Genetics & Molecular Biology

Cancer cells are so deadly because of their ability to quickly invade and a new study contends that part of the blame rests with mitochondria, the energy factories of the cell. Mitochondria are organelles inside most of our cells that generate energy and so play a crucial role in a tumor's ability to generate the energy needed to invade healthy tissue.
We've all felt sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal and tryptophan usually gets the bad rap - but there simply isn't enough of it to make a difference. Yet clearly something is making many of us take longer naps after binging on supper.

A recent study examined 'food comas' using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and explained some of the causes behind this phenomenon. They created a system that can measure both the sleep and feeding behaviors of individual fruit flies and discovered that, in much the same way as humans, the animals sleep for longer periods following larger meals. Further studies also revealed that certain types of food can promote post-meal sleep.
In a recent paper, of 81 overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes who usually consumed diet beverages and were on a weight loss program, those who substituted water for diet beverages after their lunch for 24 weeks had a greater decrease in weight (-6.40 vs. -5.25 kg) and body mass index (-2.49 vs.
Cornell students want to "debate" GMOs tomorrow, and while finding anti-science activists is easy - Michael Hanson of Consumers Union will go anywhere to undermine food, that is why The Dr. Oz Show loves him, and they also got someone named Jonathan Latham of Independent Science News - what they couldn't find was a scientist.

In recent years, the incidence of breast cancer has been increasing worldwide, and breast cancer is becoming a serious object of public concern. The onset of breast cancer is closely related to the sex hormone estrogen, and estrogen antagonists such as tamoxifen have been used as anti-breast cancer drugs.

During pregnancy, the elevated blood estrogen level induces the proliferation of mammary epithelial cells, leading to the development of the mammary gland in preparation for lactation. The mammary epithelial cells eventually stop proliferation at late stages of pregnancy, impairment of which potentially results in breast tumorigenesis . However, the regulatory mechanisms of mammary epithelial cell proliferation during pregnancy have been unclear.


Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016 "for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy", the body's recycling system. Autophagy can rapidly provide fuel for energy and building blocks for renewal of cellular components, and is therefore essential for the cellular response to starvation and other types of stress. 

Despite the bizarre claims of supernaturalists like Joe Mercola, D.O., or writers on Livestrong, the controlled digestion of damaged organelles within a cell are complex. Autophagy kills the cells

Daniel Drucker's unofficial laboratory slogan is "I'd rather be third and right, than first and wrong." After 30 years, he has seen high-profile journal article after article proclaim the beginning of the end for diseases he studies like diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, and obesity, only for the findings to never be discussed again.


“Never put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear” is something we’ve been wisely cautioned against at some stage or another. But more of us are ignoring this advice.

We use in-the-ear-headphones to listen to music, car keys and hair pins to scratch that particularly unpleasant itch, and hearing aids to enable better communication.

Many of us also use disposable foam earplugs to protect from damaging noises in the workplace, or to block the noise of snoring partners, loud traffic outside bedroom windows, dogs barking and any other bothersome sounds that prevent a good night’s sleep.

Sudden death in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is sometimes associated with exercise,  but that may be just medical reductionism looking for any answer. Instead, a number of factors could have been involved, since nearly 80% of patients in the study had no symptoms and only one in five had been diagnosed with HCM before their death, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2016 today by Dr Gherardo Finocchiaro, a cardiologist at St George's University of London.


Researchers have identified a DNA variation in a gene called PDSS2 that appears to curb coffee consumption. The authors suggest that the gene reduces the ability of cells to breakdown caffeine, causing it to stay in the body for longer.

This means that a person would not need to consume as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit.

The researchers looked at genetic information from 370 people living in a small village in south Italy and 843 people from six villages in north-east Italy. Each of the study participants was asked to complete a survey that included a question about how many cups of coffee they drank each day.