Genetics & Molecular Biology

Researchers have developed biomaterials for bone regeneration from beer brewing waste.

A molecular pathway called mTORC1 controls the conversion of unhealthy white fat into beige fat, an appealing target for increasing energy expenditure and reducing obesity, according to a new study. The team also found that a protein, Grb10, serves as the on-off switch for mTORC1 signaling and the "beigeing" of fat.

Researchers have found a way to prevent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide, in mice.

By blocking a path that delivers dietary fructose to the liver, mice were prevented from developing the condition, according to investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis writing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

In people, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease often accompanies obesity, elevated blood sugar, high blood pressure and other markers of metabolic syndrome. Some estimate as many as 1 billion people worldwide have fatty liver disease, even if they don't realize it.

Like blonde hair? You can thank the Kit ligand gene.

A single-letter change in the genetic code is enough to generate blond hair in humans, according to a new analysis by Howard Hughes Medical Institute scientists which has pinpointed that change, common in the genomes of Northern Europeans.

A handful of genes likely determine hair color in humans and the precise molecular basis of the trait remains poorly understood, and discovery of the genetic hair-color switch didn't begin with a deep curiosity about golden locks. It began with fish.

Researchers have defined a previously unrecognized genetic cause for two types of birth defects found in newborn boys 

"Cryptorchidism and hypospadias are among the most common birth defects but the causes are usually unknown," said Dr. Dolores Lamb, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Baylor and lead author of the report in Nature Medicine

Cryptorchidism is characterized by the failure of descent of one or both testes into the scrotum during fetal development. In the adult man, the testes produce sperm and the male hormone, testosterone. Hypospadias is the abnormal placement of the opening of the urethra on the penis. Both birth defects are usually surgically repaired during infancy.

The clinical promise of stem cells has been dampened by concerns that the immune system will reject the transplanted cells before they could render any long-term benefit.

Previous research in mice has suggested that even adult stem cells produced from a subject's own tissue, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, can trigger an immune attack.

Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that differentiating iPS cells in the laboratory to become more-specialized progeny cells before transplantation into mice allows them to be tolerated by the body's immune system.

How dare biologists create something not found in nature!

Well, mankind has a lot of experience in trying to keep nature from killing us - the war between man and nature is a grudge match whose history and resentments run deep.  When scientists stop trying to keep nature from killing us is when we should worry.
In the pop culture world of mainstream media, magic bullets are common. Every week there is a new miracle vegetable and then the following work there will be scare journalism about some chemical.

In the world of magic bullets, smoking causes lung cancer. Yet science knows that a risk factor is not genetic determinism. If lung cancer among non-smokers were itemized separately from smokers, it would be in the top 10 killers all on its own, and shockingly few smokers get lung cancer compared to the hundred million who are smoking just in America.

A signal that promotes insulin secretion and reduces hyperglycemia in a type 2 diabetes animal model is enhanced by the inhibition of a novel enzyme discovered by researchers at NuChem Therapeutics of Montreal and the Montreal Diabetes Research Center.

Individuals are more genetically similar to their spouses than they are to randomly selected individuals from the same population, claims a new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This is much different than sociological factors - it is no surprised that people tend to marry others who have similar characteristics, like religion, age, race, income and education.