Genetics & Molecular Biology

A team of scientists have successfully transferred a receptor that recognizes bacteria from the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, a dicot, to wheat, a monocot.

The receptor can trigger a defensive response and confers increased resistance to bacterial disease. The research findings demonstrate that the signaling pathways or circuitry downstream of the receptor are conserved between evolutionary distant monocots and dicots. 
Would you want to know if you or your children had risk of hereditary cancer, a genetic risk for cardiovascular disease or carried the gene associated with developing Alzheimer's disease - even if they were risks that wouldn't be relevant for possibly decades or didn't have a cure?

 Researchers used data from a cross-sectional online survey of a nationally-representative sample of the U.S. population that was conducted as part of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health and found that 80 percent showed the same interest in genome sequencing for themselves as they did for their kids and 59 percent wanted to know if they had disease risks.
Rosacea is estimated to affect up to 16 million people in the United States alone, with symptoms typically including redness, visible blood vessels, and pimple-like sores on the skin of the central face.

Because rosacea affects facial appearance, it can also have a psychological impact on those who suffer from it, according to surveys by the National Rosacea Society.
Statins are associated with increased risk for diabetes, though it is unclear why. One hypothesis is that statins increase expression of LDL receptors and increase cholesterol uptake into cells including the pancreas, which could cause pancreatic dysfunction. Familial hypercholesterolemia causes decreased LDL transport into cells and researchers have hypothesized that with familial hypercholesterolemia, decreased pancreatic LDL transport would lessen cell death and ultimately lead to lower rates of diabetes.  

It was good to be a rampaging Mongol warlord circa 1200 A.D. - at least when it came to having a lot of sex and killing off your genetic rivals.

But he was not the only one. A new study finds that millions of Asian men share a common ancestral heritage with 11 people dating back 4,000 years ago. The study examined the male-specific Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son, in more than 5,000 Asian men belonging to 127 populations. Though most Y-chromosome types are very rare, the team discovered 11 types that were relatively common across the sample and studied their distributions and histories.
Imagine a pair of twins that everyone believed to be estranged who end up closer to each other than anyone knew.

It may be just like that at the cellular level. We have two copies of each gene, one from each parent, and each copy, called an "allele," remains physically apart from the other in the cell nucleus.

Except a new study finds that is not always the case - at least in one set of alleles in mammalian cells. And the pairing has been observed to coincide with a critical time in the life of a stem cell: the moment when it commits to develop into a specific cell type, called differentiation. 

Why can cancer cells be so resilient, even when faced with the onslaught of nearly toxic drug cocktails, radiation, and even our own immune system?

A new research report appearing in the March 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal, shows that intermediate filaments formed by a protein called "vimentin" or VIF, effectively "insulate" the mitochondria in cancer cells from any attempt to destroy the cell. Under normal circumstances, VIF serves as the "skeleton" for cells by helping them maintain their shapes.

A new study finds that female mice treated with a small molecule that binds to a receptor found on muscle cells speeds up energy metabolism. Sorry males, this does nothing for you.

The molecule is found in tree leaves and the female mice could indulge in high-fat foods without gaining weight or accumulating fat. 

Research has shown that a hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is secreted after physical exercise, controls body weight gain by eliciting signals to suppress food intake and enhance energy expenditure. Manipulation of this signaling represents a promising strategy for combating obesity; however, BDNF degrades quickly in the body.
Gene expression, the process by which our DNA provides the recipe used to direct the synthesis of proteins and other molecules, is how we develop and survive.

To-date, science has made breathtaking progress, studying one single gene at a time, but a new approach developed by Harvard geneticist George Church, Ph.D., can help uncover how tandem gene circuits dictate life processes, such as the healthy development of tissue or the triggering of a particular disease, and can also be used for directing precision stem cell differentiation for regenerative medicine and growing organ transplants.
Scientists have discovered a new hormone that fights the weight gain caused by a high-fat Western diet and normalizes the metabolism - effects commonly associated with exercising.

Hormones are molecules that act as the body's signals, triggering various physiological responses. The newly discovered hormone, dubbed "MOTS-c," primarily targets muscle tissue, where it restores insulin sensitivity, counteracting diet-induced and age-dependent insulin resistance.