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Archive for the ‘genetics’ category: Page 6

Oct 3, 2020

The Road to Human 2.0

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, computing, genetics, life extension, nanotechnology, neuroscience, transhumanism

In the coming 2020s, the world of medical science will make some significant breakthroughs. Through brain implants, we will have the capability to restore lost memories.

~ The 2020s will provide us with the computer power to make the first complete human brain simulation. Exponential growth in computation and data will make it possible to form accurate models of every part of the human brain and its 100 billion neurons.

~ The prototype of the human heart was 3D printed in 2019. By the mid- 2020s, customized 3D- printing of major human body organs will become possible. In the coming decades, more and more of the 78 organs in the human body will become printable.

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Oct 2, 2020

Researchers discover a rare genetic form of dementia

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

A new, rare genetic form of dementia has been discovered by a team of Penn Medicine researchers. This discovery also sheds light on a new pathway that leads to protein build up in the brain—which causes this newly discovered disease, as well as related neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease—that could be targeted for new therapies. The study was published today in Science.

Alzheimer’s (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a buildup of proteins, called , in certain parts of the brain. Following an examination of human brain tissue samples from a deceased donor with an unknown neurodegenerative disease, researchers discovered a novel mutation in the Valosin-containing protein (VCP) gene in the brain, a buildup of tau proteins in areas that were degenerating, and neurons with empty holes in them, called vacuoles. The team named the newly discovered disease Vacuolar Tauopathy (VT)—a neurodegenerative disease now characterized by the accumulation of neuronal vacuoles and tau protein aggregates.

“Within a cell, you have proteins coming together, and you need a process to also be able to pull them apart, because otherwise everything kind of gets gummed up and doesn’t work. VCP is often involved in those cases where it finds proteins in an aggregate and pulls them apart,” Edward Lee, MD, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “We think that the mutation impairs the proteins’ normal ability to break aggregates apart.”

Oct 2, 2020

Surprising Brain Area Linked to Short-Term Memory

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

Researchers at Rockefeller University have just released findings from a new study, done in mice, which identifies a gene that is critical for short-term memory but functions in a part of the brain not traditionally associated with memory. Classical models for short-term memory typically assume that all neuronal activity is contained within the prefrontal cortex (PFC), yet, data from this new study suggests that a G-protein coupled receptor in the thalamus may play a large role. Data from the study was published recently in Cell through an article titled “A Thalamic Orphan Receptor Drives Variability in Short Term Memory.”

Interestingly, in order to discover new genes and brain circuits that are important for short-term memory, the researchers turned to studying genetically diverse mice, rather than inbred mice commonly used in research.

“We needed a population that is diverse enough to be able to answer the question of what genetic differences might account for variation in short-term memory,” explained co-senior study investigator Praveen Sethupathy, PhD, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Cornell Center for Vertebrate Genomics.

Oct 2, 2020

Neanderthal genes may be to blame in some severe coronavirus cases

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Genes inherited from Neanderthal ancestors may be involved in some cases of severe Covid-19 disease, researchers in Germany reported Wednesday.

A team of experts on Neanderthal genetics examined a strand of DNA that has been associated with some of the more serious cases of Covid-19 and compared it to sequences known to have been passed down to living Europeans and Asians from Neanderthal ancestors.

The DNA strand is found on chromosome 3, and a team of researchers in Europe has linked certain variations in this sequence with the risk of being more severely ill with Covid-19.

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Sep 30, 2020

Large Genetic Analysis Newly Links 5 Genes to Sporadic ALS

Posted by in category: genetics

A combined analysis using people of Japanese, Chinese, and European ancestry identified five new genes associated with the non-familial, sporadic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

These findings further an understanding of the genetic basis of sporadic ALS, and may support the development of new therapies.

Sep 29, 2020

Genetic risk of developing obesity is driven by variants that affect the brain

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

Some people are at higher risk of developing obesity because they possess genetic variants that affect how the brain processes sensory information and regulates feeding and behavior. The findings from scientists at the University of Copenhagen support a growing body of evidence that obesity is a disease whose roots are in the brain.

Over the past decade, scientists have identified hundreds of different genetic variants that increase a person’s risk of developing obesity. But a lot of work remains to understand how these variants translate into obesity. Now scientists at the University of Copenhagen have identified populations of cells in the that play a role in the development of the disease—and they are all in the brain.

“Our results provide evidence that outside the traditional organs investigated in obesity research, such as , play a key role in human obesity,” says Associate Professor Tune H Pers from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR), at the University of Copenhagen, who published his team’s findings in the internationally-recognized journal eLife.

Sep 29, 2020

New Genetic Systems Created by Biologists to Neutralize Gene Drives

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

Two active genetics strategies help address concerns about gene-drive releases into the wild.

In the past decade, researchers have engineered an array of new tools that control the balance of genetic inheritance. Based on CRISPR technology, such gene drives are poised to move from the laboratory into the wild where they are being engineered to suppress devastating diseases such as mosquito-borne malaria, dengue, Zika, chikungunya, yellow fever and West Nile. Gene drives carry the power to immunize mosquitoes against malarial parasites, or act as genetic insecticides that reduce mosquito populations.

Although the newest gene drives have been proven to spread efficiently as designed in laboratory settings, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of releasing such systems into wild populations. Questions have emerged about the predictability and controllability of gene drives and whether, once let loose, they can be recalled in the field if they spread beyond their intended application region.

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Sep 29, 2020

Researchers extract DNA from insects embedded in resin

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

For the first time, Senckenberg scientist Mónica Solórzano-Kraemer, together with lead authors David Peris and Kathrin Janssen of the University of Bonn and additional colleagues from Spain and Norway, successfully extracted genetic material from insects that were embedded in six- and two-year-old resin samples. DNA—in particular, DNA from extinct animals—is an important tool in the identification of species. In the future, the researchers plan to use their new methods on older resin inclusions, as well. The study was published today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The idea of extracting DNA from resin-embedded organisms inevitably invokes memories of the blockbuster “Jurassic Park.”

“However, we have no intention of raising dinosaurs,” says Dr. Mónica Solórzano-Kraemer of the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum. “Rather, our current study is a structured attempt to determine how long the DNA of insects enclosed in resinous materials can be preserved.”

Sep 29, 2020

Understanding the effect of aging on the genome

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

Not too much here, but longevity research fans might like.


Time may be our worst enemy, and aging its most powerful weapon. Our hair turns gray, our strength wanes, and a slew of age-related diseases represent what is happening at the cellular and molecular levels. Aging affects all the cells in our body’s different tissues, and understanding its impact would be of great value in fighting this eternal enemy of all ephemeral life forms.

The key is to first observe and measure. In a paper published in Cell Reports, scientists led by Johan Auwerx at EPFL started by asking a simple question: how do the tissues of aging mice differ from those of mice that are mere adults?

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Sep 29, 2020

Discovery enables adult skin to regenerate like a newborn’s

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

A newly identified genetic factor allows adult skin to repair itself like the skin of a newborn babe. The discovery by Washington State University researchers has implications for better skin wound treatment as well as preventing some of the aging process in skin.

In a study, published in the journal eLife on Sept. 29, the researchers identified a factor that acts like a molecular switch in the of baby mice that controls the formation of hair follicles as they develop during the first week of life. The switch is mostly turned off after skin forms and remains off in adult tissue. When it was activated in specialized cells in adult mice, their skin was able to heal wounds without scarring. The reformed skin even included fur and could make goose bumps, an ability that is lost in adult human scars.

“We were able to take the innate ability of young, neonatal skin to regenerate and transfer that ability to old skin,” said Driskell, an assistant professor in WSU’s School of Molecular Biosciences. “We have shown in principle that this kind of regeneration is possible.”

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