Genetics & Molecular Biology

DNA methylation is a molecular process that helps enable our bodies to repair themselves, fight infection, and get rid of environmental toxins, but new research has shown one way it can go awry: Obesity. 

Scholars identified how DNA methylation is associated with a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which can lead to liver cirrhosis and death. 
Their evidence is that DNA methylation has a role in the initiation of NAFLD-related fibrosis, 

Francisella tularensis bacteria are the cause of tularemia, a life-threatening disease spread to humans via contact with an infected animal or through the bite of a mosquito, tick or deer fly. The bacteria are able to suppress host inflammation when infecting mouse and human cells - and lipids help. A lipid is waxy, fatty acid but what helps bacterium to impair the host immune response and increase the chance of infection may also be a potent inflammation therapy against bacterial and viral diseases. 
Starting in the 1960s, a Green Revolution in India led to a boom in rice and wheat production and that helped reduce hunger - but it meant demands on the water supply and pollution from fertilizer.

When Indians have embraced modern technology more recently, pollution from fertilizer has gone down, but rice takes a lot of water. And "natural" rice is not great nutritionally. Nutrient deficiencies are already widespread in India today--30 percent or more are anemic--and many regions are chronically water-stressed. 
A gene called called C6orf106, or "C6", has existed for 500 million years, but understanding how it controls the production of proteins involved in infectious diseases, cancer and diabetes is only being understood more recently. The human genome was first fully sequenced in 2003, which means there are still thousands of genes that we know very little about.

Our immune system produces proteins called cytokines that help fortify the immune system and work to prevent viruses and other pathogens from replicating and causing disease. C6 regulates this process by switching off the production of certain cytokines to stop our immune response from spiralling out of control.
There is no existing cure for the common cold. The reason is simple: it is caused by a family of viruses with hundreds of variants, making it nearly impossible to become immune to or vaccinate against all of them. On top of that, the viruses evolve rapidly, meaning they can quickly gain resistance to drugs.

But there may be some new hope. A paper in Nature Chemistry discusses a new molecule, IMP-1088, that dual inhibits human N-myristoyltransferases NMT1 and NMT2 protein. Viruses 'hijack' NMT from human cells to construct the protein 'shell', or capsid, which protects the virus genome.
A small study published in Hypertension resurrects the notion that oral antioxidants, broadly dismissed as ineffective, could reap measurable health benefits if they are bioavailable. And it was in older people.

The study consisted of 20 healthy men and women age 60 to 79 from the Boulder area. Half took a placebo and half took 20 milligrams per day of a commercially available supplement called MitoQ, which is Coenzyme Q10 which uses chemistry to allow the antioxidant to penetrate the membrane of mitochondria, the energy factories of our cells. 
Retail banana display

Though genetically engineering food using science remains controversial in some circles, with concerns about genetically modified corn syrup in candy and claims that CRISPR can somehow be harmful whereas mutagenesis-derived foods can be labeled organic, progress marches on.

We're on our way to 9 million people and existing agriculture could easily handle it...if great agricultural land were evenly distributed. But is isn't evenly distributed, which is why the US and Europe can have robust markets for food created using an organic-certification process. Yield does not matter, just profit margins do, when land grows food easily.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is best known for use in bleach and hair treatments and is often invoked as a scary chemical by environmental groups promoting concern about food and products, but it is produced naturally in our bodies. A new study shows it is a useful chemical across nature; plants use it to control how their cells react to varying levels of light.

Like preventing plant sunburn. 

Hydrogen peroxide is a by-product of photosynthesis in parts of plant cells called chloroplasts, much like it is in our bodies by cellular respiration. Using a fluorescent protein that detects hydrogen peroxide, the researchers behind a new study in Nature Communications observed how H2O2 moves from chloroplasts and can be detected in cell nuclei. 

The documentary film Food Evolution provides a fresh, scientific look at the technology of crop genetic engineering and some situations it has, or could, help solve problems for farmers.  It shows the ugly politics and distortions that have maligned a useful technology that has served farmers well for twenty years, worldwide.