March 20, 2013 |
Researchers at UCLA have genetically engineered tomatoes that, when fed to mice, mimic the beneficial qualities of good cholesterol, according to a new study. In a paper published Tuesday in the Journal of Lipid Research, authors used bacteria to insert genes into the cells of tomato plants, so that they would produce a peptide that mimics the actions of HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Later generations of those genetically engineered tomatoes were frozen, ground up and then fed to female mice who were themselves bred to be highly susceptible to LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.
March 7, 2013 |
The multifaceted James Franco will soon add another credit to his résumé: The actor-director-artist-poet is heading to the Great White Way. "We're going to do 'Of Mice and Men' on Broadway. I'm going to play George," the star of "Oz the Great and Powerful” revealed on "The Colbert Report.” This would be Franco's Broadway debut, though not for want of trying. The one-time Oscar host was slated to star opposite Nicole Kidman in a 2011 revival of “Sweet Bird of Youth,” although the production never materialized.
February 14, 2013 |
About 30,000 years ago, a tiny mutation arose in a gene known as EDAR and began to spread rapidly in central China, eventually becoming common in the region. This week, scientists at Harvard University offered some explanations for why the EDAR mutation may have been so successful - by observing how it affects mice, animals long used in disease research but never before pressed into service for the study of human evolution. The small change, substituting one chemical letter of DNA for another, may have helped humans in Asia survive crippling heat and humidity by endowing them with extra sweat glands, the scientists reported Thursday in the journal Cell.
February 13, 2013 |
Researchers at USC have made mice insensitive to near-freezing temperatures by deactivating select neurons, a development that could one day lead to new treatments for pain in humans. In a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers used a bacterial toxin to kill neurons equipped with so-called TRPM8 channels, cellular structures that help relay sensations of cold. (The pathway is also responsible for sensing menthol, the cooling component of mint.) Neurons that sense heat and mechanical pain were left intact, however.
January 18, 2013 |
Why are women more prone to autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis? A new study in mice points to a possible contributor: different types of bacteria that populate our guts. It goes like this: Different mixes of bacteria reside in the innards of male and female mice. Those bacteria, in turn, affect the chemistry of the animals' bodies -- and, it appears, their risk of autoimmunity. The study, just published in Science , was done by Janet Markle of the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, and colleagues. It's a little complicated, with players that include sex hormones, fatty chemicals, immune cells and a whole host of microscopic life forms.
January 15, 2013 |
Despite all the attempts to legislate America's way out of obesity with food regulations, a new study out of UC Irvine suggests that there could be more to fat than sloth and supersized sodas. Pregnant mice exposed to a chemical commonly used in PVC -- best known as the material used for piping but also a component in home furnishings, children's toys, packaging and lots of other everyday items -- gave birth to offspring with a tendency to obesity. And their offspring's offspring, which were never exposed to the chemical.