Posts Tagged ‘biotechnology’

A genetic breakthrough for cleft lip

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-29-2011

Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College used genetic methods to successfully repair cleft lips in mice embryos specially engineered for the study of cleft lip and cleft palate. The research breakthrough may show the way to prevent or treat the conditions in humans.

Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects, with treatment requiring multiple cycles of surgery, speech therapy and orthodontics. To date, there have been very few pre-clinical methods that allow researchers to study the molecular causes of these malformations. In particular, there has been a lack of animal models that accurately reflect the contribution of multiple genes to these congenital deformities in humans.
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New technique for watching proteins in action in intact cells

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-01-2011

Proteins are literally the movers and the shakers of the intracellular world. If DNA is the film director, then they are the actors. And much can be learned about cell function – and dysfunction – by watching proteins on the move.

Until now, scientists have only been able to see this process indirectly. Now researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., have come up with a promising new technique that uses a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) to view proteins tagged with gold nanoparticles in whole, intact cells.
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Genomes, Phenomes and Personalized Medicine

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-26-2011

George Church, who it may be argued is the father of personalized genomics, spoke at TEDMED about the future of personal genomics and what research has yielded so far. Ironically, when he gave this talk one year ago in October of 2010, a google search of the term “synthetic personal genomes” did not yield any results (according to Dr. Church). The same search done today returns over 900,000 results! Obviously George continues to be light years ahead of the crowd. Have a look at the video below and see for yourself.

Why depressed animals are a reason to celebrate

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-25-2011

Washington State University researchers have taken a promising step toward creating an animal model for decoding the specific brain circuits involved in depression. By electrically stimulating a brain region central to an animal’s primary emotions, graduate student Jason Wright and his advisor Jaak Panksepp saw rats exhibit a variety of behaviors associated with a depressed, negative mood, or affect.

“We might now have a model that allows us to actually know where to look in the brain for changes relevant to depression, and we can monitor how activity in these regions change during states of negative affect and the restoration of positive affect,” says Wright. “There are no other models out there like this.”

The researchers caution that their work comes with a variety of caveats and that there are still many factors that need to be evaluated.

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Worm sperm and other creepy crawlers

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-19-2011

worm sperm magnified 5,000x

For better and for worse, human health depends on a cell’s motility –– the ability to crawl from place to place. In every human body, millions of cells –are crawling around doing mostly good deeds ––– though if any of those crawlers are cancerous, watch out.

“This is not some horrible sci-fi movie come true but, instead, normal cells carrying out their daily duties,” said Florida State University cell biologist Tom Roberts. For 35 years he has studied the mechanical and molecular means by which amorphous single cells purposefully propel themselves throughout the body in amoeboid-like fashion ––absent muscles, bones or brains.

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