Genetics & Molecular Biology

CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology, a way to generate very precise gene knock-out kits, has now been used to produce cows with resistance to bovine tuberculosis.

Bovine TB, caused by Mycobacterium bovis, can be transmitted from livestock to humans, primarily if raw milk is consumed (just one reason to embrace post-1860 science about food, namely pasteurization), and even other animals. 

The email was simple enough. It was a request from a member of the press asking “I would appreciate your reaction/comments to the recently published study on GMO corn for an article I am putting together on it. Deadline: Wednesday 4 January.”

Mitochondrial dysfunction, which leads to rare genetic disorders in children, some forms of heart disease, and most likely some cases of Parkinson’s disease, is bewildering in the variety and complexity of problems it can cause. 

Mitochondria are, after all, the energy factories contained inside most of our cells, they convert the diverse food we consume into a common energy type. No energy, no life. 

Vitamin D, which is produced by the body through exposure to sunshine, helps the body control calcium and phosphate levels, important for healthy bones. It can also be obtained from food sources such as fatty fish and egg yolks but it can be difficult to obtain enough vitamin D from food alone in countries with little sunlight so food is often fortified. 

For the benefit of the never-ending supplement fad industry, some papers have linked vitamin D deficiency with a host of health problems including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, autoimmune conditions, and now Vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, though the source is a systematic review of just seven studies so it may not warrant a panic attack just yet.

Cancer cells are so deadly because of their ability to quickly invade and a new study contends that part of the blame rests with mitochondria, the energy factories of the cell. Mitochondria are organelles inside most of our cells that generate energy and so play a crucial role in a tumor's ability to generate the energy needed to invade healthy tissue.
We've all felt sleepy after a big Thanksgiving meal and tryptophan usually gets the bad rap - but there simply isn't enough of it to make a difference. Yet clearly something is making many of us take longer naps after binging on supper.

A recent study examined 'food comas' using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and explained some of the causes behind this phenomenon. They created a system that can measure both the sleep and feeding behaviors of individual fruit flies and discovered that, in much the same way as humans, the animals sleep for longer periods following larger meals. Further studies also revealed that certain types of food can promote post-meal sleep.
In a recent paper, of 81 overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes who usually consumed diet beverages and were on a weight loss program, those who substituted water for diet beverages after their lunch for 24 weeks had a greater decrease in weight (-6.40 vs. -5.25 kg) and body mass index (-2.49 vs.
Cornell students want to "debate" GMOs tomorrow, and while finding anti-science activists is easy - Michael Hanson of Consumers Union will go anywhere to undermine food, that is why The Dr. Oz Show loves him, and they also got someone named Jonathan Latham of Independent Science News - what they couldn't find was a scientist.

In recent years, the incidence of breast cancer has been increasing worldwide, and breast cancer is becoming a serious object of public concern. The onset of breast cancer is closely related to the sex hormone estrogen, and estrogen antagonists such as tamoxifen have been used as anti-breast cancer drugs.

During pregnancy, the elevated blood estrogen level induces the proliferation of mammary epithelial cells, leading to the development of the mammary gland in preparation for lactation. The mammary epithelial cells eventually stop proliferation at late stages of pregnancy, impairment of which potentially results in breast tumorigenesis . However, the regulatory mechanisms of mammary epithelial cell proliferation during pregnancy have been unclear.

Yoshinori Ohsumi of the Tokyo Institute of Technology has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016 "for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy", the body's recycling system. Autophagy can rapidly provide fuel for energy and building blocks for renewal of cellular components, and is therefore essential for the cellular response to starvation and other types of stress. 

Despite the bizarre claims of supernaturalists like Joe Mercola, D.O., or writers on Livestrong, the controlled digestion of damaged organelles within a cell are complex. Autophagy kills the cells