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When Faced With Some Sugars, Bacteria Can Be Picky Eaters

July 9, 2014 12:18 pm | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Minnesota have found for the first time that genetically identical strains of bacteria can respond very differently to the presence of sugars and other organic molecules in the environment, with some individual bacteria devouring the sugars and others ignoring it.

Tiny DNA Pyramids Enter Bacteria Easily and Deliver a Deadly Payload

July 9, 2014 11:53 am | News | Comments

Bacterial infections usually announce themselves with pain and fever but often can be defeated with antibiotics—and then there are those that are sneaky and hard to beat. Now, scientists have built a new weapon against such pathogens in the form of tiny DNA pyramids. Their study found the nanopyramids can flag bacteria and kill more of them than medicine alone.

Breaking News: Same Genes Drive Math, Reading Ability

July 8, 2014 11:00 am | News | Comments

Around half of the genes that influence how well a child can read also play a role in their mathematics ability, according to scientists who led a study into the genetic basis of cognitive traits.              

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Schizophrenia-associated Gene Variation Affects Brain Cell Development

July 7, 2014 2:46 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have begun to connect the dots between a schizophrenia-linked genetic variation and its effect on the developing brain. Their experiments show that the loss of a particular gene alters the skeletons of developing brain cells, which in turn disrupts the orderly layers those cells would normally form.

Pseudogenes May Provide Clearer Understanding of Biomarkers

July 7, 2014 11:36 am | News | Comments

Researchers completed a study that generated pseudogene expression profiles in 2,808 patient samples representing seven cancer types. The results indicated that the science of pseudogene expression analysis may very well play a key role in explaining how cancer occurs.

Genetically Driven Gut Feelings Help Female Flies Choose Mates

July 3, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

The elaborate courtship dance done by flies combines multiple motor skills with advanced sensory cues. Remarkably, this behavior is entirely innate. Now, researchers have determined that the Abdominal-B (Abd-B) gene is important for this complex behavior.

Treasure Trove of Genes Key to Kidney Cancer

July 2, 2014 9:24 am | Videos | Comments

A genomic analysis of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), the most common form of kidney cancer, from 72 patients has uncovered 31 genes that are key to development, growth and spread of the cancer, according to researchers.      

Cancer Risk: Aspirin and Smoking Affect Aging of Genes

July 1, 2014 11:23 am | News | Comments

The risk of developing cancer increases with age. Factors like smoking and regular aspirin use also affect the risk of cancer—although in the opposite sense. Researchers from the University of Basel were now able to show that aspirin use and smoking both influence aging processes of the female genome that are connected to colorectal cancer.

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Evolution of Life's Operating System Revealed in Detail

July 1, 2014 10:46 am | News | Comments

The evolution of the ribosome, a large molecular structure found in the cells of all species, has been revealed in unprecedented detail in a new study.                             

Reconstructing the Life History of a Single Cell

June 30, 2014 11:09 am | News | Comments

By looking at the copy of the human genome present in healthy cells, researchers were able to build a picture of each cell's development from the early embryo on its journey to become part of an adult organ.             

Sequencing Electric Eel Genome Unlocks Shocking Secrets

June 27, 2014 2:17 pm | Videos | Comments

The genome of the electric eel has been sequenced. This discovery has revealed the secret of how fishes with electric organs have evolved six times in the history of life to produce electricity outside of their bodies. The research sheds light on the genetic blueprint used to evolve these complex, novel organs.

Diabolical Duo: Breast Cancer Gene Needs Partner to Grow

June 27, 2014 1:36 pm | News | Comments

A new study has revealed that the gene Metadherin— which is implicated in promoting the spread of breast cancer tumors— only stimulates tumor growth when the protein made by the gene interacts with a second protein known as SND1.      

Using DNA to Monitor Environments

June 27, 2014 12:52 pm | News | Comments

Environmental policy must respond to ever-changing conditions on the ground and in the water, but doing so requires a constant flow of information about the living world. Now, scientists propose employing emerging environmental DNA sampling techniques that could make assessing the biodiversity of marine ecosystems as easy as taking a water sample.

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Fruit Flies Help Scientists Uncover Genes Responsible for Human Communication

June 26, 2014 12:46 pm | News | Comments

The genes involved in learning language skills are far from completely understood. Now, using a gene identified in fruit flies by a University of Missouri researcher, scientists involved in a global consortium have discovered a crucial component of the origin of language in humans.

Brewing Yeasts Reveal Secrets of Chromosomal Warfare and Dysfunction

June 25, 2014 2:13 pm | News | Comments

Using two yeasts that have been used to brew tea and beer for centuries, researchers have revealed how reproductive barriers might rapidly arise to create species boundaries. A team of researchers led by Dr. Sarah Zanders of the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutch, has uncovered why hybrids between the two yeasts (commonly referred to as fission yeasts) are almost completely sterile despite being 99.5 percent identical at the DNA level.

Gene in Brain Linked to Kidney Cancer

June 25, 2014 12:54 pm | Videos | Comments

A gene known to control brain growth and development is heavily involved in promoting clear cell renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer, researchers are reporting.                    

Scientists Use X-rays to Look at How DNA Protects Itself from UV Light

June 24, 2014 1:37 pm | News | Comments

The molecular building blocks that make up DNA absorb ultraviolet light so strongly that sunlight should deactivate them—yet it does not. Now scientists have made detailed observations of a “relaxation response” that protects these molecules, and the genetic information they encode, from UV damage.

Schizophrenia and Cannabis Use May Share Common Genes

June 24, 2014 12:44 pm | News | Comments

Genes that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia may also increase the likelihood of using cannabis, according to a new study. Previous studies identified a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but it has remained unclear whether this association is due to cannabis directly increasing the risk of the disorder. The new results suggest that part of this association is due to common genes.

Researchers Find Gene Critical for Development of Brain Motor Center

June 23, 2014 3:05 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers describe the role of a specific gene, called Snf2h, in the development of the cerebellum. Snf2h is required for the proper development of a healthy cerebellum, a master control centre in the brain for balance, fine motor control and complex physical movements.

Scientists Break the Genetic Code for Diabetes in Greenland

June 19, 2014 3:35 pm | Videos | Comments

A piece of detective work has mapped a special gene variant among Greenlanders that plays a particularly important role in the development of type 2 diabetes. The results can be used to improve prevention and treatment options for those genetically at-risk.

Genomic "Dark Matter" of Embryonic Lungs Controls Proper Development of Airways

June 19, 2014 3:11 pm | News | Comments

It’s a long way from DNA to RNA to protein, and only about two percent of a person’s genome is eventually converted into proteins. In contrast, a much higher percentage of the genome is transcribed into RNA. What these non-protein-coding RNAs do is still relatively unknown. However, given their vast numbers in the human genome, researchers believe that they likely play important roles in normal human development and response to disease.

Broken Gene Found to Protect Against Heart Disease

June 19, 2014 2:41 pm | News | Comments

By scouring the DNA of thousands of patients, researchers have discovered four rare gene mutations that not only lower the levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, but also significantly reduce a person’s risk of coronary heart disease—dropping it by 40 percent. The mutations all cripple the same gene, called APOC3, suggesting a powerful strategy in developing new drugs against heart disease.

Scientists Pinpoint How Genetic Mutation Causes Early Brain Damage

June 19, 2014 9:32 am | News | Comments

Scientists have shed light on how a specific kind of genetic mutation can cause damage during early brain development that results in lifelong learning and behavioral disabilities. The work suggests new possibilities for therapeutic intervention.

Study Links APC Gene to Learning and Autistic-like Disabilities

June 17, 2014 1:31 pm | News | Comments

Autistic-like behaviors and decreased cognitive ability may be associated with disruption of the function of the Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC) gene. When Tufts researchers deleted the gene from select neurons in the developing mouse brain, the mice showed reduced social behavior, increased repetitive behavior, and impaired learning and memory formation, similar to behaviors seen in individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities.

A Virus Reveals the Physics of Nanopores

June 17, 2014 1:19 pm | News | Comments

Nanopores may one day lead a revolution in DNA sequencing. By sliding DNA molecules one at a time through tiny holes in a thin membrane, it may be possible to decode long stretches of DNA at lightning speeds. Scientists, however, haven’t quite figured out the physics of how polymer strands like DNA interact with nanopores. Now, with the help of a particular type of virus, researchers have shed new light on this nanoscale physics.

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