Ice Age Europe

The genetic history of Ice Age Europe

Migration has been playing a role in European population dynamics since before the last Ice Age, according to what researchers believe is the most comprehensive genetic analysis of Upper Paleolithic Europeans to date. The team found that all the individuals between ~37,000 and ~14,000 years ago descended from a single founding population, which forms part […]

The impact of aging on human facial appearance as illustrated by the average face of 12 women aged 47 years (right facial side) and 12 women aged 70 years (left side). Aging effects facial skin such as wrinkling, uneven pigmentation, and facial structure such as lip size, nasolabial fold, with some people looking older, others younger for their age. (Image credit: Fan Liu)

Could those genes be making you look old?

A gene may be partially responsible for how old you look, according to a new study. The gene, MC1R, is known for producing red hair and pale skin, as well as playing a role in repair to damaged DNA and other biological processes. Researchers found people carrying the gene typically look almost two years older […]

People with disease-causing mutations who remain mysteriously healthy

Researchers have identified 13 people who appear to be healthy, despite carrying genetic mutations associated with severe childhood disease. Researchers identified these individuals after performing genomic analysis on more than half a million people. The team believes their study provides a first step toward pinpointing genetic variants that may protect against childhood diseases currently thought to […]

This image shows a cell carrying an RNA-targeted Cas9 system. (Image credit: David Nelles of the University of California, San Diego)

Tracking RNA in real time

By modifying the CRISPR-Cas9 system, typically used for genetic editing, researchers are able to visually track the movement of RNA in living cells. The researchers believe this could be used to study disease-related RNA processes. Many diseases are related to errors in RNA and RNA transcription, such as different cancers and autism. In the future […]

DNA stutters provide a hidden layer of information

Repetitive pieces of DNA, previously thought to be “junk”, play an important role in regulating how genes are expressed, according to a recent study. Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), are sections of DNA which are repeated, similar to a stutter. Researchers found STRs are able to fine tune the expression of nearby genes, and that different […]

Repairing DNA in a matter of weeks

Reprogramming and genetically correcting stem cells can be achieved in as little as two weeks thanks to a new technique. This advance could offer potential therapies for individuals with a range of genetic disorders. Previous techniques to create stem cells from a patient’s tissue and reprogram the stem cell to remove a negative mutation took […]

Small cell lung cancer occurs when two genes are switched off

Using whole-genome sequencing researchers found that small cell lung cancer (SCLC) occurs when both copies of two separate genes responsible for tumor suppression are switched off. The research team hopes this discovery will help the development of new treatments for SCLC, which usually results in patient-death within months. Researchers sequenced the genome of 110 tumor […]

Scientists genetically modify human embryos

In a world first, scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. Chinese researchers using ‘non-viable’ embryos which cannot result in a live birth in order to attempt to modify the gene responsible for a potentially fatal blood disorder called β-thalassaemia. They used a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9 (pronounced ‘crisper’) which allows you  to […]

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Deadly coral snake venom

Researchers now understand why coral snake venom is so deadly and this knowledge could help provide insight into the biology of human diseases and conditions. Unlike most snake venoms which kill by paralyzing their victims, the venom of the coral snake (Micrurus mipartitus) causes deadly seizures. Scientists have discovered the venom’s active ingredient is a […]

Idiopathic scoliosis is a medical condition by lateral curvature of the spin and a rotation of the vertebral bodies. (Photo credit: Kfergos, flickr.com)

Gene causing common scoliosis identified

Researchers have identified the first gene causing idiopathic scoliosis, the most common type of spinal deformity. They identified 11 family members of a French family that were carriers of a rare variant of the gene, called POC5, and then used zebrafish to confirm that this variant really cause spinal deformity. This study is the first […]

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