Biology News

Syndicate content
Updated: 22 min 46 sec ago

Tracking DNA helps scientists trace origins of genetic errors

Tue, 27/01/2015 - 23:56

Scientists have shed light on how naturally occurring mutations can be introduced into our DNA.

Supercomputing the evolution of a model flower

Tue, 27/01/2015 - 23:56


Scientists took a computational approach using the Stampede and Lonestar supercomputers to compare lab data with reference genomes of over a thousand strains of Arabidopsis sampled throughout Europe and Asia. Scientists using supercomputers found genes sensitive to cold and drought in a plant help it survive climate change. These findings increase basic understanding of plant adaptation and can be applied to improve crops.

Brain's on-off thirst switch identified

Mon, 26/01/2015 - 23:41


This image of a mouse brain shows the two neurons, CAMKII (in red) that triggers thirst and VGAT (in green) that inhibit thirst. NEW YORK, NY (January 26, 2015)--Neurons that trigger our sense of thirst--and neurons that turn it off--have been identified by Columbia University Medical Center neuroscientists. The paper was published today in the online edition of Nature.

Scientists find gene vital to central nervous system development

Fri, 23/01/2015 - 00:19

Scientists have identified a gene that helps regulate how well nerves of the central nervous system are insulated, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report.

Genome-wide search reveals new genes involved in long-term memory

Fri, 23/01/2015 - 00:19


A study conducted in C. elegans worms (left) revealed genes involved in forming long-term memories. A new study has identified genes involved in long-term memory in the worm as part of research aimed at finding ways to retain cognitive abilities during aging.

Mapping the maize genome

Tue, 20/01/2015 - 22:56

Positional cloning is a genetic mapping technique used to pinpoint the location of specific traits of interest, such as disease-causing genes or mutations, within the genome. Very simply, this map-based technique involves crossing mutant individuals with wild-type individuals and examining the offspring in order to localize a candidate region in the genome for the mutation. By identifying genetic markers that are linked to the trait, progressively more precise areas on a chromosome are defined until the gene is identified.

Hidden cell types revealed

Tue, 20/01/2015 - 22:56


A new method helps scientists create a more accurate picture of gene expression in different cell types, and reveals hidden subtypes of cells. A new method for analysing RNA sequence data allows researchers to identify new subtypes of cells, creating order out of seeming chaos. Published in Nature Biotechnology, the novel technique developed by scientists at The European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) represents a major step forward for single-cell genomics.

Predatory sea snails produce weaponized insulin

Mon, 19/01/2015 - 21:49


The images show two species of cone snail, Conus geographus (left) and Conus tulipa (right) attempting to capture their fish prey. As they approach potential prey, the snails release a... As predators go, cone snails are slow-moving and lack the typical fighting parts. They've made up for it by producing a vast array of fast-acting toxins that target the nervous systems of prey. A new study reveals that some cone snails add a weaponized form of insulin to the venom cocktail they use to disable fish.

A new neural circuit controls fear in the brain

Mon, 19/01/2015 - 21:49


A team of researchers at CSHL has discovered a novel circuit in the mouse brain that controls fear. The red cells are neurons identified by a "trans-synaptic tracing technique" Some people have no fear, like that 17-year-old kid who drives like a maniac. But for the nearly 40 million adults who suffer from anxiety disorders, an overabundance of fear rules their lives. Debilitating anxiety prevents them from participating in life's most mundane moments, from driving a car to riding in an elevator. Today, a team of researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) describes a new pathway that controls fear memories and behavior in the mouse brain, offering mechanistic insight into how anxiety disorders may arise.

Out of the pouch: Ancient DNA from extinct giant roos

Thu, 15/01/2015 - 23:00


This is the skull of an extinct short-faced kangaroo (Simosthenurus occidentalis). Ancient DNA from these animals reveals they are a highly distinct evolutionary lineage. Scientists have finally managed to extract DNA from Australia's extinct giant kangaroos - the mysterious marsupial megafauna that roamed Australia over 40,000 years ago.

Eczema woes not just skin deep

Thu, 15/01/2015 - 23:00

Eczema wreaks havoc on its sufferers' lives with health problems that are more than skin deep. Adults who have eczema -- a chronic itchy skin disease that often starts in childhood -- have higher rates of smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and obesity and are less likely to exercise than adults who don't have the disease, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study.

Treating non-healing bone fractures with stem cells

Thu, 15/01/2015 - 23:00

A new device that can rapidly concentrate and extract young cells from irrigation fluid used during orthopaedic surgery holds promise for improving the delivery of stem cell therapy in cases of non-healing fractures. UC Davis surgeons plan to launch a "proof-of-concept" clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of the device in the coming months.

Jaw mechanics of a shell-crushing Jurassic fish revealed

Wed, 14/01/2015 - 22:32


This image shows a perfectly preserved example of the Lower Jurassic fish Dapedium from Lyme Regis, Dorset. Perfectly preserved specimens such as this allow us to calculate the biomechanical function... The feeding habits of an unusual 200-million-year-old fish have been uncovered by a University of Bristol undergraduate in a groundbreaking study which has been published in Palaeontology, a leading scientific journal, this week - a rare achievement for an undergraduate student.

Temporary tattoo offers needle-free way to monitor glucose levels

Wed, 14/01/2015 - 22:32


Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have tested a temporary tattoo that both extracts and measures the level of glucose in the fluid in between skin cells. Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have tested a temporary tattoo that both extracts and measures the level of glucose in the fluid in between skin cells. This first-ever example of the flexible, easy-to-wear device could be a promising step forward in noninvasive glucose testing for patients with diabetes.

Do viruses make us smarter?

Mon, 12/01/2015 - 20:47

A new study from Lund University in Sweden indicates that inherited viruses that are millions of years old play an important role in building up the complex networks that characterise the human brain.

23andMe announces collaboration with Pfizer Inc. to conduct genetic research

Mon, 12/01/2015 - 20:47

23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced an agreement with Pfizer Inc. that will provide Pfizer with access to 23andMe's research platform, including services and Research Portal analysis of 23andMe's genotyped population of over 800,000 individuals, of which more than 80 percent have consented to participate in research. 23andMe's Research Portal enables qualified and approved scientists outside of 23andMe the opportunity to leverage the company's unique research model while still protecting the privacy and security of 23andMe's customers. Researchers can now fully benefit from the largest dataset of its kind, running queries in minutes across more than 1,000 different diseases, conditions and traits. With this information researchers can identify new associations between genes and diseases and traits more quickly than ever before.

Hybrid 'super mosquito' resistant to insecticide-treated bed nets

Mon, 12/01/2015 - 20:47

Interbreeding of two malaria mosquito species in the West African country of Mali has resulted in a "super mosquito" hybrid that's resistant to insecticide-treated bed nets.

Going viral: Targeting brain cancer cells with a wound-healing drug

Sun, 11/01/2015 - 21:09


Glioblastoma is a notoriously difficult-to-treat brain cancer with an often poor prognosis. Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists are developing innovative cross-disciplinary therapies to treat the cancer. At the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, three scientists are planning to create a virus capable of destroying brain cancer.

Tumor-blocking role found for cell regulation molecule

Sun, 11/01/2015 - 21:09

In order to develop new anti-cancer treatments, researchers need to identify target molecules that are responsible for controlling tumour growth. Two such molecules are JNK and p38, which both regulate cell multiplication and cell death.

Novel breast cancer gene found

Sun, 11/01/2015 - 21:09

A new study identifies a gene that is especially active in aggressive subtypes of breast cancer. The research suggests that an overactive BCL11A gene drives triple-negative breast cancer development and progression.