Genetics & Molecular Biology

A gene that codes for a protein that scientists have found helps the body’s immune cells recognize and fight Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria has been implicated in premature birth risk.

The bacteria are found in the vagina or lower gastrointestinal tract of approximately 15 to 20 percent of healthy women, but may cause life-threatening infections, such as sepsis or meningitis in newborns, especially those born prematurely.

A research team gave old mice -  the equivalent of 70- to 80-year-old humans - water containing an antioxidant known as MitoQ for four weeks and found that their arteries functioned as well as the arteries of mice with an equivalent human age of just 25 to 35 years.

The MitoQ antioxidant targets specific cell structures - mitochondria - and may be able to reverse some of the negative effects of aging on arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease, they conclude.

In 2009, President Barack Obama slightly eased restrictions on the human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research that was first funded by his predecessor, President George W. Bush, but limited to specific lines. Using an executive order, Pres. Obama allowed for a few more lines to be created while still obeying President Clinton's Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which limited research on embryos.
You people in the developed world are certainly free to debate the merits of genetically modified foods, but can we please eat first?” - Dr. Florence Wambugu
The blind girl lurched toward me across the parking lot at Tirta Empul temple, mewling. I guessed she was ten to thirteen years of age, and shorter than she should have been. A whitish haze coated her eyes, each looking upward in a different direction. She moved herky-jerky due to poorly formed bones.

Stem cells taken from teeth can grow to resemble brain cells. Perhaps one dau they could be used in the brain as a therapy for stroke, say researchers at the University of Adelaide Centre for Stem Cell Research, who believe that although these cells haven't developed into fully fledged neurons, it may be just a matter of time and the right conditions for it to happen.

"Stem cells from teeth have great potential to grow into new brain or nerve cells, and this could potentially assist with treatments of brain disorders, such as stroke," says Dr Kylie Ellis, Commercial Development Manager with the University's commercial arm, Adelaide Research&Innovation (ARI).

Biomedical engineers at Columbia Engineering have successfully grown fully functional human cartilage in vitro from human stem cells derived from adult stem cells in bone marrow tissue. 

The genomics revolution has been going on for decades, but half of known eukaryote lineages remain unstudied at the genomic level.

A new survey, with results published in
of Trends in Ecology and Evolution, concludes that this is simply a popularity contest and the field is displaying research bias against 'less popular', but potentially genetically rich, single-cell organisms. The lack of microbial representation leaves a world of untapped genetic potential undiscovered.

While our chromosomes are relatively stable within our lifetimes, the genetic material found in our mitochondria is highly variable across individuals and may impact upon human health, say researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital.

Genomes are changing, they say, not just from generation to generation, but even and in fact within our individual cells. The researchers are the first to identify the extent to which the editing processes of RNA code can vary across a large number of individuals.


Some genetic diseases caused by an abnormal repeat in the DNA are known to become more severe with each new generation - this dreadful trait is called anticipation. Now a study by Portuguese researchers from Porto University has proved for the first time the existence of anticipation in diseases caused by a different type of errors that not a DNA repeat, in this case in the fatal neurodegenerative disorder Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy (FAP). 

Chronic pain is an unknown issue with unknown causes and a subjective definition but some people clearly have it. Researchers recently analyzed 2,721 people, all taking prescription opioid pain medications, for genes COMT, DRD2, DRD1 and OPRK1. The participants also rated their perception of pain on a scale from zero to 10. People who rated their pain as zero were not included in the study.

Low pain perception was defined as a score of one, two or three; moderate pain perception was a score of four, five or six; and high pain perception was a score of seven, eight, nine or 10. 

9 percent of the participants had low pain perception, 46 percent had moderate pain perception and 45 percent had high pain perception.