Posts Tagged ‘genetics’

Why your brain is not so stable after all

 :: 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.

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Happy you were not born in a nest? Thank you local parasite!

 :: 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.

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Glowing kittens, transgenics and FIV: A step towards combating HIV

 :: 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.

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A Practical Approach to Assay Design for qPCR

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-02-2011

Designing good qPCR assays can be fun! Learn how to overcome difficult assays, designs and optimization while conforming to the MIQE guidelines.

The bacterial industrial revolution

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-31-2011

George Church, the talented genetic professor, has made headlines once again. We are very fond of George Church and have written about him and his work several times in the past (see: George Church: The Father of Personalized Genomics, New tools for rewriting the code of life and A Scientific Legend’s Approach to Solving Problems and Developing Technologies).

The latest article, appearing in The Boston Globe, talks about Dr. Church’s approach to synthetic biology and his “broad brush” approach of editing bacterial genomes to devise powerful new technologies.

To read more click here. H/T to Genomeweb for the find.