Genetics & Molecular Biology

An enhanced inflammatory response could be the key link between high saturated fat intake - a recognized risk factor for obesity-related disorders - and the development of diseases like type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.

A new study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry demonstrates that ingesting fats similar to those in a Mediterranean-type diet, featuring low saturated fat and high monounsaturated fat, appears to decrease the inflammatory response, both in comparison to a high saturated fat diet, as well as in relation to a low-fat diet.


When cells from the connective tissue collide, they repel one another - this phenomenon was discovered more than 50 years ago. It is only now, however, that researchers at the University of Basel have discovered the molecular basis for this process, as they report in the journal Developmental Cell. Their findings could have important implications for cancer research.

Fibroblasts are motile constituents of the connective tissue and also regulate its stiffness. Moreover, fibroblasts play an important role in malignant skin diseases such as melanoma. In research, they serve as a model system for studying cell migration.


Signaling pathway identified




Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer that kills two-thirds of patients within five years. A patient's outlook with recurrence of the disease is considered to be weeks or months.

An experimental gene therapy essentially doubled the overall survival of patients with recurrent glioblastoma compared to the current standard of care, a researcher said October 1st at the Cancer Therapy&Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. 


Black rice has a rich cultural history; called "Forbidden" or "Emperor's" rice, it was reserved for the Emperor in ancient China and used as a tribute food. In the time since, it remained popular in certain regions of China and recently has become prized worldwide for its high levels of antioxidants.

Despite its long history, the origins of black rice have not been clear. Black rice cultivars are found in locations scattered throughout Asia. However, most cultivated rice (species Oryza sativa) produces white grains, and the wild relative Oryza rufipogon has red grains.


Lovers of french fries, rejoice: the new, non-bruising potato made by Idaho food giant Simplot has hit the market.
Though gluten sensitivity can be claimed by anyone embracing a popular food fad, celiac disease must be diagnosed, and that requires a tissue sample from the small intestine, which can be extremely unpleasant. 

But it's important because in celiac disease the immune system regards gluten as a virus or bacteria, which causes the body to trigger an unnecessary inflammatory reaction in the small intestine - an autoimmune reaction. When the food that you eat enters the small intestine, it is reduced to tiny fractions and presented to the T cells on HLA molecules. The HLA molecules present various elements of what you consume, as well as what is inside the cells. 
Things have been a little intense lately and the little voice in my head keeps begging, "How did I get here?"  

In other times of quiet introspection the little voice in my head says, "What would you have done differently?"

What the heck happened? 
I’ve been a critic of the Food Babe for a long time. Actually, I’ve been the critic of anyone that attempts to manipulate the public perception of science, while presenting zero scientific evidence. Especially deplorable are those that use fear to force a message, and scare people about safe food while profiting in the process.
It’s an old story now, but when ‘Food Babe’ Vani Hari visited my university to sell her science-blind worldview I was not exactly thrilled. We professors are tasked to teach from evidence, with foundation in a scholarly literature. Why would we subject our students to the daft rants of a dim food activist that lines her pockets by frightening people away from safe food?

In the game of wheat genetics, Jorge Dubcovsky's laboratory at UC Davis has hit a grand slam, unveiling for the fourth time in a dozen years a gene that governs wheat vernalization, the biological process requiring cold temperatures to trigger flower formation.

Identification of the newly characterized VRN-D4 gene and its three counterpart genes is crucial for understanding the vernalization process and developing improved varieties of wheat, which provides about one-fifth of the calories and proteins that we humans consume globally.

The new study, reported online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also shows how the spring growth habit in some wheat varieties traces back to ancient wheat that grew in what is now Pakistan and India.


High levels of saturated fat in the blood could make an individual more prone to inflammation and tissue damage, a new study suggests.

Received wisdom on the health risks of eating saturated fat has been called into question recently. This new research supports the view that excessive consumption of saturated fat can be bad for us.

Scientists from Imperial College London studied mice that have an unusually high level of saturated fat circulating in their blood. The research, published today (3 September 2015) in Cell Reports shows that the presence of saturated fats resulted in monocytes - a type of white blood cell - migrating into the tissues of vital organs.