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Archive for the ‘genetics’ category: Page 4

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.

Oct 12, 2020

Team reprograms CRISPR system in mice to eliminate tumor cells without affecting healthy cells

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

The CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool is one of the most promising approaches to advancing treatments of genetic diseases—including cancer—an area of research where progress is constantly being made. Now, the Molecular Cytogenetics Unit led by Sandra Rodríguez-Perales at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has taken a step forward by effectively applying this technology to eliminate so-called fusion genes, which in the future could open the door to the development of cancer therapies that specifically destroy tumors without affecting healthy cells. The paper is published in Nature Communications.

Fusion genes are the abnormal result of an incorrect joining of DNA fragments that come from two different genes, an event that occurs by accident during the process of cell division. If the cell cannot benefit from this error, it will die and the will be eliminated. But when the error results in a reproductive or survival advantage, the carrier cell will multiply and the genes and the proteins they encode thus become an event triggering tumor formation. “Many and the fusion genes they produce are at the origin of childhood sarcomas and leukaemias,” explains Sandra Rodríguez-Perales, lead co-author of the study now published by the CNIO. Fusion genes are also found in among others prostate, breast, lung and brain tumors: in total, in up to 20% of all cancers.

Because they are only present in tumor cells, fusion genes attract a great deal of interest among the scientific community because they are highly specific therapeutic targets, and attacking them only affects the tumor and has no effect on .

Oct 11, 2020

Searching for the Chemistry of Life: Possible New Way to Create DNA Base Pairs

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

In the search for the chemical origins of life, researchers have found a possible alternative path for the emergence of the characteristic DNA pattern: According to the experiments, the characteristic DNA base pairs can form by dry heating, without water or other solvents. The team led by Ivan Halasz from the Rudjer Boskovic Institute and Ernest Mestrovic from the pharmaceutical company Xellia presents its observations from DESYs X-ray source PETRA III in the journal Chemical Communications.

“One of the most intriguing questions in the search for the origin of life is how the chemical selection occurred and how the first biomolecules formed,” says Tomislav Stolar from the Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Zagreb, the first author on the paper. While living cells control the production of biomolecules with their sophisticated machinery, the first molecular and supramolecular building blocks of life were likely created by pure chemistry and without enzyme catalysis. For their study, the scientists investigated the formation of nucleobase pairs that act as molecular recognition units in the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA).

Our genetic code is stored in the DNA as a specific sequence spelled by the nucleobases adenine (A), cytosine ©, guanine (G) and thymine (T). The code is arranged in two long, complementary strands wound in a double-helix structure. In the strands, each nucleobase pairs with a complementary partner in the other strand: adenine with thymine and cytosine with guanine.

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Oct 11, 2020

RAADfest 66 minute version for COPL

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

I will be 49 tomorrow. I always like to find some sort of life extension vid for my birthday. And boy did I hit it. Here comes Bill Faloon to drown you in info. Fruit flies 48% increase at 4:30, George Church at 9:00, C. Elegans 5X increase 15:30, 114 year old blood cells reprogrammed ti pluripotent at 18:40, epigenetics at 22:30, Senile plasma at 24:30, Dr Mike West 4 paragraphs to summarize at 21:00, 44:00 minutes is Vitality in Aging Interventions Trail which anyone can join. Enjoy.

Oct 11, 2020

Nobel Prize winner develops test that can detect coronavirus in 5 minutes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, mobile phones

California-based researchers develop a test that can detect the coronavirus using gene-editing technology and a modified mobile phone camera.

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