November 24, 2015
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.
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.
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.
Researchers in Japan have found that human aging may be able to be
delayed or even reversed, at least at the most basic level of human cell
lines. In the process, the scientists from the University of Tsukuba
also found that regulation of two genes is related to how we age.