In a curious evolutionary twist, biologists from the University of Buffalo report, several species of a commonly studied fruit fly appear to have incorporated genetic material from a virus into their genomes. This discovery of virus-like genes in the DNA of a commonly studied fruit fly could enable research on whether animals hijack viral genes as an anti-viral defense.
Researchers from Drexel University are in the process of refining a sensor technology that they developed to measure samples at the cellular level. Constructed from a tiny vibrating piezoelectric cantilever, the sensor may become an accurate method for quickly detecting traces of DNA in liquid samples.
Scientists in Germany have developed a new strategy for the controlled production and metallization of DNA nanostructures. The team used a DNA strand consisting of an immobilization sequence and a metallization sequence and strung several alternating sequences together. Such a construction could someday be used in electronics.
Recent research shows for the first time that a new genomic sequencing method called Smart-Seq can help scientists conduct in-depth analyses of clinically relevant single cells. The method builds on knowledge of splicing, in which it is common for one gene to give rise to several forms of the same protein through different cut-and-paste configurations of its raw copy.
Using recent advances in marine biomechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering, a team of researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology have turned inanimate silicone and living cardiac muscle cells into a freely swimming "jellyfish."
Inspired by nature, an international research team has created synthetic pores that mimic the activity of cellular ion channels, which play a vital role in human health by severely restricting the types of materials allowed to enter cells. The pores the scientists built are permeable to potassium ions and water, but not to other ions such as sodium and lithium ions.
New research at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that exercise is a key step in building a muscle-like implant in the lab with the potential to repair muscle damage from injury or disease. In mice, these implants successfully prompt the regeneration and repair of damaged or lost muscle tissue, resulting in significant functional improvement.
Given their enormous potential in future treatments against disease, the study and growth of stem cells in the laboratory is widespread and critical. But growing the cells in culture offers numerous challenges. However, a group of researchers has now developed a nanoparticle-based system to deliver growth factors to stem cells in culture.
According to a report from research on the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the biological mechanism of sunburn—the reddish, painful, protective immune response from UV radiation—is a consequence of RNA damage to skin cells. The findings open the way to perhaps eventually blocking the inflammatory process, the scientists said, and have implications for a range of medical conditions and treatments.
According to a recent study in the U.K., stem cells found in amniotic fluid can be transformed into a more versatile state similar to embryonic stem cells. These can also be reprogrammed without having to introduce extra genes, a feature that raises the possibility that stem cells derived from donated amniotic fluid could be stored in banks.
In most scientific models, genetic mutants have a fitness value which remains constant. Based on this value, they compete, die out, or become established. However, evolutionary game theory considers holds that the fitness of a mutation also depends on the frequency of the mutation. Researchers in Germany have developed a model to address the scenario of mutations being frequency-dependent but having random fitness parameters.
A University of California Davis research team began studying the genes influencing tomato fruit development and ripening after spending two summers screening tomato plants for transcription factors that might play a role in both fruit color and quality. What they’ve found is that selection for tomatoes with optimal ripening qualities compromises the sugars that contribute to the fruit’s flavor.
An international team of researchers has discovered a programmable RNA complex in the bacterial immune system that guides the cleaving of DNA at targeted sites. This discovery opens a new door to genome editing with implications for the green chemistry microbial-based production of advanced biofuels, therapeutic drugs, and other valuable chemical products.
If you break a bone, you know you'll end up in a cast for weeks. But what if the time it took to heal a break could be cut in half, or even just a tenth of the time? Researchers report they have coated surfaces with bionanoparticles sourced from a modified virus. These particles accelerated early phase bone growth, reducing the conversion of stem cells to bone nodules from two weeks to two days.
Mosquitoes bred to be unable to infect people with the malaria parasite are an attractive approach to helping curb one of the world's most pressing public health issues, according to University of California, Irvine scientists. Now, researchers have produced a model of the Anopheles stephensi mosquito that impairs the development of the malaria parasite. These mosquitoes, in turn, cannot transmit the disease through their bites.
MicroRNAs start off as long strands of precursor genetic material, which get chopped by machinery called the “microprocessor” complex. When the pieces bind to messenger RNA, protein production is inhibited and protein regulation begins. But how does the microprocessor avoid cleaving the wrong type of RNA? Mathematical models may provide the answer.
Scientists in California have purified a subset of stem cells found in fat tissue and made from them bone that was formed faster and was of higher quality than bone grown using traditional methods. The discovery may one day eliminate the need for painful bone grafts that use material taken from the patient during invasive procedures.
At a recent weekend conference of more than 30,000 specialists, experts reported seeing a major escalation in the arms race against cancer. Several new advances, including “smart” drugs, immune system aids, and treatments based on genetic pathways, offer new hope for battling previously intractable diseases.
Mice and monkeys don't develop diseases in the same way that humans do. Nevertheless, after medical researchers have studied human cells in a Petri dish, they have little choice but to move on to study mice and primates. University of Washington bioengineers have developed the first structure to grow small human blood vessels, creating a 3D test bed that offers a better way to study disease, test drugs, and perhaps someday grow human tissues for transplant.
New York University physicists have developed a method that models biological cell-to-cell adhesion that could also have industrial applications. This system is an oil-in-water solution whose surface properties reproduce those found on biological cells.
Tissue engineers can use mesenchymal stem cells derived from fat to make cartilage, bone, or more fat. The best cells to use are ones that are already likely to become the desired tissue. Brown University researchers have discovered that the mechanical properties of the stem cells can foretell what they will become, leading to a potential method of concentrating them for use in healing.
A research team at Rutgers University has been able to take a new pharmacological approach to activate the immune cells to prevent cancer growth through stimulation of the opiate receptors found on immune cells.
When the DNA double helix breaks, the broken end goes searching for the similar sequence and uses that as a template for repair. Using a new dual-molecule technique, a research group in the Netherlands has found out how the DNA molecule is able to perform this search and recognition process in such an efficient way.
The major form of lactoferrin is an important iron-binding protein secreted into human biofluids such as milk, blood, tears, and saliva. Because it is responsible for most of the host-defense properties, researchers are starting to use lactoferrin as a potential therapeutic protein.
Researchers in Germany have enhanced the capabilities of solid-state nanopores by fitting them with cover plates made of DNA. These nanoscale cover plates, with central apertures tailored to various functions, are formed by so-called DNA origami—the art of programming strands of DNA to fold into custom-designed structures with specified chemical properties.