Biology News

Syndicate content
Updated: 23 min 7 sec ago

Two studies identify a detectable, pre-cancerous state in the blood

17 hours 45 min ago

Researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard-affiliated hospitals have uncovered an easily detectable, "pre-malignant" state in the blood that significantly increases the likelihood that an individual will go on to develop blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myelodysplastic syndrome. The discovery, which was made independently by two research teams affiliated with the Broad and partner institutions, opens new avenues for research aimed at early detection and prevention of blood cancer. Findings from both teams appear this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

ASU, IBM move ultrafast, low-cost DNA sequencing technology a step closer to reality

Mon, 24/11/2014 - 21:47

A team of scientists from Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center have developed a prototype DNA reader that could make whole genome profiling an everyday practice in medicine.

Lionfish analysis reveals most vulnerable prey as invasion continues

Mon, 24/11/2014 - 21:47


Stephanie Green studies lionfish in The Bahamas. If you live in lionfish territory in the Atlantic Ocean, the last thing you want to be is a small fish with a long, skinny body, resting by yourself at night, near the bottom of the seafloor.

Intrepid scientific explorer recounts lifetime of work and adventure in Amazon

Thu, 20/11/2014 - 23:24

Drawing on nearly five decades of experience, Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, one of the seminal scientific explorers of the Amazon rain forest in modern times, chronicles some of his most significant and fascinating expeditions in That Glorious Forest: Exploring the Plants and Their Indigenous Uses in Amazonia, now available from The New York Botanical Garden Press.

Imagination, reality flow in opposite directions in the brain

Thu, 20/11/2014 - 23:24


Electrical and computer engineering professor Barry Van Veen wears an electrode net used to monitor brain activity via EEG signals. As real as that daydream may seem, its path through your brain runs opposite reality.

Ancient genetic program employed in more than just fins and limbs

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 23:18

Hox genes are master body-building genes that specify where an animal's head, tail and everything in between should go. There's even a special Hox gene program that directs the development of limbs and fins, including specific modifications such as the thumb in mice and humans. Now, San Francisco State University researchers show that this fin- and limb-building genetic program is also utilized during the development of other vertebrate features.

Natural gut viruses join bacterial cousins in maintaining health and fighting infections

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 23:18

Microbiologists at NYU Langone Medical Center say they have what may be the first strong evidence that the natural presence of viruses in the gut -- or what they call the 'virome' -- plays a health-maintenance and infection-fighting role similar to that of the intestinal bacteria that dwell there and make up the "microbiome."

New view of mouse genome finds many similarities, striking differences with human genome

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 23:18

Looking across evolutionary time and the genomic landscapes of humans and mice, an international group of researchers has found powerful clues to why certain processes and systems in the mouse - such as the immune system, metabolism and stress response - are so different from those in people. Building on years of mouse and gene regulation studies, they have developed a resource that can help scientists better understand how similarities and differences between mice and humans are written in their genomes.

The role DNA methylation plays in aging cells

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 00:02

Although every person's DNA remains the same throughout their lives, scientists know that it functions differently at different ages.

New clue in celiac disease puzzle: Cause of oat toxicity explained

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 00:02

Melbourne researchers have identified why some people with coeliac disease show an immune response after eating oats.

Drugs that prevent blood clots may protect organs during transplantation

Mon, 17/11/2014 - 22:48

Organs can become significantly damaged during transplantation, but a new article published in the BJS (British Journal of Surgery) offers a protective strategy that could keep them safe and allow them to function optimally after the procedure.

A new approach to fighting chronic myeloid leukemia

Mon, 17/11/2014 - 22:48

Chronic myeloid leukemia develops when a gene mutates and causes an enzyme to become hyperactive, causing blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow to grow rapidly into abnormal cells. The enzyme, Abl-kinase, is a member of the "kinase" family of enzymes, which serve as an "on" or "off" switch for many functions in our cells. In chronic myeloid leukemia, the hyperactive Abl-kinase is targeted with drugs that bind to a specific part of the enzyme and block it, aiming to ultimately kill the fast-growing cancer cell. However, treatments are often limited by the fact that the cancer cells can adapt to resist drugs. EPFL scientists have identified an alternative part of Abl-kinase on which drugs can bind and act with a reduced risk of drug resistance. Their work is published in Nature Communications.

Advances in electron microscopy reveal secrets of HIV and other viruses

Mon, 17/11/2014 - 22:48


New techniques in electron microscope reveal new information about viruses, for example on the location of the variable V2 loop of HIV Env protein (red). This could give new insight... UC Davis researchers are getting a new look at the workings of HIV and other viruses thanks to new techniques in electron microscopy developed on campus.

Single-dose, needle-free Ebola vaccine provides long-term protection in macaques

Wed, 12/11/2014 - 22:48

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that a single-dose, needleless Ebola vaccine given to primates through their noses and lungs protected them against infection for at least 21 weeks. A vaccine that doesn't require an injection could help prevent passing along infections through unintentional pricks. They report the results of their study on macaques in the ACS journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Bizarre mapping error puts newly discovered species in jeopardy

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 23:17

WCS scientists in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have discovered a new species of plant living in a remote rift valley escarpment that's supposed to be inside of a protected area. But an administrative mapping error puts the reserve's borders some 50 kilometers west of the actual location. Now the new species, along with 900 other plant varieties and 1,400 chimpanzees, are in limbo with no protection and threatened by cattle ranches and forest destruction.

The cat's meow: Genome reveals clues to domestication

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 00:28


Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis led an international team that sequenced and analyzed the cat genome to better understand the animal's domestication. Cats and humans have shared the same households for at least 9,000 years, but we still know very little about how our feline friends became domesticated. An analysis of the cat genome by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reveals some surprising clues.

Could non-gluten proteins play a role in celiac disease?

Wed, 05/11/2014 - 23:20

Although gluten-free foods are trendy among the health-conscious, they are necessary for those with celiac disease. But gluten, the primary trigger for health problems in these patients, may not be the only culprit. Scientists are reporting in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research that people with the disease also have reactions to non-gluten wheat proteins. The results could help scientists better understand how the disease works and could have implications for how to treat it.

Researchers engineer a 'smart bomb' to attack childhood leukemia

Wed, 05/11/2014 - 23:20

Fatih Uckun, Jianjun Cheng and their colleagues have taken the first steps towards developing a so-called "smart bomb" to attack the most common and deadly form of childhood cancer — called B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Ebola, Marburg viruses edit genetic material during infection

Tue, 04/11/2014 - 23:42

Filoviruses like Ebola "edit" genetic material as they invade their hosts, according to a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The work, by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the Galveston National Laboratory, and the J. Craig Venter Institute, could lead to a better understanding of these viruses, paving the way for new treatments down the road.

MRSA bugs linked to livestock are found in hospitals, study finds

Tue, 04/11/2014 - 00:08

Some MRSA bugs in UK hospitals can be traced back to a type of bacteria found in farm animals, a study suggests.