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Archive for the ‘genetics’ category: Page 5

Apr 5, 2019

Agriculture: Machine learning can reveal optimal growing conditions to maximize taste, other features

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food, genetics, information science, robotics/AI

What goes into making plants taste good? For scientists in MIT’s Media Lab, it takes a combination of botany, machine-learning algorithms, and some good old-fashioned chemistry.

Using all of the above, researchers in the Media Lab’s Open Agriculture Initiative report that they have created that are likely more delicious than any you have ever tasted. No is involved: The researchers used computer algorithms to determine the optimal growing conditions to maximize the concentration of flavorful molecules known as .

But that is just the beginning for the new field of “cyber agriculture,” says Caleb Harper, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Media Lab and director of the OpenAg group. His group is now working on enhancing the human disease-fighting properties of herbs, and they also hope to help growers adapt to changing climates by studying how crops grow under different conditions.

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Apr 5, 2019

An Interview with Yuri Deigin of Youthereum Genetics

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

At the Undoing Aging 2019 conference, we had the opportunity to interview Yuri Deigin, the CEO of Youthereum Genetics. His company is developing therapies that focus on OSKM, the Yamanaka factors known for turning cells back into a pluripotent state. By partially reprogramming cells using a single component of OSKM, Oct4, the company hopes to remove epigenetic aging from cells while still allowing them to retain their normal functions.

Do you think epigenetic alterations are a cause or a consequence of aging, and why?

Well, this question has so many different parts that need to be addressed. Of course, there are alterations that are consequences. Some of the epigenetics are consequences of aging, like epigenetic drift, with things that aren’t methylated in cells, as they divide throughout the lifetime, that methylation seems to get diluted away with subsequent divisions, but other parts of the genome, many of the epigenetic changes that happen that we can track throughout the aging of an organism are definitely not consequences of aging; they’re actually, from what I understand, causes of aging or causes in the change of metabolism and change of homeostasis, change how the organism behaves, essentially, that are driven by some high program in animal development, that basically silences some genes and activates other genes.

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Apr 5, 2019

Evolutionary changes played a crucial role in industrialization, study finds

Posted by in categories: economics, evolution, genetics

Galor says the study results, published on Monday, April 1, in Nature Ecology & Evolution, lend credence to what he and a colleague had surmised in a highly influential 2002 paper — that during the pre-industrial era, the natural selection of those who were genetically predisposed toward having fewer children was instrumental in spurring industrialization and sustained economic growth.


In a study of 200 years of pre-industrial Quebecois genealogical history, researchers at Brown found that fertility-related changes in natural selection during the pre-industrial era paved the way for economic and technological progress.

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Apr 4, 2019

Freaky Eight-Letter DNA Could Be the Stuff Aliens Are Made Of

Posted by in categories: alien life, evolution, genetics

Conventional DNA is comprised of the familiar A, C, G, and T base pairs, but a newly created genetic system is packed with eight, thus doubling the number of letters normally found in self-replicating molecules. Intriguingly, the new system, dubbed “hachimoji,” could resemble the building blocks of extraterrestrial life.

New research published yesterday in Science describes the hachimoji, which means “eight letters” in Japanese. In addition to the conventional four base pairs, this genetic system has an extra four building blocks, dramatically increasingly the information density compared to regular DNA. The scientists behind the work, led by Steven Benner from the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Alachua, Florida, said the new system may be robust enough to support life, that is, to support the processes required for Darwinian self-replication.

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Apr 4, 2019

Mushrooms Are A Highly Evolved Extraterrestrial Species — Organic Internet [VIDEO]

Posted by in categories: alien life, genetics, internet, life extension, robotics/AI

It is a crazy thought, right?! To think that mushrooms could be alien life. But before you dismiss the idea, take a look at some of principles of the theory. The main concept was formulated by the ingenious psychonaut philosopher Terrence McKenna, and goes along following lines.

Like no other form of life on our planet, the spores of mushrooms are almost perfectly suited to space travel. They can survive high vacuum and insanely low temperatures; the casing of a spore is one of the most electron dense materials in nature, to the point where McKenna says it is almost akin to a metal; global currents are even able to form on the quasi-metallic surface of an airborne spore, which then acts as a repellent to the extreme radiation of space. It is a mind boggling thought that something could evolve to be so perfectly suited to explore the universe.

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Apr 4, 2019

An Interview with Prof. Vittorio Sebastiano of Turn.Bio

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

We recently attended the Undoing Aging Conference in Berlin and had the opportunity to interview Professor Vittorio Sebastiano of Turn. Bio, a company developing partial cellular reprogramming techniques to reverse cellular aging.

As we age, our cells experience changes to their epigenetic markers, and this, in turn, changes gene expression, which is proposed to be a primary reason we age. Recently, there has been considerable interest in resetting these epigenetic markers to reverse cellular aging; induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) creation uses similar techniques.

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Apr 3, 2019

Yale-NUS researchers discover drug cocktail that increases lifespan

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Could deafness be reversed? Scientists re-grow damaged hair cells that have been killed off by age or noise inside the ear…


Researchers from the University of Rochester found that viruses, genetics and even existing drugs could cause little hairs to regrow in the inner ear. These hairs pick up on noises entering the ear.

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Apr 3, 2019

Chinese, US researchers create monkeys with human-like brain development

Posted by in categories: genetics, neuroscience

A group of monkeys were found to have “human-like” brain development, including faster reactions and better memories, after a joint Sino-American team of researchers spliced a human gene into their genetic makeup.

Researchers from the Kunming Institute of Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and the University of North Carolina in the United States modified the genes of 11 monkeys (eight first-generation and three second-generation) with the addition of copies of the human gene MCPH1.

Microcephalin (MCPH1) is a key factor in our brain development and, in particular, eventual brain size. Mutations in the gene can lead to the developmental disorder microcephaly, which is characterized by a tiny brain.

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Apr 3, 2019

By Far the Strangest Scientific Discovery of 2018: Your Memories Are a Viral Infection

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

Agree or Disagree?


According to two papers published in Cell on January 11, 2018, the making of memories and the processes of learning resemble, of all things, a viral infection. It works like this: The shells that transport information between neurons are assembled by a gene called Arc. Experiments conducted by two research teams revealed that the Arc protein that forms a shell, functions much like a Gag, a gene that transports a virus’s genetic material between cells during an infection. For example, the retrovirus HIV uses a Gag in exactly this manner.

Scientific American:

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Apr 3, 2019

Nature versus nurture: Environment exerts greater influence on corn health than genetics

Posted by in categories: biological, food, genetics, health, sustainability

Oops, duh, Eureka… shouted Archimedes… Or something.


Corn leaves are teaming with bacteria communities (the leaf “microbiome”) that influence plant health and performance, and scientists are still figuring out how. A team of scientists led by Dr. Jason Wallace recently published a study in the open access Phytobiomes Journal that advances what we know about these bacterial communities by investigating their relationships with corn genetics. According to Dr. Wallace, “the end-goal of all this research is to understand how crops interact with their microbial communities so we can harness them to make agriculture more productive and sustainable.”

In one of the largest and most diverse leaf microbe studies to date, the team monitored the active bacteria on the leaves of 300 diverse lines of corn growing in a common environment. They were especially interested to see how corn genes affected bacteria and found there was little relationship between the two — in fact, the bacteria were much more affected by the environment, although genetics still had a small role.

This is an interesting discovery that “breeding probably isn’t the best way to address this,” Dr. Wallace says. Instead, “the leaf community is probably better changed through farmer management.” That is, farmers should be able to change growing practices to enhance their current crops rather than seek out new plant varieties.

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