Posts Tagged ‘molecular biology’

Scientists prove why every sperm is sacred

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-19-2012

OK. Perhaps not in the way it was presented by Monty Python in The Meaning of Life, but a new study out of Stanford University Medical Center has shown that sperm cells exhibit a significant degree of genetic variation even when produced by an individual male.

According to study co-author Barry Behr:

For the first time, we were able to generate an individual recombination map and mutation rate for each of several sperm from one person. Now we can look at a particular individual, make some calls about what they would likely contribute genetically to an embryo and perhaps even diagnose or detect potential problems.

Click here to read more.

Spliceman to the rescue

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-12-2012

In a brief paper in the journal Bioinformatics, Brown University researchers describe a new, freely available Web-based program called Spliceman for predicting whether genetic mutations are likely to disrupt the splicing of messenger RNA, potentially leading to disease.

“Spliceman takes a set of DNA sequences with point mutations and computes how likely these single nucleotide variants alter splicing phenotypes,” write co-authors Kian Huat Lim, a graduate student, and William Fairbrother, assistant professor of biology, in an “application note” published in advance online Feb. 10. It will appear in print in April.

Spliceman can be found at fairbrother.biomed.brown.edu/spliceman.

Read more…

Can a video game cure cancer?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 02-17-2012

The cure for cancer comes down to this: video games.

In a research lab at Wake Forest University, biophysicist and computer scientist Samuel Cho uses graphics processing units (GPUs), the technology that makes video game images so realistic, to simulate the inner workings of human cells.

“If it wasn’t for gamers who kept buying these GPUs, the prices wouldn’t have dropped, and we couldn’t have used them for science,” Cho says.

Now he can see exactly how the cells live, divide and die.

Read Can a Video Game Cure Cancer on the Wake Forest University website.

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New study suggests researchers may be discarding important RNA information

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 02-02-2012

Traditional RNA isolations kits and techniques usually isolate linear RNA transcripts while discarding circular material that are thought to be unimportant. However, a new study at the Stanford School of Medicine suggests that circular RNA may play a more important role in gene expression than previously thought.

In the classical model of gene expression, the genetic script encoded in our genomes is expressed in each cell in the form of RNA molecules, each consisting of a linear string of chemical “bases”. It may be time to revise this traditional understanding of human gene expression, as new research suggests that circular RNA molecules, rather than the classical linear molecules, are a widespread feature of the gene expression program in every human cell. The results are published in the Feb. 1 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE.

Read More…

Looking for something to rock your central dogma? How about RNA, DNA…TNA?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-09-2012

When I first read this I thought that it was simply written by a mistaken undergrad student. Alas, it is not!

In the chemistry of the living world, a pair of nucleic acids—DNA and RNA—reign supreme. As carrier molecules of the genetic code, they provide all organisms with a mechanism for faithfully reproducing themselves as well as generating the myriad proteins vital to living systems.

Yet according to John Chaput, a researcher at the Center for Evolutionary Medicine and Informatics, at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute®, it may not always have been so.

Click here to read the whole story.

Below is a PBS video of Dr. Chaput’s research from several years ago: