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Tag Archives: Genetics

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

Gene increases risk of breast cancer to one in three by age 70

Gene increases risk of breast cancer to one in three by age 70

Breast cancer risks for one of potentially the most important genes associated with breast cancer after the BRCA1/2 genes are today reported in the New England Journal of Medicine . Continue reading

Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new ‘Hobbit’ human

Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new ‘Hobbit’ human

In October 2004, excavation of fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores in Indonesia yielded what was called “the most important find in human evolution for 100 years.” Its discoverers dubbed the find Homo floresiensis, a name suggesting a previously unknown species of human. Now detailed reanalysis by an international team of researchers including Robert B. Eckhardt, professor of developmental genetics and evolution at Penn State, Maciej Henneberg, professor of anatomy and pathology at the University of Adelaide, and Kenneth Hsü, a Chinese geologist and paleoclimatologist, suggests that the single specimen on which the new designation depends, known as LB1, does not represent a new species. Continue reading

Genetic risk for autism stems mostly from common genes

Genetic risk for autism stems mostly from common genes

Using new statistical tools, Carnegie Mellon University’s Kathryn Roeder has led an international team of researchers to discover that most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches. Published in the July 20 issue of the journal Nature Genetics , the study found that about 52 percent of autism was traced to common genes and rarely inherited variations, with spontaneous mutations contributing a modest 2.6 percent of the total risk Continue reading

Genetic cause of common breast tumors found

Genetic cause of common breast tumors found

A multi-disciplinary team of scientists from the National Cancer Centre Singapore, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, and Singapore General Hospital have made a major breakthrough in understanding the molecular basis of fibroadenoma, one of the most common breast tumors diagnosed in women. Continue reading