July 26, 2013 |
Half zebra and half donkey, the fuzzy little zonkey named Ippo was born one week ago on an animal reserve near Florence, Italy. The zonkey is not the brainchild of some deranged Dr. Moreau-like figure trying to put two animals of a different species together, but rather is the product of good old-fashioned natural lust. In an interview with the Italian news channel RTV38 (which you can see above), a member of the family that owns the reserve described a romantic love affair between a female donkey and a male zebra that was adopted after it was confiscated from a failing zoo. The zebra probably jumped the metal fence that separated the two animals to mate with the neighboring donkey.
October 24, 2012 |
Scientists have demonstrated a new type of gene therapy that would - in principle - allow mothers to avoid saddling their children with rare diseases that could result in heart problems, dementia, diabetes, deafness and other significant health issues. The disorders in question are all due to mutations in one of the 37 genes in our mitochondrial DNA. “Mitochondria are structures within cells that convert the energy from food into a form that cells can use,” according to this explainer from the NIH's National Library of Medicine.
July 6, 2012 |
Scientists can now sequence the entire genome of a fetus from samples of a pregnant woman's blood, several recent studies have shown. It will come as no surprise that bioethicists are plenty interested in these developments and the benefits and thorny issues they will raise. The technology -- and the issues -- are discussed at length in a commentary this week in the journal Nature Medicine by Diana Bianchi of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center. Because a pregnant woman's blood carries pieces of fetal DNA, researchers can devise tests to tell with a high degree of certainty whether the fetus carries extra chromosomes (as an extra chromosome 21 in Down syndrome, for example)
February 3, 2011 |
Women may soon be able to find out very early in their pregnancies whether they are carrying a fetus with Down syndrome by offering a simple blood sample. The safe, noninvasive test would pose fewer risks to the mother and fetus than amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), the two tests currently used for prenatal diagnosis. It would also give women more time to decide what to do if a diagnosis of Down syndrome is made. Researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have been working on the DNA-based test for a decade.
November 8, 2010 |
The evidence for bisphenol A's negative health effects keeps piling up. In a study released Monday in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the Harvard Medical School reported that the chemical interferes with reproduction in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans . Scientists had already shown that bisphenol A, which is used in many plastics and in the linings of food cans , is associated with...
March 2, 2009 |
Wrinkles may betray our age externally, but our cells divulge their age -- and chronicle life's toll -- at the tips of our chromosomes. These tips, called telomeres, may also foretell our risk of early death. Telomeres are the protective caps made of repetitive chunks of DNA that keep the rest of the gene-laden chromosome from disastrously unraveling. But they lose bits of themselves with each cell division, so over a lifetime, like a counter, telomeres shorten.