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First invasive lionfish discovered in Brazil

Thu, 23/04/2015 - 00:17


In May 2014, a group of recreational divers spotted an adult lionfish -- the voracious invader Pterois volitans -- in the rocky reefs of southeastern Brazil. A single fish caught with a hand spear off the Brazilian coast is making big waves across the entire southwestern Atlantic. In May 2014, a group of recreational divers spotted an adult lionfish--the voracious invader Pterois volitans--in the rocky reefs of southeastern Brazil. A group of researchers, including scientists from the California Academy of Sciences, used genetic analysis to link the lionfish to the infamous Caribbean population of invaders. In light of a separate study detailing the lionfish penchant for eating critically endangered Caribbean reef fish, news of lionfish in Brazilian waters raises alarm for Atlantic reefs and the region's already-threatened marine life. The discovery is published this week in PLOS ONE.

DNA of bacteria crucial to ecosystem defies explanation

Thu, 23/04/2015 - 00:17


This image shows a colony of Trichodesmium. Scientists have found something they can't quite explain in one of the most barren environments on Earth: a bacterium whose DNA sequence contains elements usually only found in a much higher organism.

Quit smoking at age 60: Lower risk for heart attack and stroke within the first five years

Thu, 23/04/2015 - 00:17

In the most comprehensive study ever on the impact of smoking on cardiovascular disease in older people, epidemiologist Dr. Ute Mons from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) analyzed 25 individual studies, compiling data from over half a million individuals age 60 and older.

Fishing impacts on the Great Barrier Reef

Wed, 22/04/2015 - 00:52


Predatory fish are extremely important for maintaining a balanced ecosystem on the Great Barrier Reef. New research shows that fishing is having a significant impact on the make-up of fish populations of the Great Barrier Reef.

Immune system protein regulates sensitivity to bitter taste

Wed, 22/04/2015 - 00:52

New research from the Monell Center reveals that tumor necrosis factor (TNF), an immune system regulatory protein that promotes inflammation, also helps regulate sensitivity to bitter taste. The finding may provide a mechanism to explain the taste system abnormalities and decreased food intake that can be associated with infections, autoimmune disorders, and chronic inflammatory diseases.

When genes are expressed in reverse: Discovered a regulatory mechanism of antisense DNA

Wed, 22/04/2015 - 00:52

Genes usually always be expressed as in Western writing: from left to right on the white canvas of our DNA. So when we speak of the activity of our genome, in fact we are referring to the expression of genes in this sense of the double-stranded DNA.

Why some neurons 'outsource' their cell body

Wed, 22/04/2015 - 00:52


Nerve cells have different shapes: while the cell body (red) is found in a central position in rats, it is located at the end of a cell prolongation in flies. Nerve cells come in very different shapes. Researchers at the Bernstein Center Berlin now reveal why, in insects, the cell body is usually located at the end of a separate extension. Using mathematical models, they show that this increases the strength of electrical signal transmission at no additional energetic cost.

Genetic road map may bring about better cotton crops

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58


Upland allotetraploid cotton (right) comes from two extant diploid species, closely related to today's G. raimondii (left) and G. arboreum (middle) or G. herbacieum. A University of Texas at Austin scientist, working with an international research team, has developed the most precise sequence map yet of U.S. cotton and will soon create an even more detailed map for navigating the complex cotton genome. The finding may help lead to an inexpensive version of American cotton that rivals the quality of luxurious Egyptian cotton and helps develop crops that use less water and fewer pesticides for a cotton that is easier on the skin and easier on the land.

Tumor genome sequencing shows the most frequently altered gene in bladder cancer: Telomerase reverse transcriptase

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58

In results presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015, a collaborative study by the University of Colorado Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that the TERT gene promoter was altered in 69 percent of 54 cases of bladder cancer due to variants that occur after birth (called "somatic") and in 56 percent of bladder cancers due to inherited variants (called "germline"). The study shows these TERT alterations frequently co-occur with alterations in recently identified bladder cancer genes such as the stromal antigen 2 (STAG2), and the lysine-specific demethylase 6A (KDM6A).

Vampire squid discovery shows how little we know of the deep sea

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58

Among soft-bodied cephalopods, vampire squid live life at a slower pace. At ocean depths from 500 to 3,000 meters, they don't swim so much as float, and they get by with little oxygen while consuming a low-calorie diet of zooplankton and detritus. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 20 have found that vampire squid differ from all other living coleoid cephalopods in their reproductive strategy as well.

New pathway reveals how immune system is regulated; gives hope for chronic diseases

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58

Researchers from the University of Birmingham have identified an important new way in which our immune systems are regulated, and hope that understanding it will help tackle the debilitating effects of type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other serious diseases.

Global pandemic of fake medicines poses urgent risk, scientists say

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58

Poor quality medicines are a real and urgent threat that could undermine decades of successful efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, according to the editors of a collection of journal articles published today. Scientists report up to 41 percent of specimens failed to meet quality standards in global studies of about 17,000 drug samples. Among the collection is an article describing the discovery of falsified and substandard malaria drugs that caused an estimated 122,350 deaths in African children in 2013. Other studies identified poor quality antibiotics, which may harm health and increase antimicrobial resistance. However, new methodologies are being developed to detect problem drugs at the point of purchase and show some promise, scientists say.

Discovery of gene that determines cocoa butter melting point to have far-reaching effects

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58


Cacao seeds after harvest. A mixture of lipids called cocoa butter makes up about half of each seed. The discovery of a gene involved in determining the melting point of cocoa butter -- a critical attribute of the substance widely used in foods and pharmaceuticals -- will likely lead to new and improved products, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Notre Dame researchers detecting low quality antimalarial drugs with a lab-on-paper

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58

Access to high-quality medicine is a basic human right, but over four billion people live in countries where many medications are substandard or fake. Marya Lieberman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and Abigail Weaver a postdoctoral associate in the University's Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Earth Sciences took up the challenge of how people in developing countries could detect low quality antimalarial drugs without expensive equipment and without handling dangerous chemicals.

Uranium isotopes carry the fingerprint of ancient bacterial activity

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58

The oceans and other water bodies contain billions of tons of dissolved uranium. Over the planet's history, some of this uranium was transformed into an insoluble form, causing it to precipitate and accumulate in sediments. There are two ways that uranium can go from a soluble to an insoluble form: either through the action of live organisms - bacteria - or by interacting chemically with certain minerals. Knowing which pathway was taken can provide valuable insight into the evolution and activity of microbial biology over Earth's history. Publishing in the journal PNAS, an international team of researchers led by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland describes a new method that uses the isotopic composition of uranium to distinguish between these alternative pathways.

Researchers produce first atlas of airborne microbes across United States

Tue, 21/04/2015 - 01:58

A University of Colorado Boulder and North Carolina State University-led team has produced the first atlas of airborne microbes across the continental U.S., a feat that has implications for better understanding health and disease in humans, animals and crops.

Investigational personalized cellular therapy tolerated well by patients

Mon, 20/04/2015 - 01:14

Genetically modified versions of patients' own immune cells successfully traveled to tumors they were designed to attack in an early-stage trial for mesothelioma and pancreatic and ovarian cancers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The data adds to a growing body of research showing the promise of CAR T cell technology. The interim results will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015, April 18-22.

Gene signatures predict doxorubicin response in K9 osteosarcoma

Mon, 20/04/2015 - 01:14

There are two chemotherapies commonly used to treat bone cancer in dogs: doxorubicin and carboplatin. Some dogs respond better to one drug than to the other. But until now, the choice has been left largely to chance. New work by University of Colorado Cancer Center members at Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015 demonstrates a gene expression model that predicts canine osteosarcoma response to doxorubicin, potentially allowing veterinary oncologists to better choose which drug to use with their patients. The approach is adopted from and further validates a model known as COXEN (CO-eXpression gEne aNalysis), developed at the CU Cancer Center by center director Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, which is currently in clinical trials to predict the response of human tumors to drugs.

Seeking new targets for ovarian cancer treatment

Mon, 20/04/2015 - 01:14

Identifying molecular changes that occur in tissue after chemotherapy could be crucial in advancing treatments for ovarian cancer, according to research from Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation (MWRIF) and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), partner with UPMC CancerCenter, presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015.

New subsets of lung cancer with KRAS gene mutations identified

Mon, 20/04/2015 - 01:14

Mutations of the KRAS gene are commonly known to lead to cancer. However, deeper understanding of exactly how they do this continues to be explored by cancer researchers.