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Courts face challenges when linking genetics to criminal behavior

Courts face challenges when linking genetics to criminal behavior

Studies suggest that some people may be at increased risk of criminal behavior due to their genes. Such research holds potential for helping judges and juries with some of the difficult decisions they must make, but it also brings a substantial risk of misinterpretation and misuse within the legal system. Addressing these issues will be of critical importance for upholding principles of justice and fairness, according to an essay being published in the June 4 issue of the Cell Press journal Neuron . Continue reading

Subtle change in DNA, protein levels determines blond or brunette tresses, study finds

Subtle change in DNA, protein levels determines blond or brunette tresses, study finds

A molecule critical to stem cell function plays a major role in determining human hair color, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study describes for the first time the molecular basis for one of our most noticeable traits. Continue reading

Poor coverage of specific gene sets in exome sequencing gives cause for concern

Poor coverage of specific gene sets in exome sequencing gives cause for concern

With services based on exome sequencing becoming affordable to patients at a reasonable price, the question of the quality of the results provided has become increasingly important. The exome is the DNA sequence of genes that are translated into protein. Continue reading

Powerful tool combs family genomes to find shared variations causing disease

Powerful tool combs family genomes to find shared variations causing disease

Scientists at the University of Utah (U of U), the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and colleagues have developed a powerful tool called pVAAST that combines linkage analysis with case control association to help researchers and clinicians identify disease-causing mutations in families faster and more precisely than ever before. In a study in Nature Biotechnology , the researchersdescribe cases in which pVAAST (the pedigree Variant Annotation, Analysis and Search Tool) identified mutations in two families with separate diseases and a de novo or new variation in a 12-year-old who was the only one in his family to suffer from a mysterious and life threatening intestinal problem Continue reading

Powerful tool combs family genomes to find shared variations causing disease

Powerful tool combs family genomes to find shared variations causing disease

Scientists at the University of Utah (U of U), the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and colleagues have developed a powerful tool called pVAAST that combines linkage analysis with case control association to help researchers and clinicians identify disease-causing mutations in families faster and more precisely than ever before. In a study in Nature Biotechnology , the researchersdescribe cases in which pVAAST (the pedigree Variant Annotation, Analysis and Search Tool) identified mutations in two families with separate diseases and a de novo or new variation in a 12-year-old who was the only one in his family to suffer from a mysterious and life threatening intestinal problem Continue reading

Uncovering Clues to the Genetic Cause of Schizophrenia

Uncovering Clues to the Genetic Cause of Schizophrenia

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 discovery by Columbia University Medical Center researchers published in the latest issue of Neuron . The findings could have important implications for the early detection and treatment of schizophrenia. Maria Karayiorgou, MD, professor of psychiatry and Joseph Gogos, MD, PhD, professor of physiology and cellular biophysics and of neuroscience, and their team sequenced the “exome” — the region of the human genome that codes for proteins — of 231 schizophrenia patients and their unaffected parents Continue reading

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, have identified how a specific stretch of DNA controls far-off genes to influence the formation of the face. The study, published today in Nature Genetics, helps understand the genetic causes of cleft lip and cleft palate, which are among the most common congenital malformations in humans. “This genomic region ultimately controls genes which determine how to build a face and genes which produce the basic materials needed to execute this plan,” says François Spitz from EMBL, who led the work Continue reading

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Insights into genetics of cleft lip

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, have identified how a specific stretch of DNA controls far-off genes to influence the formation of the face. Continue reading

Active genes in neurons profiled based on connections

Active genes in neurons profiled based on connections

When it comes to the brain, wiring isn’t everything. Although neurobiologists often talk in electrical metaphors, the reality is that the brain is not nearly as simple as a series of wires and circuits. Unlike their copper counterparts, neurons can behave differently depending on the situation. Continue reading

Active genes in neurons profiled based on connections

Active genes in neurons profiled based on connections

When it comes to the brain, wiring isn’t everything. Although neurobiologists often talk in electrical metaphors, the reality is that the brain is not nearly as simple as a series of wires and circuits. Continue reading