Tag Archives: genes

Das menschliche Gebiss als Spiegel unserer Evolution

Wissenschaftler der Universität Tübingen ermitteln, welche Eigenschaften der Zähne zur Rekonstruktion genetischer Verwandtschaft genutzt werden können

Genetische Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen individuellen Menschen oder auch Menschengruppen lassen sich anhand ihrer Zahnformen teilweise rekonstruieren. Dr. Hannes Rathmann und Dr. Hugo Reyes-Centeno von der Kolleg-Forschungsgruppe „Words, Bones, Genes, Tools“ an der Universität Tübingen haben nun mithilfe eines Algorithmus herausgearbeitet, welche der zahlreichen Zahnmerkmale sich für Verwandtschaftsanalysen besonders gut eignen und welche Zahnmerkmale weniger die Verwandtschaft, sondern eine ähnliche Anpassung an gleiche Umweltbedingungen widerspiegeln. Die Studie erschien in der Fachzeitschrift Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). (more…)

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Conley harnesses tools of social science, genomics to answer lifelong questions

Dalton Conley was just a kid in 1970s New York, but lessons about race and class came quickly.

He was one of the only white kids among his friends amid the predominantly African American and Latino public housing projects on the Lower East Side. At his local elementary school, there were segregated classes for African American, Latino and Chinese students, but no obvious fit for him. Later, at another school in a more affluent part of the city, he was surrounded by other white students but found himself lost amid their wealth. (more…)

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Q&A: What studying networks can tell us about the world and ourselves

There was an opening ceremony on Feb. 5 for the Yale Institute for Network Science (YINS), dedicated to exploring fundamental properties of networks as they appear throughout the biological, physical, and social sciences.

The interdisciplinary institute will be led by co-directors Nicholas Christakis, the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, and Daniel Spielman, the Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics.

Christakis and Spielman recently met with YaleNews to discuss the nature of networks and the institute’s mission. The following is an edited version of the conversation. (more…)

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Angelina Jolie Effect: Breast Cancer Awareness vs. Knowledge

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Angelina Jolie heightened awareness about breast cancer when she announced in a New York Times op-ed that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy. But a new study led by researchers in the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health reveals that widespread awareness of Jolie’s story did not translate into increased understanding of breast cancer risk.

The survey of more than 2,500 Americans found that three out of four were aware of Jolie’s story, but fewer than 10 percent of those could correctly answer questions about the BRCA gene mutation that Jolie carries and the typical person’s risk of developing breast cancer. Though very rare, women with harmful mutations in either of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, have a risk of breast cancer that is about five times the normal risk, and a risk of ovarian cancer that is about ten to thirty times normal. The study is published on December 19, 2013 in Genetics in Medicine. (more…)

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Carnivorous Plant Throws Out ‘Junk’ DNA

The newly sequenced genome of the carnivorous bladderwort plant contradicts the notion that vast quantities of noncoding DNA are crucial for complex life. UA researchers helped solve the puzzle by providing specialized genome analyses and computational software.

Genes – the bits of DNA that code for proteins – make up about 2 percent of the human genome. The rest consists of a genetic material known as noncoding DNA, and scientists have spent years puzzling over why this material exists in such voluminous quantities. (more…)

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UCLA Researchers Further Refine ‘Nanovelcro’ Device to Grab Single Cancer Cells from Blood

Improvement enables ‘liquid biopsies’ for metastatic melanoma

Researchers at UCLA report that they have refined a method they previously developed for capturing and analyzing cancer cells that break away from patients’ tumors and circulate in the blood. With the improvements to their device, which uses a Velcro-like nanoscale technology, they can now detect and isolate single cancer cells from patient blood samples for analysis.

Circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, play a crucial role in cancer metastasis, spreading from tumors to other parts of the body, where they form new tumors. When these cells are isolated from the blood early on, they can provide doctors with critical information about the type of cancer a patient has, the characteristics of the individual cancer and the potential progression of the disease. Doctors can also tell from these cells how to tailor a personalized treatment to a specific patient. (more…)

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How a Microbial Biorefinery Regulates Genes

Digesting lignin, a highly stable polymer that accounts for up to a third of biomass, is a limiting step to producing a variety of biofuels. Researchers at Brown have figured out the microscopic chemical switch that allows Streptomyces bacteria to get to work, breaking lignin down into its constituent parts.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Microorganisms that can break down plant biomass into the precursors of biodiesel or other commodity chemicals might one day be used to produce alternatives to petroleum. But the potential of this “biorefinery” technology is limited by the fact that most microorganisms cannot break down lignin, a highly stable polymer that makes up as much as a third of plant biomass.

Streptomyces bacteria are among few microorganisms known to degrade and consume lignin. Now a group of researchers at Brown University has unlocked the genetic and molecular mechanisms behind a key part of that process. The results are published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research. (more…)

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