Genetics & Molecular Biology

Improve your eating habits and will improve your health, common medical wisdom goes.

A new article in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology finds that we might as well keep eating poorly. They contend that the effects of poor eating habits persist after dietary habits are improved. In their mouse study, even after successful treatment of atherosclerosis (including lowering of blood cholesterol and a change in dietary habits) the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle still affected the way the immune system functions.


Cell division is central to life and the last stage, when two daughter cells split from each other, has fascinated scientists since the dawn of cellular biology.

The name given to this process by those early biologists, cytokinesis, translates as "cell movement" and captures the sense of a highly active and organized series of events. Studying the final step, when the dividing cell creates a furrow before cleaving in two, has been difficult.  How does the cell signal where the furrow should be?  


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) became the target of researchers a decade ago due to restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). While media reports were claiming biology was dead if President Bush didn't violate President Clinton's Dickey-Wicker law, researchers instead moved to iPSCs and now they have been able to generate functional, three-dimensional human stomach tissue in a laboratory.



Greenpeace is set to launch a series of attacks against crop biotechnology this week. It has scheduled a news conference for Friday titled “Ecological Agriculture, A Climate Resilient Model of Agriculture: The Way Forward,” which purportedly makes  its case against vitamin-enhanced Golden Rice.


By Robert Wager, Genetic Literacy Project

There is tremendous controversy about genetically modified (GM) crops and derived food. Even the definition of what is a GM crop can differ depending upon with whom you talk. From a strictly scientific perspective all food has been manipulated at the genetic level by human activity; therefore all foods are genetically modified.

A more scientifically precise term for what goes by the popular term GMOs is genetically engineered (GE). This definition involves the use of recombinant DNA technology in the crop breeding process.


Imagine we lived in a world where spontaneous mutations were caused by radiation and then released on an unsuspecting public without any testing.

Well, we do. It's called nature

High-energy cosmic rays have been breaking chromosomes into pieces that reattach randomly, and sometimes creating genes that didn't previously exist, for as long as some thing has eaten some other thing.

Disrupted circadian clocks are listed as a possible reason that shift workers experience higher incidences of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer.

The body's primary circadian clock, which regulates sleep and eating, is in the brain, but other body tissues also have circadian clocks, including the liver, which regulates blood glucose levels. 

In a new study in Diabetes online, University of Utah researchers show that dietary iron plays an important role in the circadian clock of the liver. Judith A. Simcox, Ph.D., a University of Utah postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry, is the study's lead author.


Obesity was once only for the wealthy, then it was only for Americans and the science engine that made food cheap for all, but now globalization has made it possible for the rich and poor worldwide to be fat - which brings greater risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

No one wants to eat less delicious food, but they would take a pill to shed fad and a team ed by Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the University Hospital Bonn believe they have come one step closer to that.  They have found that a signaling molecule can stimulate brown fat and burn energy from food: The body's own adenosine activates brown fat and "browns" white fat. 


It sounds a little trampy to humans but in nature, it's not unusual for a female to copulate with several males in quick succession. Chimpanzees are a well-known example.  

When that happens, sperm war breaks out.

"The sperm of the different males then compete within the female to fertilize the eggs," says   evolutionary biologist Steven Ramm from Bielefeld University. "Generally speaking, the best sperm wins. This may involve its speed or also be due to the amount of sperm transferred. It can also be useful for the seminal fluid to be viscous, meaning it sticks inside the female reproductive tract to try to keep other sperm at bay."

Patients with severe psoriasis are more likely to have uncontrolled hypertension, according to a cross-sectional study using information collected from a medical records database, which the authors say provides further evidence of a strong link between psoriasis and hypertension.