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Genomics & Proteomics
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New technique will accelerate genetic characterization of photosynthesis

April 16, 2014 9:12 am | News | Comments

A type of single-cell green algae called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a leading subject for photosynthesis research, but few tools are available for characterizing the functions of its genes. A team including Carnegie Institution's Martin Jonikas has developed a highly sophisticated tool that will transform the work of plant geneticists by making large-scale genetic characterization of Chlamydomonas mutants possible for the first time.

Life Sciences Chrome

April 15, 2014 9:04 am | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Driven by rapid growth in forensics, biotechnology, disease diagnostics and environmental...

Finding the switch: Researchers create roadmap for gene expression

April 14, 2014 8:00 am | by Tracey Peake, North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

In a new study, researchers from North Carolina State Univ., UNC-Chapel Hill and other...

Enzyme “wrench” could be key to stronger, more effective antibiotics

April 11, 2014 10:10 am | by Tracey Peake, North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Builders and factory workers know that getting a job done right requires precision and...

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Mechanical forces affect T-cell recognition, signaling

April 11, 2014 8:04 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

T-cells use a complex process to recognize foreign pathogens and diseased cells. In a paper published in Cell, researchers add a new level of understanding to that process by describing how the T-cell receptors use mechanical contact—the forces involved in their binding to the antigens—to make decisions about whether or not the cells they encounter are threats.

Researchers using math to whittle away at jet lag

April 10, 2014 5:22 pm | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Lots of apps claim they can help you fight jet lag. Now Michigan researchers say mathematical formulas suggest it's possible to adjust to new time zones a bit faster than previously thought, and they created their own free app to help. Doctors have long said exposure to light is key. But how much, and when?

Creating a new bone tissue generation technique

April 10, 2014 11:27 am | News | Comments

Univ. of Texas at Arlington and Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital are investigating whether bone grown from the body’s own stem cells can replace traditional types of bone grafting. The process, which has been successful in previous lab experiments, uses biodegradable polymer scaffolding material and bone morphogenetic protein, or BMP, which was inserted into the abdomen of mice to attract stem cells that in turn produced bone.

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The motion of the medium matters for self-assembling particles

April 10, 2014 8:16 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

By attaching short sequences of single-stranded DNA to nanoscale building blocks, researchers can design structures that can effectively build themselves. The building blocks that are meant to connect have complementary DNA sequences on their surfaces, ensuring only the correct pieces bind together as they jostle into one another while suspended in a test tube.

Synthetic collagen promotes natural clotting

April 10, 2014 8:04 am | News | Comments

Synthetic collagen invented at Rice Univ. may help wounds heal by directing the natural clotting of blood. The material, KOD, mimics natural collagen, a fibrous protein that binds cells together into organs and tissues. It could improve upon commercial sponges or therapies based on naturally derived porcine or bovine-derived collagen now used to aid healing during or after surgery.

Japan stem cell researcher says results valid

April 9, 2014 10:20 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Japanese scientist accused of falsifying data in a widely heralded stem-cell research paper said Wednesday the results are valid despite mistakes in their presentation. Haruko Obokata, 30, struggled to maintain her composure during a televised news conference packed with hundreds of reporters, but insisted she did not tamper with the data to fabricate results.

A new “hope” for preservation of tissue samples for analysis

April 8, 2014 12:12 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have discovered that the so-called HOPE method allows tissue samples to be treated such that they do not only meet the requirements of clinical histology, but can still be characterized later on by modern methods of proteomics, a technique that analyzes all proteins at once. This differs from the traditional formalin-based approach that cross-links protein molecules.

New model combines multiple genomic data

April 8, 2014 10:53 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Data about DNA differences, gene expression or methylation can each tell epidemiologists something about the link between genomics and disease. A new statistical model that can integrate all those sources provides a markedly improved analysis, according to two new papers.

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Researchers develop new tool to check cells’ “batteries”

April 8, 2014 9:23 am | by Josh Barney, Univ. of Virginia Health System | News | Comments

Under the microscope, they glow like streetlights, forming tidy rows that follow the striations of muscle tissue. They are mitochondria—the powerhouses of cells—and researchers at the Univ. of Virginia School of Medicine have created a method to illuminate and understand them in living creatures like never before.

Synthetic gene circuits pump up cell signals

April 8, 2014 7:56 am | News | Comments

Synthetic genetic circuitry created by researchers at Rice Univ. is helping them see, for the first time, how to regulate cell mechanisms that degrade the misfolded proteins implicated in Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other diseases. The Rice team has designed a sophisticated circuit that signals increases in the degradation of proteins by the cell’s ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS).

Experts decode germs' DNA to fight food poisoning

April 6, 2014 8:21 am | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Chances are you've heard of mapping genes to diagnose rare diseases, predict your risk of cancer and tell your ancestry. But to uncover food poisonings? The nation's disease detectives are beginning a program to try to outsmart outbreaks by routinely decoding the DNA of potentially deadly bacteria and viruses.

Team finds a better way to grow motor neurons from stem cells

April 1, 2014 3:39 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have reported they can generate human motor neurons from stem cells much more quickly and efficiently than previous methods allowed. The new method involves adding critical signaling molecules to precursor cells a few days earlier than previous methods specified. This increases the proportion of healthy motor neurons derived from stem cells (from 30 to 70%) and cuts in half the time required to do so.

Scientists identify genes that could lead to tough, disease-resistant rice

April 1, 2014 3:28 pm | by Marcia Goodrich, Michigan Technological Univ. | News | Comments

As the Earth’s human population marches toward 9 billion, the need for hardy new varieties of grain crops has never been greater. It won’t be enough to yield record harvests under perfect conditions; new grains must also be able to handle stress from climate changes. Researchers in Michigan have recently identified a set of genes that could be key to the development of the next generation of super rice.

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Erasing a genetic mutation

March 31, 2014 9:15 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Using a new gene-editing system based on bacterial proteins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have cured mice of a rare liver disorder caused by a single genetic mutation. The findings offer the first evidence that this gene-editing technique, known as CRISPR, can reverse disease symptoms in living animals.

New app draws genetic pedigrees at point of care

March 31, 2014 8:57 am | News | Comments

Long before next-generation sequencing technology appeared, clinicians have been taking family histories by jotting down pedigrees: hand-drawn diagrams recording how diseases may recur across generations. Now healthcare providers can create those diagrams digitally on an iPad screen with a few finger taps, during a face-to-face encounter with an individual and his or her family.

The circadian clock: An orchestra with many conductors

March 31, 2014 7:55 am | by Laura Bailey, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

New findings challenge the prevailing wisdom about how our body clocks are organized, and suggest that interactions among neurons that govern circadian rhythms are more complex than originally thought. A Univ. of Michigan team looked at the circadian clock neuron network in fruit flies, which is functionally similar to that of mammals, but at only 150 clock neurons is much simpler.

Scientists develop largest developmental proteomic data set for any animal

March 28, 2014 8:49 am | by Gene Stowe and Marissa Gebhard, Univ. of Notre Dame | News | Comments

Now that the human genome is sequenced, researchers are focusing on the study of the proteome, which is the protein content of an organism, tissue or cell. Bioanalytical chemists at Univ. of Notre Dame have successfully tracked the changing patterns of protein expression during early development of African clawed frog embryos, producing the largest data set on developmental proteomics for any organism.

Cancer researchers find key protein link

March 27, 2014 12:58 pm | News | Comments

A new understanding of proteins at the nexus of a cell’s decision to survive or die has implications for researchers who study cancer and age-related diseases, according to biophysicists at the Rice Univ.-based Center for Theoretical Biological Physics. Experiments and computer analysis of two key proteins revealed a previously unknown binding interface that could be addressed by medication.

Autism may be tied to flawed prenatal brain growth

March 26, 2014 5:21 pm | by Lindsey Tanner - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A small study that examined brains from children who died found abnormal patterns of cell growth in autistic children. The research bolsters evidence that something before birth might cause autism, at least in some cases. Clusters of disorganized brain cells were discovered in tissue samples from brain regions important for regulating social functioning, emotions and communication, which can all be troublesome for children with autism.

Engineer builds instrument to study effects of genes, environment on plant traits

March 26, 2014 8:16 am | by Mike Krapfl, News Service, Iowa State Univ. | News | Comments

Let’s say plant scientists want to develop new lines of corn that will better tolerate long stretches of hot, dry weather. How can they precisely assess the performance of those new plants in different environmental conditions? Field tests can provide some answers. Greenhouse tests can provide some more. But how can plant scientists get a true picture of a plant’s growth and traits under a variety of controlled environmental conditions?

New technique for identifying gene-enhancers

March 25, 2014 11:28 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

An international team led by researchers has developed a new technique for identifying gene enhancers in the genomes of humans and other mammals. Called SIF-seq, for site-specific integration fluorescence-activated cell sorting followed by sequencing, this new technique complements existing genomic tools, such as ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing), and offers some additional benefits.

MRI reveals genetic activity

March 25, 2014 7:57 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Doctors commonly use MRI to diagnose tumors, damage from stroke and many other medical conditions. Neuroscientists also rely on it as a research tool for identifying parts of the brain that carry out different cognitive functions. Now, a team of biological engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is trying to adapt MRI to a much smaller scale.

Study ties breast gene to high-risk uterine cancer

March 24, 2014 11:19 am | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Women with a faulty breast cancer gene might face a greater chance of rare but deadly uterine tumors despite having their ovaries removed to lower their main cancer risks, doctors are reporting. A study of nearly 300 women with bad BRCA1 genes found four cases of aggressive uterine cancers years after they had preventive surgery to remove their ovaries. That rate is 26 times greater than expected.

Key link between tumors and healthy tissue identified

March 21, 2014 8:43 am | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

The delicate balance between development of normal tissue and tumors depends in part upon a key molecular switch within cells, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in Science. Their findings reveal a potential mechanism used by cancer cells to recruit healthy cells to promote tumor growth and suggest new strategies to generate healthy tissue.

3-D model links facial features and DNA

March 21, 2014 8:10 am | News | Comments

DNA can already tell us the sex and ancestry of unknown individuals, but now an international team of researchers is beginning to connect genetics with facial features, degrees of femininity and racial admixture. In essence, by including sex and racial admixture, researchers can learn about how certain genes and their variations influence the shape of the face and its features.

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