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Current Ancient DNA News and Events, Ancient DNA News Articles.
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Kernels of history
Earlier this year Douglas J. Kennett, a UC Santa Barbara professor of anthropology, demonstrated that maize, or corn, became a staple crop in the Americas 4,700 years ago. It turns out he was just beginning to tell the story of the world's biggest grain crop. (2020-12-15)

Ancient DNA continues to rewrite corn's 9,000-year society-shaping history
In the Dec. 14 issue of the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, international team of scientists report the fully sequenced genomes of three roughly 2,000-year-old cobs from the El Gigante rock shelter in Honduras. Analysis of the three genomes reveals that these millennia-old varieties of Central American corn had South American ancestry and adds a new chapter in an emerging complex story of corn's domestication history. (2020-12-14)

A gene from ancient bacteria helps ticks spread Lyme disease
One reason ticks spread Lyme disease so well goes back to a unique evolutionary event. Researchers reporting in the journal Cell on December 10, 2020 discovered that an antibacterial enzyme in ticks, Dae2, protects them from bacteria found on human skin, while still allowing them to harbor Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Ticks acquired the gene for this enzyme 40 million years ago from an unknown species of ancient bacteria. (2020-12-10)

Fatty residues on ancient pottery reveal meat-heavy diets of Indus Civilization
New lipid residue analyses have revealed a dominance of animal products, such as the meat of animals like pigs, cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat as well as dairy products, used in ancient ceramic vessels from rural and urban settlements of the Indus Civilisation in north-west India, the present-day states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. (2020-12-09)

Bacterial nanopores open the future of data storage
Bioengineers at EPFL have developed a nanopore-based system that can read data encoded into synthetic macromolecules with higher accuracy and resolution than similar methods on the market. The system is also potentially cheaper and longer-lasting, and overcomes limitations that prevent us from moving away from conventional data storage devices that are rapidly maxing out in capacity and endurance. (2020-12-09)

New study helps pinpoint when earth's plate subduction began
According to findings published Dec. 9 in the journal Science Advances, plate subduction could have started 3.75 billion years ago, reshaping Earth's surface and setting the stage for a planet hospitable to life. (2020-12-09)

New and unexplored dimension in the study of protein-protein interactions
Cells accumulate glutamate and related molecules under stress, and so formation of high-order protein assemblies under these conditions has important biological implications. Specifically, this would represent a mechanism by which the presence of stressor compounds in the cell could control DNA replication. (2020-12-09)

New findings shed light on the repair of UV-induced DNA damage
A repair system in our cells fixes DNA damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, however the detailed process behind this is not fully understood. An international research team led by Professor Sugasawa at Kobe University's Biosignal Research Center has clarified the regulatory mechanism of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in recognizing and repairing UV-damaged DNA. This new discovery will contribute towards illuminating the onset mechanisms of diseases such as skin cancer. (2020-12-08)

New cost-effective technique facilitates study of non-bacterial plant microbiomes
Thanks to a new technique developed by plant pathologists in Connecticut, scientists now have access to an affordable and effective tool to facilitate the study of the entire non-bacterial microbiomes of any plant species. (2020-12-08)

The world's first DNA 'tricorder' in your pocket
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory scientists have built the first mobile genome sequence analyzer, making DNA analysis portable and accessible anywhere in the world. (2020-12-07)

Circulating tumor DNA indicates risk of relapse after transplant in DLBCL patients
Many patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) can be cured by a transplant using their own blood-forming stem cells, but as many as half eventually relapse. New research led by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists suggests that patients whose blood or stem cell samples harbor tumor DNA are likely to relapse. (2020-12-07)

How to use antibodies to control chemical reactions
In a collaborative effort a group of international scientists has recently demonstrated a way to control different synthetic chemical reactions with specific antibodies. Their work has been now published in Nature Communications. (2020-12-07)

Newly discovered fossils prove 'Shangri-La'-like ecosystem in central Tibet
During the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition in Tibet, an international research team from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology discovered a highly diverse fossil assemblage from the current elevation of ?4,850 m in the Bangor Basin in central Tibet. (2020-12-07)

Ancient migration was choice, not chance
The degree of intentionality behind ancient ocean migrations, such as that to the Ryukyu Islands between Taiwan and mainland Japan, has been widely debated. Researchers used satellite-tracked buoys to simulate ancient wayward drifters and found that the vast majority failed to make the contested crossing. They concluded that Paleolithic people 35,000-30,000 years ago must therefore have made the journey not by chance but by choice. (2020-12-03)

New compact model for gene regulation in higher organisms
Genes can be turned on and off as needed to adapt to environmental changes. But how do the different molecules involved interact with each other? Scientists from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) present a candidate mathematical model for gene regulation in eukaryotic cells. The study was published in PNAS. (2020-12-03)

The impact of Neandertal DNA on human health
A researcher at the University of Tartu described new associations between Neandertal DNA and autoimmune diseases, prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes. (2020-12-03)

Advancing gene editing with new CRISPR/Cas9 variant
Researchers report the ability to improve safety and efficacy using a CRISPR-Cas9 variant known as miCas9. (2020-12-03)

Scientists identify new genetic MND risk factor in junk DNA
Researchers from the University of Sheffield have identified a new genetic risk factor for Motor Neurone Disease (MND). (2020-12-01)

New cyberattack can trick scientists into making toxins or viruses -- Ben-Gurion University researchers
The researchers found that accessibility and automation of the synthetic gene engineering workflow, combined with insufficient cybersecurity controls, allow malware to interfere with biological processes within the victim's lab, closing the loop with the possibility of an exploit written into a DNA molecule. (2020-11-30)

New DNA scanning method could lead to quicker diagnosis of cancer and rare disease
Scientists at the University of Nottingham have made a major breakthrough in genome sequencing, which will enable them to search for the underlying causes of diseases in human DNA quicker than ever before. (2020-11-30)

Cereal, olive and vine pollen reveal market integration in Ancient Greece
By analyzing sediment cores taken from six sites in southern Greece, an international team of researchers identified trends in cereal, olive, and vine pollen indicating structural changes in agricultural production between 1000 BCE and 600 CE. In a study published The Economic Journal, the researchers combine varying fields of scientific research to provide evidence for a market economy in ancient Greece characterized by integrated agricultural production and a major expansion of trade (2020-11-27)

Defined blockade
The addition and removal of methyl groups on DNA plays an important role in gene regulation. In order to study these mechanisms more precisely, a German team has developed a new method by which specific methylation sites can be blocked and then unblocked at a precise time through irradiation with light (photocaging). As reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the required regent is produced enzymatically, in situ. (2020-11-24)

Helicates meet Rotaxanes to create promise for future disease treatment
A new approach to treating cancers and other diseases that uses a mechanically interlocked molecule as a 'magic bullet' has been designed by researchers at the University of Birmingham. (2020-11-23)

Study reveals true origin of oldest evidence of animals
Two teams of scientists have resolved a longstanding controversy surrounding the origins of complex life on Earth. The joint studies found molecular fossils extracted from 635-million-year-old rocks aren't the earliest evidence of animals, but instead common algae. (2020-11-23)

The microbiome of Da Vinci's drawings
The microbiome study of seven drawings from Leonardo Da Vinci reveals that conservation work, geographical location, and past contaminations leave invisible traces on drawings despite their optimal storage conditions: a novel aspect of art objects that could be monitored to establish a bioarchive of our artistic heritage. (2020-11-20)

Near-infrared probe decodes telomere dynamics
A new synthetic probe offers a safe and straightforward approach for visualizing chromosome tips in living cells. The probe was designed by scientists at the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Science (iCeMS) and colleagues at Kyoto University, and could advance research into aging and a wide range of diseases, including cancers. The details were published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. (2020-11-20)

A biochemical random number
ETH Zurich scientists have generated a huge true random number using DNA synthesis. It is the first time that a number of this magnitude has been created by biochemical means. (2020-11-20)

New tool to combat terrorism
Forensic science experts at Flinders University are refining an innovative counter-terrorism technique that checks for environmental DNA in the dust on clothing, baggage, shoes or even a passport. ''This microscopic environmental trace evidence, based on soil geochemical, bacterial and fungal analysis would complement and enhance current forensic intelligence tools,'' lead researcher Dr Jennifer Young says in new research in Forensic Science International: Genetics. (2020-11-19)

Geoscientists discover Ancestral Puebloans survived from ice melt in New Mexico lava tubes
New study explains how Ancestral Puebloans survived devastating droughts by traveling deep into the caves of New Mexico to melt ancient ice as a water resource. (2020-11-18)

A DNA-based nanogel for targeted chemotherapy
Current chemotherapy regimens slow cancer progression and save lives, but these powerful drugs affect both healthy and cancerous cells. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Nano Letters have designed DNA-based nanogels that only break down and release their chemotherapeutic contents within cancer cells, minimizing the impacts on normal ones and potentially eliminating painful and uncomfortable side effects. (2020-11-18)

New study could help predict which individuals are more susceptible to cancer-causing agen
New insights into the mechanisms behind how cancer-causing agents in the environment activate genetic recombination in DNA could help to explain some of the effects of exposure as well as predicting which individuals may be more susceptible to developing the disease, a new UK study has suggested. (2020-11-17)

UV light may be a greater risk for melanoma than suspected
Studies conducted in yeast show that exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) induces new types of DNA damage that may cause the deadliest form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. While melanoma has been associated with UV light, this study directly links UV exposure to the atypical mutations known to spread the disease. The results also indicate that UV light can induce a more diverse spectrum of mutations than previously suspected. (2020-11-17)

Genetic code evolution and Darwin's evolution theory should consider DNA an 'energy code'
Darwin's theory of evolution should be expanded to include consideration of a DNA stability ''energy code'' - so-called ''molecular Darwinism'' - to further account for the long-term survival of species' characteristics on Earth, according to Rutgers scientists. (2020-11-16)

Orbits of ancient stars prompt rethink on Milky Way evolution
Theories on how the Milky Way formed are set to be rewritten following discoveries about the behaviour of some of its oldest stars. An investigation into the orbits of the Galaxy's metal-poor stars - assumed to be among the most ancient in existence - has found that some of them travel in previously unpredicted patterns. (2020-11-16)

The first detection of marine fish DNA in sediment sequences going back 300 years
Far too little is known about the long-term dynamics of the abundance of most macro-organism species. We used sedimentary DNA technology to quantify marine fish DNA abundance in sediment sequences spanning the last 300 years. This study first shows the existence of fish DNA in the sequences and proves that fish abundance can be tracked using sedimentary DNA, highlighting the utility of sedimentary DNA for researchers to acquire lengthy records of macro-organism species abundance. (2020-11-16)

Light shed on the atomic resolution structure of phage DNA tube
Given that phages are able to destroy bacteria, they are of particular interest to science. Basic researchers from the Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) in Berlin are especially interested in the tube used by phages to implant their DNA into bacteria. In collaboration with colleagues from Forschungszentrum Jülich and Jena University Hospital, they have now revealed the 3D structure of this crucial phage component in atomic resolution. (2020-11-13)

New molecular atlases reveal how human cells grow and develop
Two cell atlases have been created that track gene expression and chromatin accessibility during the development of human cell types and tissues. The atlases provide a fundamental resource for understanding gene expression and chromatin accessibility in human development that is unprecedented in scale. One maps gene expression within individual cells across 15 fetal tissues. The other maps chromatin accessibility of individual genes within cells. (2020-11-12)

DNA repair supports brain cognitive development
Researchers at Osaka University showed that the enzyme Polβ functions in genome maintenance by preventing double-stranded breaks in DNA during brain development in mice. In mice lacking Polβ, these breaks occurred during epigenetic regulation of gene expression in the developing hippocampus, peaking two weeks after birth. The increased breaks were associated with abnormal neuronal dendrites and poor memory ability. (2020-11-11)

Stanford researchers develop DNA approach to forecast ecosystem changes
The rapid, low-cost technique is the first to analyze DNA left behind in animals' feces to map out complex networks of species interactions in a terrestrial system. It could help redefine conservation as we know it, identify otherwise hard-to-find species and guide a global effort to rewild vast areas. WATCH VIDEO: (2020-11-10)

Rapid test can ID unknown causes of infections throughout the body
UC San Francisco scientists have developed a single clinical laboratory test capable of zeroing in on the microbial miscreant afflicting patients hospitalized with serious infections in as little as six hours -- irrespective of what body fluid is sampled, the type or species of infectious agent, or whether physicians start out with any clue as to what the culprit may be. (2020-11-10)

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