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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-23-2011
New research sifts through the entire genome of thousands of human subjects to look for genetic variation associated with height. The results of the study, published by Cell Press in the December issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, suggest that uncommon genetic deletions are associated with short stature.
Height is a highly heritable trait that is associated with variation in many different genes. “Despite tremendous recent progress in finding common genetic variants associated with height, thus far these variants only explain about 10% of the variation in adult height,” explains senior study author, Dr. Joel N Hirschhorn, from Children’s Hospital Boston and the Broad Institute. “It has been estimated that about half of height variation could eventually be accounted for by the sorts of variants we’ve been looking at, so it is possible that other types of genetic variants, such as copy number variants (CNVs), may also contribute to the genetic variation in stature.” Read the rest of this entry »
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-02-2011
Don’t worry if your brain’s not so stable after all. Neither is mine!
Johns Hopkins scientists investigating chemical modifications across the genomes of adult mice have discovered that DNA modifications in non-dividing brain cells, thought to be inherently stable, instead underwent large-scale dynamic changes as a result of stimulated brain activity. Their report, in the October issue of Nature Neuroscience, has major implications for treating psychiatric diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and for better understanding learning, memory and mood regulation.
Specifically, the researchers, who include a husband-and-wife team, found evidence of an epigenetic change called demethylation — the loss of a methyl group from specific locations — in the non-dividing brain cells’ DNA, challenging the scientific dogma that even if the DNA in non-dividing adult neurons changes on occasion from methylated to demethylated state, it does so very infrequently.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-26-2011
Genetic parasites invaded the mammalian genome more than 100 million years ago and dramatically changed the way mammals reproduce — transforming the uterus in the ancestors of humans and other mammals from the production of eggs to a nurturing home for developing young, a new Yale University study has found.
The findings published online Sept. 25 in the journal Nature Genetics describe in unprecedented detail the molecular changes that allowed mammals to carry their developing young within the safety of the womb rather than laying them in nests or carrying them around in pouches.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-15-2011
What do humans and cats have in common? Apart from a liking for tuna and a tendency to get sleepy on a Sunday afternoon, both are AIDS-susceptible species, and researchers in the USA and Japan are looking at feline genome manipulation as a route to create better models for HIV and other infectious and non-infectious diseases.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic used gamete-targeted lentiviral transgenesis to transfect the feline egg cells with a gene for the restriction factor, TRIMCyp, along with a jellyfish gene as a fluorescent reporter gene to track the efficacy of transfection, before fertilisation in vitro. This was the first success of this technique in a carnivore.