Biology News

Syndicate content
Updated: 51 weeks 3 days ago

First computer program developed to detect DNA mutations in single cancer cells

Tue, 19/04/2016 - 00:13

Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have announced a new method for detecting DNA mutations in a single cancer cell versus current technology that analyzes millions of cells which they believe could have important applications for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The results are published in the April 18 online issue of Nature Methods.

Reader of epigenetic marks could be 'game changer' for certain cancers

Tue, 19/04/2016 - 00:13

If genes form the body's blueprint, then the layer of epigenetics decides which parts of the plan get built. Unfortunately, many cancers hijack epigenetics to modulate the expression of genes, thus promoting cancer growth and survival. A team of researchers led by Tatiana Kutateladze, PhD, University of Colorado Cancer Center investigator and professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Brian Strahl, PhD, professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, published a breakthrough report in the journal Nature Chemical Biology describing the essential role of YEATS domain proteins in reading epigenetic marks that regulate gene expression, DNA damage response, and other vital DNA-dependent cellular processes. This newly discovered player in epigenetic regulation is closely related to known cancer promoters, including the bromodomain proteins, a handful of which are targeted in current human clinical trials.

The genetic evolution of Zika virus

Sat, 16/04/2016 - 00:56


This is a phylogenetic tree constructed from nucleotide data from 41 viral complete ORF sequences of ZIKV strains An analysis comparing the individual differences between over 40 strains of Zika virus (30 isolated from humans, 10 from mosquitoes, and 1 from monkeys) has identified significant changes in both amino acid and nucleotide sequences during the past half-century. The data, published April 15 in Cell Host & Microbe, support a strong divergence between the Asian and African lineages as well as human and mosquito isolates of the virus, and will likely be helpful as researchers flush out how a relatively unknown pathogen led to the current outbreak.

Too much 'noise' can affect brain development

Sat, 16/04/2016 - 00:56

Using cutting-edge imaging technology, University of California, Irvine biologists have determined that uncontrolled fluctuations (known at "noise) in the concentration of the vitamin A derivative Retinoic acid (RA) can lead to disruptions in brain organization during development.

New scientific evidence of sexual transmission of the Zika virus

Sat, 16/04/2016 - 00:56

A study by researchers from Inserm, the Paris Public Hospitals (Bichat Hospital, AP-HP), Aix-Marseille University, and the National Reference Centre for Arboviruses confirms that the ZIKA virus can be transmitted sexually. Their analyses have shown 100% genetic correlation between the form of the virus present in a man who contracted the virus in Brazil and that of a woman who had never travelled in the epidemic area, but who had sexual relations with him. These results are published in The New England Journal of medicine.

How the ant queen gets her crown: Uncovering the evolution of queen-worker differences

Tue, 12/04/2016 - 22:22


Queen and worker ants develop from the same sets of genes, but end up being structurally, behaviourally, and functionally different. Queen and worker ants develop from the same sets of genes, but perform completely different ecological roles. How the same genes result in two types of individuals is an ongoing mystery. In the past, scientists have only studied a small number of ant species at a time to try to understand the nature of queen-worker differences. However, a team from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in tandem with the University of Helsinki and other collaborators from around the world, recently looked at a large data set with 16 species that provides insight into the differences between queen and worker ants.

Antibiotic resistance genes increasing

Tue, 12/04/2016 - 22:22


Antibiotic genes are increasing and are just a plane ride away. Around the world, antibiotic use and resistance is increasing while the discovery of new antibiotics has nearly halted.

Tropical birds develop 'superfast' wing muscles for mating, not flying

Tue, 12/04/2016 - 22:22

Studies in a group of tropical birds have revealed one of the fastest limb muscles on record for any animal with a backbone. The muscle, which can move the wing at more than twice the speeds required for flying, has evolved in association with extravagant courtship displays that involve rapid limb movements, according to a paper to be published in the journal eLife.

How the brain produces consciousness in 'time slices'

Tue, 12/04/2016 - 22:21

EPFL scientists propose a new way of understanding of how the brain processes unconscious information into our consciousness. According to the model, consciousness arises only in time intervals of up to 400 milliseconds, with gaps of unconsciousness in between.

Research reveals trend in bird-shape evolution on islands

Tue, 12/04/2016 - 22:21


Found throughout the Caribbean, the bananaquit has smaller flight muscles and longer legs on islands with fewer predators. In groundbreaking new work, Natalie Wright, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montana, has discovered a predictable trend in the evolution of bird shape.

Wealth of unsuspected new microbes expands tree of life

Tue, 12/04/2016 - 00:54


This is a new and expanded view of the tree of life. The tree of life, which depicts how life has evolved and diversified on the planet, is getting a lot more complicated.

Handwashing gets skipped a third of the time in outpatient healthcare

Tue, 12/04/2016 - 00:54

Despite having policies in place to prevent infections, staff at outpatient care facilities fail to follow recommendations for hand hygiene 37 percent of the time, and for safe injection practices 33 percent of the time, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

UW team stores digital images in DNA -- and retrieves them perfectly

Fri, 08/04/2016 - 01:05


All the movies, images, emails and other digital data from more than 600 basic smartphones (10,000 gigabytes) can be stored in this faint pink smear of DNA. Technology companies routinely build sprawling data centers to store all the baby pictures, financial transactions, funny cat videos and email messages its users hoard.

Function of mysterious RNAs may often lie in their genes

Fri, 08/04/2016 - 01:05


Scientists from Penn Medicine and other institutions unlock a mystery about 'long non-coding RNAs'. A new genetic clue discovered by a team co-led by a researcher at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is shedding light on the functions of the mysterious "long non-coding RNAs" (lncRNAs). These molecules are transcribed from genes and are often abundant in cells, yet they do not code for proteins. Their functions have been almost entirely unknown--and in recent years have attracted much research and debate.

Primate evolution in the fast lane

Fri, 08/04/2016 - 01:05

The pace of evolution is typically measured in millions of years, as random, individual mutations accumulate over generations, but researchers at Cornell and Bar-Ilan Universities have uncovered a new mechanism for mutation in primates that is rapid, coordinated, and aggressive. The discovery raises questions about the accuracy of using the more typical mutation process as an estimate to date when two species diverged, as well as the extent to which this and related enzymes played a role in primate evolution.

'Honeycomb' of nanotubes could boost genetic engineering

Wed, 06/04/2016 - 23:44

Researchers have developed a new and highly efficient method for gene transfer. The technique, which involves culturing and transfecting cells with genetic material on an array of carbon nanotubes, appears to overcome the limitations of other gene editing technologies.

Researchers use single molecule of DNA to create world's smallest diode

Tue, 05/04/2016 - 01:41


The University of Georgia and Ben-Gurion University research team site-specifically inserted a small molecule named coralyne into the DNA and were able to create a single-molecule diode Researchers at the University of Georgia and at Ben-Gurion University in Israel have demonstrated for the first time that nanoscale electronic components can be made from single DNA molecules. Their study, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, represents a promising advance in the search for a replacement for the silicon chip.

Stem cell therapy improves outcomes in severe heart failure

Tue, 05/04/2016 - 01:41

A new stem cell therapy significantly improved long-term health outcomes in patients with severe and end-stage heart failure in a study presented at the American College of Cardiology's 65th Annual Scientific Session.

West Coast scientists sound alarm for changing ocean chemistry

Tue, 05/04/2016 - 01:41


This is an oyster at Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Netarts Bay, Oregon. The ocean chemistry along the West Coast of North America is changing rapidly because of global carbon dioxide emissions, and the governments of Oregon, California, Washington and British Columbia can take actions now to offset and mitigate the effects of these changes.

Griffith uses 3-D tissue engineering to revolutionize dental disease

Thu, 31/03/2016 - 00:05


Professor Saso Ivanovski. The discomfort and stigma of loose or missing teeth could be a thing of the past as Griffith University researchers pioneer the use of 3D bioprinting to replace missing teeth and bone.