April 4, 2011 |
Alzheimer’s, the brain disease that saps away not just memories but, gradually, identity, is now a little less mysterious. In two large studies of more than 54,000 people, scientists have found five new genes linked to the disease. Think of the genes as clues to the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s. Those causes are still unknown, but scientists have long suspected they involve tangled strands of protein and protein plaque in the brain. Some of the most recently discovered genes add evidence that cholesterol plays a role in the disease, others that inflammation of the brain is an important player.
November 28, 2012 |
A new genetic test may help determine whether a small tumor in the breast is likely to turn in to full-blown breast cancer, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The small tumor, called a ductal carcinoma in-situ, or DCIS, resides in the milk ducts and is generally considered pre-cancerous. But according to the study, DCIS lesions left untreated will eventually progress to breast cancer in about 50% of patients. The lesions, which tend to be small and only detectable via mammogram, have become increasingly common as mammography has become more widespread.
August 16, 2013 |
What makes a female turkey swoon? The secret isn't better genes, but better use of them, according to a new study. In most cases, the more masculine a male's physical traits, the more attractive he is to females. But why are some males more masculine than others, even when they're brothers with similar DNA? Could the answer have to do with epigenetics: how genes are expressed -- turned on or turned off -- in different individuals? Researchers at Oxford University and University College London turned to wild turkeys to answer the question, because the males come in two types.
June 13, 2013 |
The U.S. Supreme Court decision that Myriad Genetics cannot patent two genes linked to ovarian and breast cancer came as welcome relief to researchers whose work on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes had been thwarted by legal challenges from the company. But while researchers and clinicians no longer will receive cease-and-desist orders from Myriad, they will have to labor for years to catch up with the data and analysis the Utah-based company has been able to accumulate during the 17 years it held a U.S. monopoly on analyzing the genes, said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla.
January 21, 2014 |
Fish don't have fingers, but they could. That conclusion, drawn by a team of researchers in Switzerland, casts new light on the evolution of four-legged land vertebrates, suggesting that a flick of a switch could have repurposed the bony radials of fins to become the fingers and toes of land-based animals. The DNA programming architecture necessary to create such digits was present in the ancient genome of fish, before the emergence of amphibians, according to the researchers, who published their findings Tuesday in the online journal PLOS Biology.
October 19, 2011 |
In a one-on-one interview Tuesday, ABC's Jake Tapper confronted President Obama about his administration's stalled jobs bill, his reelection chances and the simmering "Fast and Furious" scandal. Oh, and his gray hair. "When you get haircuts, it goes away," Tapper said during some casual banter before launching into meatier topics. "Exactly," Obama said. "That's why people think, somehow, that [I'm] dying my hair. It depends on where the lights are hitting it. " "I don't know if it [is]
September 6, 2011 |
Ten years after terrorists hijacked four American jetliners and killed nearly 3,000 people, there's growing evidence that people with a previous history of depression, or who have been traumatized before, are far more vulnerable to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those without such histories. A new study suggests why, and supplies yet more evidence that genes play a powerful role in influencing who develops post-traumatic stress disorder after a traumatic event and who doesn't.
April 9, 2013 |
One complaint leveled against genome studies is that they don't survey a broad enough swath of humankind. Though many projects have searched DNA collected from people of European descent -- hoping to ferret out which changes in what parts of the genome are linked to this disease or that -- fewer have investigated the genomes of other ethnic groups. In 2011, Stanford University geneticist and MacArthur "genius" grant recipient Carlos Bustamante discussed...
February 11, 2010 |
Government researchers have discovered the first genes linked to stuttering -- a complex of three mutated genes that may be responsible for one in every 11 stuttering cases, especially in people of Asian descent. Studies of stuttering in both families and twins had long suggested that stuttering has a significant genetic component. But until now, scientists had not been able to identify specific genes that might cause the disorder. The finding is important, experts said, because it shows that stuttering, which affects as many as 1% of all adults worldwide, is biological in origin and not the result of poor parenting, emotional distress or other nebulous factors that many physicians have cited as causes.
April 29, 2011 |
Malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquito bites, has resisted insecticides, mosquito netting and other eradication efforts. Recently, a team of scientists from Imperial College London and the University of Washington in Seattle reported on a genetic approach. Mosquitoes were inserted with a fungus gene that can attack specific mosquito genes — making it possible, for example, to destroy genes that allow the malaria parasite to reach humans' bloodstreams. Andrea Crisanti, the paper's senior author and a molecular biologist at Imperial College London, talked about the work, which was recently published in the journal Nature.