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Genetically driven gut feelings help female flies choose a mate

Genetically driven gut feelings help female flies choose a mate

Even among flies, mating is a complicated ritual. Their elaborate, and entirely innate, courtship dance combines multiple motor skills with advanced sensory cues. Now, researchers at Rockefeller University have determined that the Abdominal-B ( Abd-B ) gene, previously known as the gene that sculpts the posterior parts of the developing fly, is also important for this complex behavior, at least in the case of female flies ( Drosophila melanogaster) Continue reading

Sensing neuronal activity with light

Sensing neuronal activity with light

For years, neuroscientists have been trying to develop tools that would allow them to clearly view the brain’s circuitry in action — from the first moment a neuron fires to the resulting behavior in a whole organism. To get this complete picture, neuroscientists are working to develop a range of new tools to study the brain. Continue reading

VIP: New way to prevent spread of devastating diseases

VIP: New way to prevent spread of devastating diseases

For decades, researchers have tried to develop broadly effective vaccines to prevent the spread of illnesses such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. While limited progress has been made along these lines, there are still no licensed vaccinations available that can protect most people from these devastating diseases. So what are immunologists to do when vaccines just aren’t working Continue reading

How epigenetic memory is passed through generations: Sperm and eggs transmit memory of gene repression to embryos

How epigenetic memory is passed through generations: Sperm and eggs transmit memory of gene repression to embryos

A growing body of evidence suggests that environmental stresses can cause changes in gene expression that are transmitted from parents to their offspring, making “epigenetics” a hot topic. Epigenetic modifications do not affect the DNA sequence of genes, but change how the DNA is packaged and how genes are expressed. Continue reading

Tolerating, not fighting, viruses a viable survival strategy

Tolerating, not fighting, viruses a viable survival strategy

In ecology, disease tolerance is defined as a host strategy not to fight a pathogen tooth and nail, but rather tolerate it to live (and survive) better in the long term. One key feature of tolerance is that the disease only progresses very slowly — if at all — even if the host carries a high pathogen load. Roland Regoes, a senior scientist at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Theoretical Biology, has now transferred this approach to HIV Continue reading

Melanoma risk found to have genetic determinant

Melanoma risk found to have genetic determinant

A leading Dartmouth researcher, working with The Melanoma Genetics Consortium, GenoMEL, an international research consortium, co-authored a paper published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that proves longer telomeres increase the risk of melanoma. “For the first time, we have established that the genes controlling the length of these telomeres play a part in the risk of developing melanoma,” said lead author of the study Mark Iles, PhD, School of Medicine at the University of Leeds (UK). Telomeres are a part of the genome that function like the plastic caps of your shoelaces, which prevent the laces from fraying Continue reading

Living in disadvantaged neighborhood worsens musculoskeletal pain outcomes after trauma exposure

Living in disadvantaged neighborhood worsens musculoskeletal pain outcomes after trauma exposure

Individuals living in disadvantaged neighborhoods have worse musculoskeletal pain outcomes over time after stressful events such as motor vehicle collision than individuals from higher socioeconomic status neighborhoods, even after accounting for individual characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, and employment status. These were the findings of a multi-site research study led by Samuel McLean, MD, MPH, associate professor of anesthesiology and emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Continue reading

Few physicians are recommending HPV vaccination for boys, study finds

Few physicians are recommending HPV vaccination for boys, study finds

Research from Moffitt Cancer Center shows family physicians and pediatricians are not always recommending vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) for young male patients. Approximately 6 million people are newly infected with HPV each year, a virus that can lead to the development of cancer Continue reading

U.S. health system not properly designed to meet needs of patients nearing end of life, say experts

U.S. health system not properly designed to meet needs of patients nearing end of life, say experts

The U.S. health care system is not properly designed to meet the needs of patients nearing the end of life and those of their families, and major changes to the system are necessary, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The 21-member committee that wrote the report envisioned an approach to end-of-life care that integrates traditional medical care and social services and that is high-quality, affordable, and sustainable Continue reading

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

Healthy humans make nice homes for viruses

The same viruses that make us sick can take up residence in and on the human body without provoking a sneeze, cough or other troublesome symptom, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Continue reading