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Archive for the ‘genetics’ category

Oct 17, 2020

[Burning Issue] CRISPR Technology and Associated Concerns

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

We ask students to login via google as we share a lot of our content over google drive. To access the same, a google account is a must.


The CRISPR-Cas9 system has revolutionized genetic manipulations and made gene editing simpler, faster and easily accessible to most laboratories.

To its recognition, this year, the French-American duo Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna have been awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for chemistry for CRISPR.

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Oct 16, 2020

‘I never saw stars before’: Gene therapy brings back 8-year-old Canadian boy’s sight

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

For the first time, a targeted gene replacement therapy has been approved in Canada, bringing hope to thousands of people struggling with a genetic condition in which their sight slowly degrades.

Oct 16, 2020

High fructose intake may drive aggressive behaviors, ADHD, bipolar

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, food, genetics, neuroscience

The research, out today from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and published in * Evolution and Human Behavior*, presents a hypothesis supporting a role for fructose, a component of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and uric acid (a fructose metabolite), in increasing the risk for these behavioral disorders.

Johnson outlines research that shows a foraging response stimulates risk taking, impulsivity, novelty seeking, rapid decision making, and aggressiveness to aid the securing of food as a survival response. Overactivation of this process from excess sugar intake may cause impulsive behavior that could range from ADHD, to bipolar disorder or even aggression.” “Johnson notes, “We do not blame aggressive behavior on sugar, but rather note that it may be one contributor.”” “The identification of fructose as a risk factor does not negate the importance of genetic, familial, physical, emotional and environmental factors that shape mental health,” he adds.


Huh, want to know more.

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Oct 16, 2020

Artificial Intelligence Used to ‘Redefine’ Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, robotics/AI

Summary: New artificial intelligence technology will analyze clinical data, brain images, and genetic information from Alzheimer’s patients to look for new biomarkers associated with the neurodegenerative disease.

Source: University of Pennsylvania

As the search for successful Alzheimer’s disease drugs remains elusive, experts believe that identifying biomarkers — early biological signs of the disease — could be key to solving the treatment conundrum. However, the rapid collection of data from tens of thousands of Alzheimer’s patients far exceeds the scientific community’s ability to make sense of it.

Oct 15, 2020

Scientists Found a New Way to Control the Brain With Light—No Surgery Required

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Controlling brains with light.


Thanks to optogenetics, in just ten years we’ve been able to artificially incept memories in mice, decipher brain signals that lead to pain, untangle the neural code for addiction, reverse depression, restore rudimentary sight in blinded mice, and overwrite terrible memories with happy ones. Optogenetics is akin to a universal programming language for the brain.

But it’s got two serious downfalls: it requires gene therapy, and it needs brain surgery to implant optical fibers into the brain.

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Oct 14, 2020

Alphabet’s New Moonshot Is to Transform How We Grow Food

Posted by in categories: food, genetics, solar power, sustainability

Mineral’s plant buggy looks like a platform on wheels, topped with solar panels and stuffed with cameras, sensors, and software.


But maybe there’s a better way—and Mineral wants to find it.

Like many things nowadays, the key to building something better is data. Genetic data, weather pattern data, soil composition and erosion data, satellite data… The list goes on. As part of the massive data-gathering that will need to be done, X introduced what it’s calling a “plant buggy” (if the term makes you picture a sort of baby stroller for plants, you’re not alone…).

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Oct 14, 2020

New Technology Accelerates Crop Improvement with CRISPR

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

Researchers know how to make precise genetic changes within the genomes of crops, but the transformed cells often refuse to grow into plants. One team has devised a new solution.


Scientists who want to improve crops face a dilemma: it can be difficult to grow plants from cells after you’ve tweaked their genomes.

A new tool helps ease this process by coaxing the transformed cells, including those modified with the gene-editing system CRISPR-Cas9, to regenerate new plants. Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Specialist Juan M. Debernardi and Investigator Jorge Dubcovsky, together with David Tricoli at the University of California, Davis Plant Transformation Facility, Javier Palatnik from Argentina, and colleagues at the John Innes Centre, collaborated on the work. The team reports the technology, developed in wheat and tested in other crops, October 12, 2020, in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

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Oct 14, 2020

Robots are helping to advance developmental biology

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, robotics/AI

Robots are now assisting in advancing developmental biology.


The study of developmental biology is getting a robotic helping hand.

Scientists are using a custom robot to survey how mutations in regulatory regions of the genome affect animal development. These regions aren’t genes, but rather stretches of DNA called enhancers that determine how genes are turned on and off during development. The team describes the findings—and the robot itself—on October 14 in the journal Nature.

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Oct 13, 2020

Statins may reduce cancer risk through mechanisms separate to cholesterol

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Analysis revealed that variants in the HMGCR gene region, which represent proxies for statin treatment, were associated with overall cancer risk, suggesting that statins could lower overall cancer risk.


Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may reduce cancer risk in humans through a pathway unrelated to cholesterol, says a study published today in eLife.

Statins reduce levels of LDL-cholesterol, the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA-reductase (HMGCR). Clinical trials have previously demonstrated convincing evidence that statins reduce the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. But evidence for the potential effect of statins to reduce the risk of is less clear.

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Oct 13, 2020

Humans can develop a genetic tolerance for arsenic

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

There’s no need to fear arsenic poisoning if you grew up in the Argentinian Andes — hundreds of years of drinking arsenic-laced groundwater will have left you with a genetic tolerance for it.

Geneticists from Lund and Uppsala universities had noticed that certain plants and bacteria could live in environments with lots of arsenic, with natural selection favouring a gene known to improve their ability to metabolise the poison. Curious to see if humans could also gain some kind of arsenic immunity, they looked at a group of people who they knew would have been exposed to the poison over many generations — the indigenous peoples of the Argentinian part of the Andes. Sure enough, a higher-than average proportion of people they studied possessed the AS3MT gene, which lets them flush out toxins faster than “normal” people.

The genetic samples tested for the AS3MT gene came from 346 residents of the small, isolated town of San Antonio de los Cobres, located more than 3,700m above sea level in the Andes. Not only does the bedrock in the surrounding area contain a lot of arsenic which gets into the groundwater, but mining operations from the era of Spanish colonisation onwards have released even more arsenic — so both modern people and mummies dating back 7,000 years have had high levels of arsenic found in their hair and internal organs.

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