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Ancient Europeans intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture

Ancient Europeans intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture

By analysing DNA extracted from the petrous bones of skulls of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified that these peoples remained intolerant to lactose (natural sugar in the milk of mammals) for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices and 4,000 years after the onset of cheese-making among Central European Neolithic farmers. The findings published online in the scientific journal Nature Communications (21 Oct) also suggest that major technological transitions in Central Europe between the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age were also associated with major changes in the genetics of these populations. Continue reading

See-through sensors open new window into the brain

See-through sensors open new window into the brain

Developing invisible implantable medical sensor arrays, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has overcome a major technological hurdle in researchers’ efforts to understand the brain. Continue reading

See-through sensors open new window into the brain

See-through sensors open new window into the brain

Developing invisible implantable medical sensor arrays, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has overcome a major technological hurdle in researchers’ efforts to understand the brain. The team described its technology, which has applications in fields ranging from neuroscience to cardiac care and even contact lenses, in the Oct. 20 issue of the online journal Nature Communications Continue reading

Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

Scientists have restored the hearing of mice partly deafened by noise, using advanced tools to boost the production of a key protein in their ears. By demonstrating the importance of the protein, called NT3, in maintaining communication between the ears and brain, these new findings pave the way for research in humans that could improve treatment of hearing loss caused by noise exposure and normal aging. In a new paper in the online journal eLife , the team from the University of Michigan Medical School’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute and Harvard University report the results of their work to understand NT3′s role in the inner ear, and the impact of increased NT3 production on hearing after a noise exposure. Continue reading

Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

Scientists restore hearing in noise-deafened mice, pointing way to new therapies

Scientists have restored the hearing of mice partly deafened by noise, using advanced tools to boost the production of a key protein in their ears. By demonstrating the importance of the protein, called NT3, in maintaining communication between the ears and brain, these new findings pave the way for research in humans that could improve treatment of hearing loss caused by noise exposure and normal aging Continue reading

Gene duplications associated with autism evolved recently in human history

Gene duplications associated with autism evolved recently in human history

Human geneticists have discovered that a region of the genome associated with autism contains genetic variation that evolved in the last 250,000 years, after the divergence of humans from ancient hominids, and likely plays an important role in disease. Their findings were presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2014 Annual Meeting in San Diego. Researchers at the University of Washington analyzed the genomes of 2,551 humans, 86 apes, one Neanderthal, and one Denisovan Continue reading

Mutation associated with cleft palate in humans, dogs identified

Mutation associated with cleft palate in humans, dogs identified

Scientists studying birth defects in humans and purebred dogs have identified an association between cleft lip and cleft palate — conditions that occur when the lip and mouth fail to form properly during pregnancy — and a mutation in the ADAMTS20 gene. Continue reading

Children’s genes affect their mothers’ risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Children’s genes affect their mothers’ risk of rheumatoid arthritis

A child’s genetic makeup may contribute to his or her mother’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis, possibly explaining why women are at higher risk of developing the disease than men. This research will be presented October 21, at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2014 Annual Meeting in San Diego. Rheumatoid arthritis, a painful inflammatory condition that primarily affects the joints, has been tied to a variety of genetic and environmental factors, including lifestyle factors and previous infections. Continue reading

New test scans all genes simultaneously to identify single mutation causing child’s rare genetic disease

New test scans all genes simultaneously to identify single mutation causing child’s rare genetic disease

Audrey Lapidus adored her baby’s sunny smile and irresistible dimples, but grew worried when Calvin did not roll over or crawl by 10 months and suffered chronic digestive problems. Four neurologists dismissed his symptoms and a battery of tests proved inconclusive. Desperate for answers, Audrey and her husband agreed to have their son become UCLA’s first patient to undergo a powerful new test called exome sequencing. Continue reading

New test scans all genes simultaneously to identify single mutation causing child’s rare genetic disease

New test scans all genes simultaneously to identify single mutation causing child’s rare genetic disease

Audrey Lapidus adored her baby’s sunny smile and irresistible dimples, but grew worried when Calvin did not roll over or crawl by 10 months and suffered chronic digestive problems. Four neurologists dismissed his symptoms and a battery of tests proved inconclusive Continue reading