, and a new study points to a possible explanation, with the discovery that aspirin slows the accumulation of DNA mutations in abnormal cells in at least one pre-cancerous condition. In the study, researchers analyzed biopsy samples from 13 patients with a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus who were tracked for six to 19 years.
Small molecules of RNA (tens to hundreds of nucleotides in length) play a key regulatory role in bacteria. Due to their small size, directly measuring the number of small RNA (sRNA) present in a single bacterium has proven so far to be an impossible task. New research has demonstrated improved technical methods capable of directly counting small RNA molecules in pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria.
In new research researchers describe a technology that can detect new, previously unknown viruses. The technique uses blood serum as a biological source to categorize and discover viruses. Taking advantage of the complete deciphering of the human genome, researchers used a next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach called transcriptome subtraction to identify viral genetic material in the blood.
As cancer genomics scales up, more and more mutations can be detected. But in order for critical patterns and potential drug targets to emerge, researchers need to be able to eliminate the red herrings from their results and identify the genetic changes driving different cancer types. To do so, researchers have surveyed the genetic landscape of cancer to better understand the spectrum of mutations within and across cancer types.
By transferring four genes into mouse fibroblast cells, researchers have produced cells that resemble hematopoietic stem cells, which produce millions of new blood cells in the human body every day. These findings provide a platform for future development of patient-specific stem/progenitor cells, and more differentiated blood products, for cell-replacement therapy.
A new study offers further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 million to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off. The study provides evidence for a 40-year-old hypothesis that regulation of genes must play an important role in evolution.
A ruling by the Supreme Court that human genes can't be patented is expected to increase access and drop the cost for tests for gene mutations that greatly raise the risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. In a bit of a mixed message, the court unanimously decided that certain types of gene tests may still be protected by patents, yet it struck down patents that a company has long held for BRCA genes.
The Supreme Court ruled today that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and biotechnology industries. The high court's unanimous judgment reverses three decades of patent awards by government officials.
Researchers have developed an easier and more effective method for inserting genes into eye cells that could greatly expand gene therapy to help restore sight to patients with blinding diseases ranging from inherited defects like retinitis pigmentosa to degenerative illnesses of old age, such as macular degeneration.
Malignant cells can escape from primary tumors and colonize new sites in other tissues. In a new study, researchers show how the transcription factor AP4 promotes the development of such metastatic tumors. With the aid of genome-wide characterization of AP4’s target genes and direct functional tests, researchers uncovered processes relevant to tumorigenesis and cancer progression that are triggered by the protein.
It's common wisdom that one rotten apple in a barrel spoils all the other apples, and that an apple ripens a green banana if they are put together in a paper bag. Ways to ripen, or spoil, fruit have been known for thousands of years. Now, scientists have traced the thousands of genes in a plant that are activated once ethylene gas is released.
New breakthroughs in research on protein-DNA recognition may have profound implications for furthering research into cancer and other genetically based diseases. The research— which integrates two fields, genomics and structural biology— sheds light on the mechanisms underlying how proteins recognize their DNA binding sites by translating genome sequences into three-dimensional structures.
What draws a mosquito to bite its host has long been studied from the perspective of the victim— uncovering which smells and chemicals lure the insect in. But researchers are aiming instead to get inside the perpetrator’s mind. Or rather, its genome.
Researchers have shown how a relatively young gene can acquire a new function and become essential to an organism’s life. Using a combination of techniques, the scientists show that a novel essential gene in fruit flies is only 15 million years old, and yet has acquired a job so important that the flies can’t live without it.
Using a novel genetic “editing” technique, biomedical engineers have been able to repair a defect responsible for one of the most common inherited disorders, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, in cell samples from Duchenne patients. The researchers believe their approach could be safer and more stable than current methods of gene therapy.