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Genetics

Medical

Low-cost graphene-based biosensor chip detects DNA mutations in real time

One of the most common indicators of many diseases and cancer in blood is the presence of a genetic mutation known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Unfortunately, to date such tests for SNPs are slow, cumbersome and – above all – expensive. Now a team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have developed a new graphene-based sensor that promises to deliver test results easily, in real time, and inexpensively. The researchers believe this could be a breakthrough in the early detection and screening for many life-threatening illnesses.Read More

Science

Synthesizing human genome in lab could lead to "ultrasafe" cell line

Since the human genome was completely sequenced in 2003, the field of genetics has zipped along at a mind-boggling pace, helping us do everything from detecting cancer earlier to offering new hope to diabetics. Now we can even cut-and-paste sequences of DNA in our own kitchens. So the just-announced project to chemically produce an entire human genome in a lab seems like a logical next step – even if it could one day lead to lab-made humans with no biological parents.Read More

Medical

Tool matches cancer genetics to approved treatments

When treating cancer, it's difficult to know whether a chosen treatment is proving effective. While new breakthroughs may give doctors faster indications of whether drugs are working, by the time a new treatment is attempted, it might be too late to achieve a positive outcome. A new tool, developed by researchers at the University of Colorado, could have a big impact on which treatment doctors decide to use, using data from whole exome sequencing to pick out drugs likely to prove effective at tackling tumors on a case-by-case basis.Read More

Medical

Improved understanding of genetics offers new hope for diabetics

Diabetes is a widespread health problem, affecting some 400 million people across the planet. With that number only set to rise, it's important that we find new treatments as quickly as possible. Researchers at the University of Montreal are making significant progress in that regard, discovering a common genetic defect in beta cells that may be a big factor in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.Read More

Science

Genetically-engineered "skinbow" fish are multicolored marvels

The digital artists working for major movie studios like Disney and Pixar are no longer the only ones who can make outrageously-colored animals. Scientists at Duke university have genetically engineered a zebrafish to have myriad hues in its outer layer of skin, and the effect is dazzling. They call their creation "skinbow," an amalgam of the words "skin" and "rainbow."Read More

Biology

Altering the physiological circuits of flatworms makes them grow the heads of other species

A new research project at Tufts University in Massachusetts has seen biologists successfully induce flatworms of a specific species to grow the head and brain you'd expect to find on another species. Not only does the breakthrough add to our understanding of exactly what governs the growth of anatomy, but the knowledge gained may also have practical uses down the line, helping us better understand and even fix birth defects.Read More

Biology

Salmon the first genetically engineered animal to get FDA approval for human consumption

Following what it describes as an "exhaustive and rigorous scientific review," the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced the approval of the first ever genetically-modified animal for human consumption. The engineered salmon in question has had its DNA altered in such a way that it grows to market-ready size in around half the time of regular salmon, and has now been declared safe for humans and safe for the environment.Read More

Medical

Harnessing the survival powers of cancer cells could wipe out heart disease

The same genes that allow many cancers to proliferate and thrive could in the future be repurposed as a force for good. A study at the San Diego State University (SDSU) Heart Institute has found that mouse hearts regenerate cells better, causing the mice to live longer, when their progenitor cells are modified to over-express a key gene in cancer production. The researchers believe this could lead to a new treatment for people with heart disease or who have suffered from other age-related cardiac problems.Read More

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