Genetics & Molecular Biology

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.



By Jon Entine, Genetic Literacy Project

Visit almost any anti-GMO website and you will find alarming headlines about the alleged dangers of GMO foods. They kill pigs, cows and sheep on farms and in lab studies! Humans are next!

Our fat contains a variety of cells with the potential to become bone, cartilage, or more fat if properly prompted. This makes adipose tissue a key potential resource for regenerative therapies such as bone healing if doctors can get enough of those cells and compel them to produce bone.

In a new study, scientists at Brown University demonstrate a new method for extracting a wide variety of potential bone-producing cells from human fat. They developed a fluorescent tag that could find and identify cells expressing a gene called ALPL. Expression of the gene is an indicator of bone-making potential.


Our immune system must distinguish between self and foreign and in order to fight infections without damaging the body's own cells at the same time. The immune system is loyal to cells in the body, but how this works is not fully understood.

A new study has discovered that the immune system uses a molecular biological clock to target intolerant T cells during their maturation process. 


Geneticists have found a mechanism sought for more than four decades that explains how gene duplication leads to novel functions in individuals. 

Gene duplication is a biological phenomenon that leads to the sudden emergence of new genetic material. 'Sister' genes – the products of gene duplication – can survive across long evolutionary timescales, and allow organisms to tolerate otherwise lethal mutations. 


Epigenetics has been used and abused in many ways - can it tell researchers that an expectant mother had no electricity for a few days?

In January of 1998, what came to be called the North American Ice Storm of 1998 occurred. It knocked out power for days in cities and weeks in remote areas, impacting up to 4 million people. It was so worrisome that the government, concerned about panic among peaceful Canadians, deployed nearly 25 percent of its armed forces to keep peace in Quebec.