Genetics & Molecular Biology

Parents go to great lengths to ensure the health and well-being of their developing offspring. The favor, however, may not always be returned.

Dramatic research has shown that during pregnancy, cells of the fetus often migrate through the placenta, taking up residence in many areas of the mother's body, where their influence may benefit or undermine maternal health.

The presence of fetal cells in maternal tissue is known as fetal microchimerism. The term alludes to the chimeras of ancient Greek myth--composite creatures built from different animal parts, like the goat-lion-serpent depicted in an Etruscan bronze sculpture.

Vitamin D is being blamed for or is linked to curing everything in 2015, and so it is little surprise a paper uses a genetic study to bolster observational evidence that lower vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk of multiple sclerosis.

The dominant antibody type present in the blood of transplant recipients may indicate their likelihood of experiencing organ rejection, according to a study which may help doctors identify patients who need aggressive treatments to safeguard the health of their new organ.

Transplant recipients who receive a kidney, heart, or lung often develop an immune response to the foreign tissue in the form of antibodies referred as donor-specific HLA antibodies. Some patients may already have these antibodies before their transplant because they have been exposed to blood products or previous transplants. Although the presence of donor-specific HLA antibodies in a recipient is usually not a good sign, not all patients who have them experience a poor outcome.

    How could you destroy someone with their own words, if their words present no evidence of wrongdoing?  It actually is amazingly simple, and illustrates the danger of limitless access to personal emails through public records requests.  In this post I will show how two writers for a PLoS One Blog* blatantly misrepresent content obtained through such a request. This is how scandals are manufactured from nothing.

By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science — Wine grapes specially bred for extreme temperatures may have a future, despite any laughs connoisseurs might have at the thought of wine labels extolling the virtues of the terroir of Deadwood or Fargo.

A grape-breeding project that already has pumped more than $400 million into northern states’ economies and created as many as 13,000 jobs is trying to grow wine grapes where summers are short and winters brutal. Scientists who are breeding the grapes say the wine is improving every year.

From Austrian monks to American craft brewers, beer geeks are everywhere. But making a good beer not only depends on the best ingredients, but also the best yeast.

The beer world is divided into ales and lagers. The original and highly versatile yeast, Saccharromyces cerevisiae, has been used for millennium to make ales, wine and bread. But the second great beer innovation was the origins of lager beer during the 15th century, when Bavarians first noticed that beer stored in the caves during the winter continued to ferment (from the German lagern: to store). The result was a lighter and smoother beer that, after sharing it with their neighboring Bohemians, went on to dominate 19th and 20th century beers tastes, especially in America.

Researchers have identified a new vitamin B3 pathway that regulates liver metabolism. The discovery provides an opportunity to pursue the development of novel drug therapies to address obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic diseases. 

The new findings show that a small molecule called N1-methylnicotinamide prevents metabolic complications caused by a high-fat diet.

Researchers have identified a protein produced by white blood cells that puts the brakes on muscle repair after injury.

By removing the protein CD163 from mice, scientists at Emory University School of Medicine could boost muscle repair and recovery of blood flow after ischemic injury (damage caused by restriction of blood flow).

The findings point to a target for potential treatments aimed at enhancing muscle regeneration. Muscle breakdown occurs in response to injury or inactivity -- during immobilization in a cast, for example -- and in several diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

The results are scheduled for publication online by Nature Communications on August 5.

Numerous genes that regulate the activity of a neurotransmitter in the brain have been found to be abundant in brain tissue of depressed females. This could be an underlying cause of the higher incidence of suicide among women, according to new research.

Studying postmortem tissue from brains of psychiatric patients, Monsheel Sodhi, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at  the University of Illinois at Chicago, noted that female patients with depression had abnormally high expression levels of many genes that regulate the glutamate system, which is widely distributed in the brain.

Follicular helper Tcells (TFH cells), a rare type of immune cell that is essential for inducing a strong and lasting antibody response to viruses and other microbes, have garnered intense interest in recent years but the molecular signals that drive their differentiation had remained unclear.

Now, a team of researchers at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology has identified a pair of master regulators that control the fate of TFH cells.