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Genetics News
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:19:15 EDT
Molecular beacons shine light on how cells 'crawl'
Chemists have devised a method using DNA-based tension probes to zoom in at the molecular level and measure and map how cells mechanically sense their environments, migrate and adhere to things.
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:12:52 EDT
Decrease of genetic diversity in the endangered Saimaa ringed seal continues
The critically endangered Saimaa ringed seal, which inhabits Lake Saimaa in Finland, has extremely low genetic diversity and this development seems to continue, according to a recent study. Researchers analyzed the temporal and regional variation in the genetic diversity of the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. The population is only around 300 individuals divided into smaller sub-populations and with very little migration among between them.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:23:10 EDT
Designer 'barrel' proteins created
Designer proteins that expand on nature's own repertoire, created by a team of chemists and biochemists, are described in a new paper. Proteins are long linear molecules that fold up to form well-defined 3D shapes. These 3D molecular architectures are essential for biological functions such as the elasticity of skin, the digestion of food, and the transport of oxygen in blood.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:20:47 EDT
Meiosis: Cutting the ties that bind
The development of a new organism from the joining of two single cells is a carefully orchestrated endeavor. But even before sperm meets egg, an equally elaborate set of choreographed steps must occur to ensure successful sexual reproduction. Those steps, known as reproductive cell division or meiosis, split the original number of chromosomes in half so that offspring will inherit half their genetic material from one parent and half from the other.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:16:57 EDT
Paper-based synthetic gene networks could enable rapid detection of ebola and other viruses
Synthetic gene networks hold great potential for broad biotechnology and medical applications, but so far they have been limited to the lab. A study reveals a new method for using engineered gene circuits beyond the lab, allowing researchers to safely activate the cell-free, paper-based system by simply adding water. The low-cost, easy-to-use platform could enable the rapid detection of different strains of deadly viruses such as Ebola.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:16:53 EDT
Gene that once aided survival in Arctic found to have negative impact on health today
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a genetic variant that arose thousands of years ago and likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today's northern populations. The findings provide an example of how an initially beneficial genetic change could be detrimental to future generations.
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:35:59 EDT
Highly effective new anti-cancer drug shows few side effects in mice
A new drug, OTS964, can eradicate aggressive human lung cancers transplanted into mice, scientists report. It inhibits the action of a protein that is overproduced by several tumor types but is rarely expressed in healthy adult tissues. Without it, cancer cells fail to complete the cell-division process and die.
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:30:21 EDT
Human skin cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells
Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types, report researchers.
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:17:52 EDT
Genome editing technique advanced by researchers
Customized genome editing -- the ability to edit desired DNA sequences to add, delete, activate or suppress specific genes -- has major potential for application in medicine, biotechnology, food and agriculture. Now researchers examine six key molecular elements that help drive this genome editing system, which is known as CRISPR-Cas.
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:50:20 EDT
Let there be light: Evolution of complex bioluminescent traits may be predictable
A longstanding question among scientists is whether evolution is predictable. A team of researchers from University of California Santa Barbara may have found a preliminary answer. The genetic underpinnings of complex traits in cephalopods may in fact be predictable because they evolved in the same way in two distinct species of squid.
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