Genetics & Molecular Biology

Obesity was once only for the wealthy, then it was only for Americans and the science engine that made food cheap for all, but now globalization has made it possible for the rich and poor worldwide to be fat - which brings greater risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

No one wants to eat less delicious food, but they would take a pill to shed fad and a team ed by Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the University Hospital Bonn believe they have come one step closer to that.  They have found that a signaling molecule can stimulate brown fat and burn energy from food: The body's own adenosine activates brown fat and "browns" white fat. 


It sounds a little trampy to humans but in nature, it's not unusual for a female to copulate with several males in quick succession. Chimpanzees are a well-known example.  

When that happens, sperm war breaks out.

"The sperm of the different males then compete within the female to fertilize the eggs," says   evolutionary biologist Steven Ramm from Bielefeld University. "Generally speaking, the best sperm wins. This may involve its speed or also be due to the amount of sperm transferred. It can also be useful for the seminal fluid to be viscous, meaning it sticks inside the female reproductive tract to try to keep other sperm at bay."

Patients with severe psoriasis are more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension, according to a cross-sectional study using information collected from a medical records database, which the authors say provides further evidence of a strong link between psoriasis and hypertension. 


The Natural Resources Defense Council became the first environmental group to file suit 

Cholesterol has gotten a bad reputation, thanks to mainstream media's penchant for alternating miracle vegetables with scare journalism, which prompts shady diet fad book authors to promote whatever is getting attention this year.

Outside health fads, cholesterol is an essential component of human cells, manufactured by the cells themselves, that serve to stiffen the cell's membrane, helping to shape the cell and protect it. By mapping the structure of a key enzyme involved in cholesterol production, researchers have gained new insight into this complex molecular process. 


Researchers have uncovered a molecular process in the brain known to control eating that transforms white fat into brown fat, and that impacts how much energy we burn and how much weight we can lose.  


A recent genome-wide meta-analysis has identified a biological commonality among 120,000 regular coffee drinkers - 6 new genetic variants related to caffeine metabolism, lipid and glucose metabolism, and its psychoactive effects, found among about 2.5 million variants in the genome.

Tomatoes contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, lycopene, β-carotene, and phenolics. Antioxidants are substances capable of delaying or inhibiting oxidation processes caused by free radicals and are of interest to both consumers and plant biologists. Consumers, for their health-related contributions, and plant breeders for their ability to provide plants with natural resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.



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One thing certain about nature - it sure isn't efficient. Just take a look at the human male reproductive system and you get the idea that if it was designed, it was designed by fish, and on a dare. It is a problem waiting to happen, but evolution is about the survival of the fitter, not the fittest - and then we add in some random walks and mutations. 

A microRNA molecule has been tagged as a surprisingly crucial player in managing cell survival and growth. The findings underscore the emerging recognition that non-coding RNAs – small molecules that are not translated into working proteins – help regulate basic cellular processes and may be key to developing new drugs and therapies.

Principal investigator Albert R. La Spada, MD, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego, and colleagues found that a microRNA known as let-7 controls autophagy through the amino acid sensing pathway, which has emerged as the most potent activator of mTORC1 complex activity.