Genetics & Molecular Biology

New transcriptome data for underutilized legumes means underappreciated crops could soon become valuable tools in agriculture.

Thousands of species belong to the legume family, the Fabaceae, yet only a few of them are used in mainstream agriculture. Dozens more are underutilized. Unlike soybean, peanut, chickpea, and other chart toppers, the underutilized species can grow in areas of very poor soil with limited water availability. This is because they are equipped with unique variations in plant growth genes that have been lost from mainstream crops through years of breeding.
It's been over 50 years since the first experimental use of adult stem cells - bone marrow transplants - began, and in that time over 1,000,000 hematopoietic stem cell (HSCT - cells isolated from the blood or bone marrow that can renew themselves and differentiate to a variety of specialized cells) transplantations (have been performed in 75 countries, but there are striking variations between countries and regions in the use of this lifesaving procedure and high unmet need due to a chronic shortage of resources and donors that is putting lives at risk.  
Human pluripotent stem cells, which include both human embryonic stem cells(hESCs) and adult stem cells like induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), need large numbers for transplantation into patients but the process of translating their potential into effective, real-world treatments involves deciphering and resolving a host of daunting complexities, according to a new study.

The authors say they have definitively shown that the culture conditions in which stem cells are grown and mass-produced can affect their genetic stability.

What should I do when the equivalent of the Surgeon General of the UK calls my concerns about something "bunk"?

It sure gave me some pause. 

What's going on?

Mitochondria, the energy power plants inside our cells, are able to oxidize the food we eat to create a universal energy currency for all our currency. These intracellular organelles possess their own DNA, and proteins derived from their genetic instructions are produced according to a specific process which is not well known. 

What is well-known is that misregulation of this process can cause mitochondrial diseases in humans. A team led by Jean-Claude Martinou, professor at the Faculty of Science of the University of Geneva (UNIGE), has discovered a new component of the process which was unknown in mammals. It relates to the biogenesis of ND6, a protein essential for mitochondrial activity and provides insight into the general process of mitochondrial RNA maturation.
Genetically modified crops have long drawn fire from environmentalists, who worry that there could be contamination of organic food or creation of FrankenWeeds. Properly used, there is no chance of that, the only thing that can happen is trace material.

Still, they have worries and science may have an answer: modern plant genes damaging the claims of the $105 billion organic food industry might be mitigated by...plant genes.

Researchers have discovered a molecular ‘switch’ that controls replication and transcription of mitochondria DNA, a key finding that could influence the development of targeted therapies for cancer, developmental processes related to fertility and aging. 

Mitochondria are organelles located outside the nucleus of nearly every cell in humans. While most of the cell’s DNA is inside the nucleus, mitochondria maintain their own DNA and contribute a small number of genes that are essential for cellular respiration and energy generation.

Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress caused by our body's internal energy production, fighting off infection, and repairing damage. Our bodies produce them naturally and they can be obtained less efficiently in food, but with over 200 conditions related to mitochondria, the energy factories in our cells, the future belongs to treatments that can repair damage to them.
Tiny biological clocks attached to our chromosomes can't tell us the exact moment of our death, but they can narrow it down. These DNA end caps, called telomeres, are the great predictors of life expectancy: the shorter your telomeres, the shorter your lifespan.

But shorter telomeres also indicate a greater chance for bone marrow failure, liver disease, skin disease and lung disease. Knowing that, scientists have been experimenting with telomeres over the last three decades, trying to figure out ways to extend them and studying mutations within them. Now researchers have found another link to telomeres and lung disease.