Genetics & Molecular Biology

Your local multiplex has been packed with superheroes lately: Robocop, Captain America and Spider-Man have wowed us this year and Superman, Batman and the Avengers are waiting in the wings.

But have you ever noticed how unlikely each hero is? A maimed policeman, a teenager bitten by a radioactive spider, an orphan who starts dressing like a bat—on the face of it, they don't sound very helpful. But each winds up saving a boatload of folks who need to be protected from the forces of evil.

3 million men across America experience infertility. Today, researchers described a key event during sperm development that is essential for male fertility - a protein controls DNA packaging to protect a man's genetic information. 

A genetic mutation
that causes albinism
 in Doberman pinschers has been identified. And the researchers discovered that type of albinism has certain characteristics that are evident in humans too. 

Paige Winkler, a doctoral student in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University, and Joshua Bartoe, an assistant professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, led the effort to discover the mutated gene that is associated with a form of albinism in humans. 

Proteins, those workhorses of the cell responsible for almost all biological functions, have to be adaptable and that means chain-like molecules must engage in an intricate three-dimensional conformation.

This process - protein folding - is one of the most important in biology. In the event of improper folding, proteins can't perform their duties and may even lump together in aggregates, which can lead to severe diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.

To prevent that, specialized proteins, so-called chaperones, help other proteins to adopt their proper shape. 

If you're like me, you always throw a little Pabst Blue Ribbon on meat. Some people use whiskey in their marinade.

At the Templeton Rye Distillery in Templeton, Iowa they are cutting out the middleman - they are trying to create pork that already tastes like whiskey. 
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).