Tag Archives: Genetics

Salmon is first transgenic animal to win US approval for food

Long-awaited decision authorizes a genetically engineered animal to grace US dinner tables for the first time. A fast-growing salmon has become the first genetically engineered animal to be approved for human consumption in the United States. The decision, issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 19 November, releases the salmon from two […]

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* ‘Gene drive’ mosquitoes engineered to fight malaria

The Anopheles stephensi mosquito can spread the malaria parasite to humans. Mutant mosquitoes engineered to resist the parasite that causes malaria could wipe out the disease in some regions — for good. Humans contract malaria from mosquitoes that are infected by parasites from the genus Plasmodium. Previous work had shown that mosquitoes could be engineered […]

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* Puppy bred to have muscular dystrophy saved by surprise mutation

Ringo, a golden retriever born in 2003 in a Brazilian kennel, was never expected to live long. Researchers bred him and his littermates to inherit a gene mutation that causes severe muscular dystrophy. They hoped that the puppies would provide insight into Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), an untreatable and ultimately fatal human disease caused by […]

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New stem cell gene correction process puts time on researchers’ side

Researchers from the Morgridge Institute for Research and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Australia have devised a way to dramatically cut the time involved in reprogramming and genetically correcting stem cells, an important step to making future therapies possible. Led by Sara Howden, a postdoctoral fellow at MCRI and formerly with the Morgridge […]

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Targeting mutant proteins might be silver bullet for neurodegenerative diseases

Scientists have unraveled how mutant molecules damage the nervous system of people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, a group of disorders that hinder people’s ability to move and feel sensation in their hands and feet, according to a paper published October 21, 2015 in Nature. In laboratory testing, the researchers were able to improve symptoms of […]

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Genetics probe identifies new Galapagos tortoise species

The tortoise Chelonoidis donfaustoi is found on Santa Cruz island in Ecuador. A new species of giant tortoise has been discovered hiding in plain sight on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. A population of about 250 animals living in an arid inland area of Santa Cruz island turns out to be so genetically distinct from the rest […]

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* Gene therapy treats all muscles in the body in muscular dystrophy dogs

Muscular dystrophy, which affects approximately 250,000 people in the US, occurs when damaged muscle tissue is replaced with fibrous, fatty or bony tissue and loses function. For years, scientists have searched for a way to successfully treat the most common form of the disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which primarily affects boys. Now, a team […]

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* Ancient wild ox genome reveals complex cow ancestry

The ancestry of domesticated cattle proves more complex than previously thought, reports a paper published in the open access journal Genome Biology. The first nuclear genome sequence from an ancient wild ox reveals that some modern domestic cow breeds, including the Scottish Highland and Irish Kerry, had wild ancestors that were British, as well as […]

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New class of DNA repair enzyme discovered

This year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry was given to three scientists who each focused on one piece of the DNA repair puzzle. Now a new study, reported online Oct. 28 in the journal Nature, reports the discovery of a new class of DNA repair enzyme. When the structure of DNA was first discovered, scientists imagined […]

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Mapping the genes that increase lifespan

Following an exhaustive, ten-year effort, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the University of Washington have identified 238 genes that, when removed, increase the replicative lifespan of S. cerevisiae yeast cells. This is the first time 189 of these genes have been linked to aging. These results provide new genomic targets […]

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* Study stops vision loss in late-stage canine X-linked retinitis pigmentosa

Three years ago, a team from the University of Pennsylvania announced that they had cured X-linked retinitis pigmentosa, a blinding retinal disease, in dogs. Now they’ve shown that they can cure the canine disease over the long term, even when the treatment is given after half or more of the affected photoreceptor cells have been […]

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* Antiviral compound provides full protection from Ebola virus in nonhuman primates

Rhesus monkeys were completely protected from the deadly Ebola virus when treated three days after infection with a compound that blocks the virus’s ability to replicate. These encouraging preclinical results suggest the compound, known as GS-5734, should be further developed as a potential treatment, according to research findings to be presented tomorrow at the IDWeek […]

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From hummingbird to owl: New research decodes bird family tree

The rapid extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago gave rise to a stunning variety of bird species over the next few million years, according to Florida State University researchers. A study published in the journal Nature in coordination with Yale University resolved the bird family tree, something that has never been accomplished by scientists. […]

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Scientists discover new system for human genome editing

A team including the scientist who first harnessed the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 system for mammalian genome editing has now identified a different CRISPR system with the potential for even simpler and more precise genome engineering. In a study published in Cell, Feng Zhang and his colleagues at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the […]

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Researchers uncover genetic basis for kin recognition in mice

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have identified the genetic basis of how mice can recognise close relatives, even if they have never encountered them before. In the study, published in Current Biology, researchers have demonstrated that a species-specific genetic marker called the major urinary protein (MUP), which is detected through the animal’s scent, is […]

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Connecting Alzheimer’s disease, immune system

The role of the immune system in Alzheimer’s disease is a hot topic, but exactly how the two are connected and what interventions could help lower risk remain a mystery. In a new study published in Nature Neuroscience this week, researchers in the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) […]

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* Gene-edited ‘micropigs’ to be sold as pets at Chinese institute

The pigs are endearing but scientists warn that they may be a distraction from more serious research. Cutting-edge gene-editing techniques have produced an unexpected byproduct — tiny pigs that a leading Chinese genomics institute will soon sell as pets. BGI in Shenzhen, the genomics institute that is famous for a series of high-profile breakthroughs in […]

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* Genetic mutations linked to a form of blindness

Achromatopsia is a rare, inherited vision disorder that affects the eye’s cone cells, resulting in problems with daytime vision, clarity and color perception. It often strikes people early in life, and currently there is no cure for the condition. One of the most promising avenues for developing a cure, however, is through gene therapy, and […]

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Competing mice reveal genetic defects

In recent years, University of Utah biologists showed that when wild-type mice compete in seminatural “mouse barns” for food, territory and mates, they can suffer health problems not revealed by conventional toxicity tests on caged lab mice. This test previously found mouse reproduction and survival was harmed by inbreeding, certain medicines and fructose comparable with […]

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* Single neuron may carry over 1,000 mutations

A single neuron in a normal adult brain likely has more than a thousand genetic mutations that are not present in the cells that surround it, according to new research from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists. The majority of these mutations appear to arise while genes are in active use, after brain development is […]

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Ancient hybridization key to domestic dog’s origin, wolf conservation efforts

The ancestry of man’s best friend may be more complicated than its furry coat and soulful eyes betray. Understanding the evolutionary history of the domesticated dog may ultimately help protect endangered wolves, according to a study from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Vladimir Dinets, research assistant professor of psychology, has published an overview examining the […]

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* New study rewrites genetic history of sheep

At a time when the price of mutton is climbing and wool crashing, a groundbreaking new study has used advanced genetic sequencing technology to rewrite the history of sheep breeding and trading along the ancient Silk Road–insights that can help contemporary herders in developing countries preserve or recover valuable traits crucial to their food and […]

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Study reveals the genetic start-up of a human embryo

An international team of scientists led from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet has for the first time mapped all the genes that are activated in the first few days of a fertilized human egg. The study, which is being published in the journal Nature Communications, provides an in-depth understanding of early embryonic development in human — and […]

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In the spotlight: X chromosome inactivation

A nice example of X inactivation can be observed in the fur of tortoiseshell and calico cats. The gene for fur coloration resides on the X chromosome, while each of the two X chromosomes codes for a different color: black or orange. In an orange ‘patch’, only the X chromosome encoding the orange color is […]

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Frogs mount speedy defence against pesticide threat

Several species of frogs can quickly switch on genetic resistance to a group of commonly used pesticides. In one case, wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) were able to deploy such defences in just one generation after exposure to contaminated environments, scientists reported last week at a conference of the Ecological Society of America in Baltimore, Maryland. […]

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‘Golden jackals’ of East Africa are actually ‘golden wolves’

Despite their remarkably similar appearance, the “golden jackals” of East Africa and Eurasia are actually two entirely different species. The discovery, based on DNA evidence and reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 30, increases the overall biodiversity of the Canidae–the group including dogs, wolves, foxes, and jackals–from 35 living species to […]

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* Super-smart cool mice created

It sheds light on the molecular underpinnings of learning and memory and could form the basis for research into new treatments for age-related cognitive decline, cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, and other conditions. The researchers altered a gene in mice to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B), which is […]

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Vision-restoring gene therapy also strengthens visual processing pathways in brain

Since 2007, clinical trials using gene therapy have resulted in often-dramatic sight restoration for dozens of children and adults who were otherwise doomed to blindness. Now, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), have found evidence that this sight restoration leads to strengthening […]

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Why bad genes don’t always lead to bad diseases

That two people with the same disease-causing mutation do not get sick to the same extent has been puzzling scientists for decades. Now Professor Andy Fraser and his team have uncovered a key part of what makes every patient different. “We have shown how genetic background — that is, the unique set of DNA letters […]

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Why offspring cope better with climate change: It’s all in the genes

In a collaborative project with scientists from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, the researchers examined how the fish’s genes responded after several generations living at higher temperatures predicted under climate change. “Some fish have a remarkable capacity to adjust to higher water temperatures over a few generations of […]

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