Genetics & Molecular Biology

Human articular cartilage defects can be treated with nasal septum cells because they are able to adapt to the environment of the knee joint and can thus repair articular cartilage defects. 

The nasal cartilage cells' ability to self-renew and adapt to the joint environment is associated with the expression of so-called HOX genes. The scientific journal Science Translational Medicine has published the research results together with the report of the first treated patients.


A new study has found that both type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes are the result of the same mechanism - the formation of toxic clumps of a hormone called amylin.

The results, based on 20 years' work in New Zealand, suggest that type-1 and type-2 diabetes could both be slowed down and potentially reversed by medicines that stop amylin forming these toxic clumps.

As well as producing insulin, cells in the pancreas also produce another hormone called amylin. Insulin and amylin normally work together to regulate the body's response to food intake. If they are no longer produced, then levels of sugar in the blood rise resulting in diabetes and causing damage to organs such as the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves if blood sugar levels aren't properly controlled.


A study has identified a protein that appears to play a key role in protecting people infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis — the bacterium that causes tuberculosis — from developing the active form of the disease. The protein, interleukin-32, was discovered to be one biomarker of adequate host defense against TB.


The recently published genome of Brassica napus — commonly known as canola — paves the way for improved versions of the plant, which is used widely in farming and industry. 


A team of researchers  is a step closer to solving the mystery of how lizards regenerate their tails. They have found the genetic "recipe", which involves genetic ingredients in just the right mixture and amounts.

The scientists used molecular and computer analysis tools to examine the genes turned on in tail regeneration. The team studied the regenerating tail of the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), which when caught by a predator, can lose its tail and then grow it back. 


Researchers trying to get new information about the metabolism of plants can switch off individual genes and study the resulting changes but researchers in a new study adopted a different approach.

 Erich Kombrink from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne and Markus Kaiser from the University of Duisburg-Essen have identified small molecules that block specific components of the metabolic process like brake pads and prevent the downstream reactions. In their search for these molecules, they used a biological selection process involving intact plants, a technique borrowed from corporate drug research.


Men and women differ in plenty of ways,and scientists have long known that genetic differences buried deep within our DNA underlie these distinctions but past research has primarily focused on understanding how the genes that encode proteins act as sex determinants. In a new Genetics paper, scientists show that a subset of very small genes encoding short RNA molecules -
miRNAs
- also play a key role in differentiating male and female tissues in the fruit fly. 

A miRNA is a short segment of RNA that fine-tunes the activation of one or several protein-coding genes. miRNAs are able to silence the genes they target and, in doing so, orchestrate complex genetic programs that are the basis of development.


There's evidence that a child's future health is influenced by more than just their parents' genetic material and can be impacted by environmental factors, but what is being done with that is something of a concern.


A new study identifies a novel gene, Inpp4b, that controls nerve conduction velocity. Investigators report that even minor reductions in conduction velocity may aggravate disease in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and in mice bred for the MS-like condition experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).


An enzyme called 12-LO promotes obesity-induced oxidative stress in the pancreatic cells and that has been linked to diabetes (and pre-diabetes, if you prefer made-up conditions mainstream science wishes studies would stop claiming to be about).

12-LO's enzymatic action is the last step in the production of certain small molecules that harm the cell, according to a team from Indiana University School of Medicine. The findings will enable the development of drugs that can interfere with this enzyme, preventing or even reversing diabetes.