Archive for the ‘genetics’ category

Jul 2, 2020

Scientists Use Genetics to Develop Better Formula to Calculate Dog Age in “Human Years”

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, genetics

If there’s one myth that has persisted through the years without much evidence, it’s this: multiply your dog’s age by seven to calculate how old they are in “human years.” In other words, the old adage says, a four-year-old dog is similar in physiological age to a 28-year-old person.

But a new study by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine throws that out the window. Instead, they created a formula that more accurately compares the ages of humans and dogs. The formula is based on the changing patterns of methyl groups in dog and human genomes — how many of these chemical tags and where they’re located — as they age. Since the two species don’t age at the same rate over their lifespans, it turns out it’s not a perfectly linear comparison, as the 1:7 years rule-of-thumb would suggest.

Jul 2, 2020

Stimulating production of enzyme in roundworms found to increase lifespan

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in South Korea has found that stimulating production of a certain enzyme in roundworms can increase their lifespan. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their study of the protein VRK-1 and what they learned about its impact on the longevity of roundworms.

Prior research has shown that one way to increase longevity in some species is to use techniques that slow down mitochondrial respiration. In this new effort, the researchers were looking to better understand why slowing in mitochondria has an impact on aging. As part of their effort, they looked at an energy sensor in mitochondria called adenosine 5’-monophosphate-activated (AMPK), known to play a role in controlling how much energy is used in cells in roundworms. Prior research had suggested its level of activity is controlled by the protein VRK-1. To learn more about its impact on aging, the researchers genetically engineered two lines of roundworms to force them to produce more VRK-1 and two lines of roundworms to force them to produce less VRK-1. They then monitored the roundworms to see how long they lived.

The researchers found those roundworms expressing more than the normal amount of VRK-1 tended to live longer than average, while those expressing less than average amounts of VRK-1 had shorter lifespans. More specifically, control worms representing the normal lifespan of a lived on average 16.9 days. In their experiments, one of the lines expressing more VRK-1 lived on average 20.8 days, while the other lived on average 23.7 days. And one of the lines producing less VRK-1 lived on average just 12.7 days and the other just 15.9 days. The researchers suggest this finding indicates that VRK-1 has a direct impact on roundworm longevity.

Jul 1, 2020

Toward principles of gene regulation in multicellular systems

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

A team of quantitative biology researchers from Northwestern University have uncovered new insights into the impact of stochasticity in gene expression, offering new evolutionary clues into organismal design principles in the face of physical constraints.

In cells, are expressed through transcription, a process where genetic information encoded in DNA is copied into messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA is then translated to make , the workhorses of cells. This entire process is subject to bursts of natural stochasticity—or randomness—which can impact the outcome of biological processes that proteins carry out.

The researchers’ new experimental and theoretical analyses studied a collection of genes in Drosophila, a family of fruit flies, and found that gene expression is regulated by the frequency of these transcriptional bursts.

Jul 1, 2020

Could you become a ‘natural’ blonde

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

The Kingsley team pored over genetic data repositories, searching for places in the genetic code near the KITLG gene that tell the gene what to do. They found a location in the DNA where proteins known as transcription factors bind to the sequence and carry out the instructions specified in the code.

They discovered that if the nucleotide guanine holds that spot, the transcription factor cannot bind as tightly to the DNA as when another nucleotide (adenine) is in the same position. This simple alteration – replacing A with G in the DNA sequence – reduces the expression of the gene and, ultimately, changes the colour of the hair.

Guenther’s blue-flecked mice prove that the Kingsley group found the spot on the genome that informs hair follicles how much melanin to incorporate into hair.

Continue reading “Could you become a ‘natural’ blonde” »

Jul 1, 2020

Pilot Study Results Suggest Epigenetic Age Reversal

Posted by in categories: genetics, life extension

3 things:

1. The company claims that it has been successful in reducing the epigenetic age of participants(17 people) by an average of 8.5 years with its dietary supplement Rejuvant.

2. Obviously, this has yet to be proven conclusively in human trials, and the company is busy preparing to launch a larger-scale trial later this year to that end.

Continue reading “Pilot Study Results Suggest Epigenetic Age Reversal” »

Jun 29, 2020

When two are better than one: Why some gene duplicates are retained while others perish

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Whole genome duplication followed by massive gene loss has shaped many genomes, including the human genome. Why some gene duplicates are retained while most perish has puzzled scientists for decades.

A study, published today in Science, has found that gene retention depends on the degree of “functional and structural entanglement”, which measures interdependency between gene structure and function. In other words, while most duplicates either become obsolete or they evolve new roles, some are retained forever because, evolutionarily speaking, they’re simply stuck.

“When we scan genomes there are some gene pairs that remain from events that occurred millions of years ago,” says Elena Kuzmin, a co-lead author of the study and former graduate student who trained with Charles Boone, professor of molecular genetics in the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, at the University of Toronto, who co-led the study.

Jun 29, 2020

Circular RNA found to make fruit flies live longer

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics, life extension, neuroscience

Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, is part of our genetic code and present in every cell of our body. The best known form of RNA is a single linear strand, of which the function is well known and characterized. But there is also another type of RNA, so-called “circular RNA,” or circRNA, which forms a continuous loop that makes it more stable and less vulnerable to degradation. CircRNAs accumulate in the brain with age. Still, the biological functions of most circRNAs are not known and are a riddle for the scientific community. Now scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging have come one step closer to answer the question what these mysterious circRNAs do: one of them contributes to the aging process in fruit flies.

Carina Weigelt and other researchers in the group led by Linda Partridge, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging, used to investigate the role of the circRNAs in the aging process. “This is unique, because it is not very well understood what circRNAs do, especially not in an aging perspective. Nobody has looked at circRNAs in a longevity context before,” says Carina Weigelt who conducted the main part of the study. She continues: “Now we have identified a circRNA that can extend lifespan of fruit flies when we increase it, and it is regulated by signaling.”

Jun 28, 2020

A ‘Cure for Heart Disease’? A Single Shot Succeeds in Monkeys

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

A novel gene-editing experiment seems to have permanently reduced LDL and triglyceride levels in monkeys.

Jun 27, 2020

GloWGR Introduction and How to Accelerate Genetic mixed models for genetics with whole genome regression in Glow

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Learn how Databricks and the Regeneron Genetics Center partnered to introduce whole genome regression into Project Glow, reducing the cost of fitting mixed models on genetics datasets by orders of magnitude.

Jun 26, 2020

Dynamics of DNA replication revealed at the nanoscale

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, nanotechnology

DNA replication is a process of critical importance to the cell, and must be coordinated precisely to ensure that genomic information is duplicated once and only once during each cell cycle. Using super-resolution technology a University of Technology Sydney led team has directly visualized the process of DNA replication in single human cells.

This is the first quantitative characterization to date of the spatio-temporal organization, morphology, and in situ epigenetic signatures of individual replication foci (RFi) in single human at the nanoscale.

The results of the study, published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) give new insight into a poorly understood area of DNA replication namely how replication origin sites are chosen from thousands of possible sites.

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