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Tag Archives: Genetics

Cancer-fighting drugs might also stop malaria early

Cancer-fighting drugs might also stop malaria early

Scientists searching for new drugs to fight malaria have identified a number of compounds — some of which are currently in clinical trials to treat cancer — that could add to the anti-malarial arsenal. Duke University assistant professor Emily Derbyshire and colleagues identified more than 30 enzyme-blocking molecules, called protein kinase inhibitors, that curb malaria before symptoms start Continue reading

Newborn screening expansion offers early diagnosis and treatment to infants with SCID

Newborn screening expansion offers early diagnosis and treatment to infants with SCID

Using population-based screening outcomes of approximately 3 million infants, a team of scientists across 14 states, including four researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have shown that newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) can be successfully implemented across public health newborn screening programs. Data from 11 newborn screening programs published in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association ( JAMA ) showed the rate of SCID in newborns is higher than previously thought and believed to be 1 in 58,000 Continue reading

Pygmy phenotype developed many times, adaptive to rainforest

Pygmy phenotype developed many times, adaptive to rainforest

The small body size associated with the pygmy phenotype is probably a selective adaptation for rainforest hunter-gatherers, according to an international team of researchers, but all African pygmy phenotypes do not have the same genetic underpinning, suggesting a more recent adaptation than previously thought. “I’m interested in how rainforest hunter-gatherers have adapted to their very challenging environments,” said George H Continue reading

More than just X and Y: a new genetic basis for sex determination

More than just X and Y: a new genetic basis for sex determination

Men and women differ in plenty of obvious ways, and scientists have long known that genetic differences buried deep within our DNA underlie these distinctions. In the past, most research has focused on understanding how the genes that encode proteins act as sex determinants Continue reading

500 million year reset for immune system

500 million year reset for immune system

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IE) in Freiburg re-activated expression of an ancient gene, which is not normally expressed in the mammalian immune system, and found that the animals developed a fish-like thymus. To the researchers surprise, while the mammalian thymus is utilized exclusively for T cell maturation, the reset thymus produced not only T cells, but also served as a maturation site for B cells — a property normally seen only in the thymus of fish. Thus the model could provide an explanation of how the immune system had developed in the course of evolution. Continue reading

Newborns’ genetic code sends infection distress signal

Newborns’ genetic code sends infection distress signal

Babies suffering from life-threatening bacterial infections such as sepsis could benefit from improved treatment, thanks to a ground-breaking study. For the first time, researchers have been able to detect and decode a signal generated from a baby’s DNA that can tell doctors whether or not a bacterial infection is present in the bloodstream. Continue reading

Newborns’ genetic code sends infection distress signal

Newborns’ genetic code sends infection distress signal

Babies suffering from life-threatening bacterial infections such as sepsis could benefit from improved treatment, thanks to a ground-breaking study. For the first time, researchers have been able to detect and decode a signal generated from a baby’s DNA that can tell doctors whether or not a bacterial infection is present in the bloodstream. Continue reading

Editing HPV’s genes to kill cervical cancer cells

Editing HPV’s genes to kill cervical cancer cells

Researchers have hijacked a defense system normally used by bacteria to fend off viral infections and redirected it against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical, head and neck, and other cancers. Using the genome editing tool known as CRISPR, the Duke University researchers were able to selectively destroy two viral genes responsible for the growth and survival of cervical carcinoma cells, causing the cancer cells to self-destruct. The findings, appearing online August 7 in the Journal of Virology , give credence to an approach only recently attempted in mammalian cells, and could pave the way toward antiviral strategies targeted against other DNA-based viruses like hepatitis B and herpes simplex Continue reading

Lead linked to obesity in mice exposed by mothers

Lead linked to obesity in mice exposed by mothers

When we think of ill effects from lead exposure various neurologic problems usually come to mind. Now researchers at the University of Michigan say another health impact can be added to the list: obesity. Continue reading

Pinpointing genes that protect against frailty

Pinpointing genes that protect against frailty

Frailty is a common condition associated with old age, characterized by weight loss, weakness, decreased activity level and reduced mobility, which together increase the risk of injury and death. Continue reading