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Archive for the ‘genetics’ category: Page 3

Oct 20, 2020

Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Reveals Rare Disorder

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

An odd lump on Elizabeth Cowles Johnston’s breast prompted a Friday morning call to her primary care physician Rebecca Andrews at UConn Health.

Dr. Andrews quickly fit her in, and upon checking the lump sent her to Dr. Alex Merkulov, Section Head of Women’s Imaging at the Beekley Imaging Center at UConn Health for a mammogram and ultrasound. The following Monday she had a biopsy of her breast and by that Wednesday she had the diagnosis of breast cancer.

“It was all very quick,” says Johnston.

Oct 19, 2020

Caltech Develops a Way to Map Brain Circuits in Real Time

Posted by in categories: genetics, neuroscience

Current optical techniques can image neuron activity only near the brain’s surface, but integrated neurophotonics could unlock circuits buried deep in the brain. Credit: Roukes et. al.

But current optogenetic studies of the brain are constrained by a significant physical limitation, says Laurent Moreaux, Caltech senior research scientist and lead author on the paper. Brain tissue scatters light, which means that light shone in from outside the brain can travel only short distances within it. Because of this, only regions less than about two millimeters from the brain’s surface can be examined optically. This is why the best-studied brain circuits are usually simple ones that relay sensory information, such as the sensory cortex in a mouse—they are located near the surface. In short, at present, optogenetics methods cannot readily offer insight into circuits located deeper in the brain, including those involved in higher-order cognitive or learning processes.

Integrated neurophotonics, Roukes and colleagues say, circumvents the problem. In the technique, the microscale elements of a complete imaging system are implanted near complex neural circuits located deep within the brain, in regions such as the hippocampus (which is involved in memory formation), striatum (which controls cognition), and other fundamental structures in unprecedented resolution. Consider the similar technology of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the scanning technique currently used to image entire brains. Each voxel, or three-dimension pixel, in an fMRI scan is typically about a cubic millimeter in volume and contains roughly 100,000 neurons. Each voxel, therefore, represents the average activity of all of these 100,000 cells.

Oct 19, 2020

Portable Sequencing Is Reshaping Genetics Research

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Portable sequencing is making it possible for biologists to perform DNA analysis anywhere in the world. How is this technology reshaping the way they work?

Thanks to nanopore technology, scientists can now collect samples and sequence them anywhere. It is the concept of backpacking applied to scientific research.

Continue reading “Portable Sequencing Is Reshaping Genetics Research” »

Oct 19, 2020

Scientists map the human proteome

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Knowing which proteins are key to protection from disease, and the deficiencies in expression or activity that are hallmarks of disease, can inform individualized medicine and the development of new therapies.


Twenty years after the release of the human genome, the genetic “blueprint” of human life, an international research team, including the University of British Columbia’s Chris Overall, has now mapped the first draft sequence of the human proteome.

Their work was published Oct. 16 in Nature Communications and announced today by the Human Proteome Organization (HUPO).

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Oct 19, 2020

Early Childhood Trauma Affects Metabolism in the Next Generation

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

Article. The research/article indicates that childhood trauma can not only impact the current generation, but future generations. Biochemical signals are sent to the germ cells, modifying the expression of some genes and/or the DNA structure.


Traumatic experiences can have a lasting impact, so children that suffer through them can feel their effects for a lifetime. Work has also shown that trauma can change the way genes are expressed, through epigenetics. Epigenetic changes do not alter the sequence of genes but they alter the biochemistry of DNA, and these changes are sometimes passed down to future generations through germ cells. Scientists have been working to learn more about how traumatic events get embedded in the genetic code of germ cells.

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Oct 17, 2020

A newly discovered protein repairs DNA

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

Researchers from the University of Seville, in collaboration with colleagues from the Universities of Murcia and Marburg (Germany) have identified a new protein that makes it possible to repair DNA. The protein in question, called cryptochrome, has evolved to acquire this and other functions within the cell.

Ultraviolet radiation can damage the DNA, leading to mutations that disrupt cell function and can allow cancer cells to grow out of control. Our cells have DNA repair systems to defend themselves against this sort of damage. One of these systems is based on a protein, photolyase, which uses to repair DNA damage before it leads to mutations.

Over the course of evolution, the genes for photolyase duplicated and became specialized, creating new proteins, cryptochromes, which have honed their ability to perceive blue light and now perform other functions in cells. For example, cryptochromes use blue light as a signal to regulate and the rhythm that controls daily activity (the circadian rhythm) in fungi and animals.

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.

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