September 26, 2013 |
Examining the molecular profiles of tumors from 12 different types of cancers, scientists working with the National Institutes of Health-backed Cancer Genome Atlas said Thursday they had found striking similarities between tumors originating in different organs. Their discoveries, made possible by improvements in sequencing technologies and computing methods, could herald a day when cancers are treated based on their genetic profiles, rather than on their tissue of origin, said UC Santa Cruz biomolecular engineer Josh Stuart , a participant in the project and coauthor of a commentary discussing its findings released Thursday by the journal Nature Genetics . Eventually, such a shift in thinking could lead researchers to new treatments for hard-to-treat cancers, Stuart said, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
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September 21, 2013 |
Three decades ago, when so many of his friends were dying of AIDS, Stephen Crohn wondered why he - a gay man whose longtime companion had been one of the first to die from the disease--had managed to avoid it. Was it just a matter of time before he caught the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS? Was there something wrong with the HIV antibody tests he took that always came back negative? Crohn, an artist and freelance editor, lived with the questions for 14 years before he finally learned the answer was in his genes.
August 21, 2013 |
A new statistical analysis suggests that alcohol dependence and binging and purging behaviors, all believed to be influenced by genetic factors, may actually be influenced by the same genes. Writing in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs , Washington University School of Medicine postdoctoral researcher Melissa Munn-Chernoff and colleagues reported that genetic risk factors that make people susceptible to alcoholism also appear to influence risk for binge eating in both men and women and for “compensatory behaviors” such as starvation, laxative use and self-induced vomiting in women.
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.
July 25, 2013 |
If you've spent any time in the dirt, you might have seen firsthand that earthworms and snails squirm through life just fine after losing their heads - they simply grow a new one. What is their secret for regenerating? One of the keys is to block a specific gene that makes head growth a one-time thing. Scientists discovered this in a series of experiments published Wednesday by the journal Nature. The trick worked so well that scientists surprised themselves by growing worms with heads on both ends.
July 16, 2013 |
Researchers have further unraveled how a version of a gene linked to obesity risk causes people to gain weight - it makes them more likely to feel hungry after a meal and to prefer high-calorie foods. Their study, published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that individuals who inherited the high-risk version of the FTO gene from both of their parents have higher levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin in their bloodstream, which leaves them hungry even after eating.
July 15, 2013 |
People living at some of the world's highest elevations seem to have evolved to cope with the thinner air, according to a new study. A team led by Rasmus Nielsen and Emilia Huerta-Sanchez of UC Berkeley have pinpointed a gene, BHLHE41, that appears responsible for high-altitude Ethiopians' ability to adapt to low-oxygen environments. Anyone who has climbed Half Dome or played baseball in Colorado knows that high elevation causes shortness of breath and other symptoms of “hypobaric hypoxia,” due to low pressure and oxygen.
July 11, 2013 |
Italian researchers have used a defanged version of HIV to replace faulty genes - and eliminate devastating symptoms - in children suffering two rare and fatal genetic diseases. Improved gene therapy techniques prevented the onset of metachromatic leukodystrophy in three young children and halted the progression of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome in three others. The advance represents a major stride for a field that has struggled to translate experimental successes in lab animals into safe and effective treatments for people, experts said.
July 3, 2013 |
The United Nations sent Nepalese peacekeeping troops to bring relief to Haiti after it was devastated by a 7.0 earthquake in 2010. A new study concludes the peacekeepers brought something else, as well -- cholera, triggering an epidemic that has sickened hundreds of thousands of Haitians and killed more than 8,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After sequencing the DNA of 23 samples of the cholera-causing bacterium from Haiti and comparing them to the DNA of strains found elsewhere, researchers said the outbreak could be traced to Nepal , where the disease is endemic.
June 30, 2013 |
Earlier this month, researchers and advocates from 40 countries formed a global alliance to enable the secure sharing of genomic and clinical data, aiming to end the era in which only the people who collected your genetic data had access to it. Efforts to collect and organize massive amounts of genetic data have up to now been led by the British government, Kaiser Permanente, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and by private companies....