Archive for the ‘genetics’ category: Page 2

Jun 18, 2019

Google backs a bid to use CRISPR to prevent heart disease

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing, food, genetics, health

Ever wonder why some fortunate people eat chips, don’t exercise, and still don’t get clogged arteries? It could be because they’ve got lucky genes.

Now Alphabet (Google’s parent company) is bankrolling a startup company that plans to use gene editing to spread fortunate DNA variations with “one-time” injections of the gene-editing tool CRISPR.

Heart doctors involved say the DNA-tweaking injections could “confer lifelong protection” against heart disease.

Jun 18, 2019

Tardigrade DNA inserted into human cells gives them X-ray resistance

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

This is where it gets a little weird.

When the team treated human cells in culture with extract of tardigrade, the GFP-tagged proteins stuck to human DNA just like they stick to tardigrade DNA, and cheerfully started doing what they do best: tamping down oxidative stress. When X-rays hit human cells, they do two kinds of damage. X-rays can cause direct DNA strand breaks, which are mostly single-strand. When they strike water molecules, they can also excite them into producing reactive oxygen species, which also cause single-strand breaks. High enough doses of X-rays can cause double-strand breaks. The damage-suppressing protein Dsup went immediately to work on the culture of human cells, suppressing or repairing single-strand and double-strand breaks by about 40%.

Clearly this means we can consume water bears to gain their powers. The study authors remark that the gene portfolio of the tardigrade represents “a treasury of genes” to improve or augment stress tolerance in other cells. Plug-and-play genetics, anyone?

Jun 18, 2019

Interview with Prof. Morgan Levine

Posted by in categories: biological, genetics, life extension

Tam Hunt interviews Prof. Morgan Levine about her work with epigenetics and aging.

One of the biggest breakthroughs in biology in the last few decades has been the discovery of epigenetics. Rather than changing the genes themselves, epigenetics change how genes are expressed, allowing our cells to differentiate between their various types.

However, the epigenetics of our cells change over time. There is some debate over how much epigenetic alterations are a cause or a consequence of other age-related damage, but they are one of the primary hallmarks of aging.

Continue reading “Interview with Prof. Morgan Levine” »

Jun 18, 2019

Dark centers of chromosomes reveal ancient DNA

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

Geneticists exploring the dark heart of the human genome have discovered big chunks of Neanderthal and other ancient DNA. The results open new ways to study both how chromosomes behave during cell division and how they have changed during human evolution.

Centromeres sit in the middle of chromosomes, the pinched-in “waist” in the image of a chromosome from a biology textbook. The centromere anchors the fibers that pull chromosomes apart when cells divide, which means they are really important for understanding what happens when goes wrong, leading to cancer or genetic defects.

But the DNA of centromeres contains lots of repeating sequences, and scientists have been unable to properly map this region.

Jun 18, 2019

Can probiotics and other factors be used reliably to benefit health?

Posted by in categories: food, genetics, health

Steven Finkel tells the story of a close family member who had a discomforting health issue—the kind you don’t discuss at the dinner table.

“She went and chose a bunch of yogurts with active culture,” he says. The first yogurt—call it Yogurt A—made her constipated, and Yogurt B gave her diarrhea. “It’s like Goldilocks,” he adds, before concluding her tale of woe with a happy ending: “Yogurt C made her feel great.”

Hoping to understand how three versions of one food could cause such dissimilar reactions, the relative contacted Finkel, who is professor of biological sciences at USC Dornsife and an expert on bacterial physiology, genetics and evolution.

Jun 17, 2019

Do-it-yourself CRISPR genome editing kits bring genetic engineering to your kitchen bench

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food, genetics, habitats

CRISPR genome editing is one of the most significant, world-changing technologies of our era, allowing scientists to make incredibly precise cut n’ paste edits to the DNA of living organisms. Now, one synthetic biologist from NASA plans to make it as accessible as a home science kit, so you can bio-hack yeast and bacteria on your kitchen bench.

Jun 17, 2019

Harvard Scientist Reveals List Of Genes And Their Corresponding Superhuman Abilities

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

George Church is a Harvard scientist that is famed for his plan to bring the woolly mammoth back to life. This genius scientist has also been involved in another project and has been assembling a list of genetic mutations and alterations that could give people longer lives and superhuman powers. We could be on the brink of real-life superheroes!

While some people may think this is just a passing thought, it really isn’t. In fact, Church has even created a spreadsheet which lists the known pros and cons of each gene and what “superpower” they would give. One example would be a specific mutation to the LRP5 gene, which would give the patient extra-strong bones. However, such a power would also decrease buoyancy in water. Other weird and wonderful changes could offer patients resistance to radiation or incredible skills at holding their breath underwater.

Jun 17, 2019

A genetic mutation could help us understand how to stop pain

Posted by in category: genetics

People like Jo Cameron, who can’t feel any pain, could help us find the on-off switch for suffering.

Jun 16, 2019

GSK partners with CRISPR pioneer Doudna to find new drugs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, robotics/AI

GSK forms CRISPR alliance with UC Berkeley and UCSF to create functional genomics insitute. The main one, technologywise, is this about using CRISPR as a gene function screen. One can do a gazillion experiments at once, fleshing out connections, sketching the biology, finding drug targets. http://bit.do/eU942

S AN FRANCISCO — The drug maker GlaxoSmithKline announced Thursday that it would team up with some of the nation’s most prominent CRISPR researchers to use the gene-editing technology in a search for new medicines, establishing a new lab in San Francisco and spending up to $67 million over five years.

Jennifer Doudna, the University of California, Berkeley, researcher who co-invented the CRISPR enzyme technology, will help lead the effort, along with Jonathan Weissman, a UC San Francisco researcher who has been using CRISPR to understand the function of individual human genes and how they work together. Both are Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators.

Continue reading “GSK partners with CRISPR pioneer Doudna to find new drugs” »

Jun 16, 2019

CRISPR used to build dual-core computers inside human cells

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, computing, genetics

The CRISPR gene-editing system is usually known for helping scientists treat genetic diseases, but the technology has a whole range of possible uses in synthetic biology too. Now researchers at ETH Zurich have used CRISPR to build functional biocomputers inside human cells.

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