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Why the 'wimpy' Y chromosome hasn't evolved out of existence
The Y chromosome has shrunken drastically over 200 million years of evolution. Even those who study it have used the word ''wimpy'' to describe it, and yet it continues to stick around. An Opinion paper publishing on August 6, 2020 in the journal Trends in Genetics outlines a new theory--called the 'persistent Y hypothesis'--to explain why the Y chromosome may be more resilient than it first appears. (2020-08-06)

Blood test could diagnose baby brain damage just hours after birth
An early blood test could detect which babies deprived of oxygen at birth are at risk of serious neurodisabilities like cerebral palsy and epilepsy. (2020-08-04)

Loss of adaptive immunity helps deep sea anglerfish fuse with their mates
The discovery of altered adaptive immunity in anglerfish helps explain how the creatures are able to temporarily or permanently fuse with their mates without experiencing immune rejection. (2020-07-30)

FSU biologist uses genome database to investigate cancer cells
Florida State University Professor of Biological Science David Gilbert is using the latest information about the human genome as a guide to better understand cancer. (2020-07-29)

New genome mapper is like "upgrading from dial-up to fibre-optic"
Researchers describe the first technology able to visualize hundreds to potentially thousands of genomes at the same time under the microscope. (2020-07-27)

SARS-CoV-2 infection of non-neuronal cells, not neurons, may drive loss of smell in patients with COVID-19
A new study of human olfactory cells has revealed that viral invasion of supportive cells in the nasal cavity might be driving the loss of smell seen in some patients with COVID-19. The findings show that non- (2020-07-24)

Cells react differently to genomic imprinting
We inherit half of our genes from each parent. For their function of most genes, it doesn't matter which parent a gene comes from. But this is not true for all genes: about 150 genes are subject to ''genomic imprinting''. They are active either only if inherited from the mother, or only father. Most ''imprinted'' genes are important for our development. Professor Simon Hippenmeyer, IST Austria, shows that brain cells react differently to genomic imprinting. (2020-07-23)

Born to be a cannibal: Genes for feeding behavior in mandarin fish identified
Some mandarin fish species (Sinipercidae) are pure fish-eaters, which feed exclusively on living juvenile fish - also of their own species. A research team led by the Chinese Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) and the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) has described the genome of four mandarin fish species and thus also identified genes for cannibalistic eating behaviour. Knowledge of the connections between the genome and feeding behaviour is of interest for sustainable aquaculture. (2020-07-09)

Unraveling the mystery of wheat herbicide tolerance
Genetically speaking, the loaf of bread you stress-baked during the COVID-19 shutdown is more complex than you think. Wheat's 16 billion genes, organized in not one but three semi-independent genomes, can overlap or substitute for one another, making things extremely tricky for geneticists trying to enhance desirable traits in the world's most widely grown crop. (2020-07-09)

Researchers develop software to find drug-resistant bacteria
The program could make it easier to identify the deadly antimicrobial resistant bacteria that exist in the environment. Such superbugs annually cause more than 2.8 million difficult-to-treat pneumonia or bloodstream infections and 35,000 deaths in the US. (2020-07-06)

Study shows antibiotic resistance genes persist in E. coli through "genetic capitalism"
A new study analyzes the genomes of 29,255 E. coli strains collected between 1884 and 2018 to examine the evolution of 409 different genes that enable the bacterium to resist various antibiotics. The researchers examined whether the genes that confer antibiotic resistance, once acquired, tended to unusually accumulate -- a phenomenon known as ''genetic capitalism'' -- or disappear because they are unused, through a normal evolutionary process known as ''stabilizing selection.'' Recently, genetic capitalism is found common. (2020-06-29)

Raw milk may do more harm than good
Raw or unpasteurized cows' milk from U.S. retail stores can hold a huge amount of antimicrobial-resistant genes if left at room temperature, according to a new study from researchers at the University of California, Davis. (2020-06-29)

Scientists create program that finds synteny blocks in different animals
Scientists developed a software tool that makes it possible to quickly and efficiently find similar parts in the genomes of different animals, which is essential for understanding how closely related two species are, and how far they have evolved from their common ancestor. The research was published in Giga Science. (2020-06-23)

Bread mould avoids infection by mutating its own DNA
Whilst most organisms try to stop their DNA from mutating, scientists from the UK and China have discovered that a common fungus found on bread actively mutates its own DNA as a way of fighting virus-like infections. (2020-06-22)

Chronobiology: Researchers identify genes that tell plants when to flower
How do plants know when it is time to flower? Researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have identified two genes that are key to this process. They were able to show that the ELF3 and GI genes control the internal clock of the plants that monitors the length of daylight and determine when it is the right time to flower. The findings could help to breed plants that are better adapted to their environments. (2020-06-22)

A continental-scale prediction on the functional diversity of stream microbes
Climate mediates continental scale patterns of stream microbial functional diversity. (2020-06-15)

Researchers uncover drivers of healthy gut maintenance
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have found two genes that regulate the differentiation of stem cells in the small intestine, offering valuable insight into how the body develops and maintains a healthy gut. (2020-06-15)

New method to identify genes that can drive development of brain tumors
Researchers at Uppsala University have developed a method for identifying functional mutations and their effect on genes relevant to the development of glioblastoma. The results show that a specific, evolutionarily conserved, mutation in the vicinity of SEMA3C disrupts the binding of certain proteins whose task is to bind genes and regulate their activity. (2020-06-09)

Study identifies network of genes that directs trachea and oesophagus development
A new study reporting how a network of genes directs the development of the trachea and oesophagus in mice has been published today in eLife. (2020-06-09)

New alcohol genes uncovered
Do you have what is known as problematic alcohol use? Then statistically you will also be particularly genetically predisposed to develop e.g. depression and insomnia. And to become dependent on drugs and tobacco. This is shown by a new international study in which researchers from iPSYCH are involved. (2020-06-04)

Key gene in leukemia discovered
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the most common forms of blood cancer among adults and is associated with a low survival rate, and leads to the inhibition of normal blood formation. Now, a research team at Lund University in Sweden has identified one of the genes that is the basis for leukemia stem cells' survival and multiplication. The study is published in Cell Reports. (2020-06-03)

Gene discovery in fruit flies 'opens new doors' for hearing loss cure in elderly
Scientists at UCL have discovered sets of regulatory genes, which are responsible for maintaining healthy hearing. The finding, made in fruit flies, could potentially lead to treatments for age-related hearing loss (ARHL) in humans. (2020-06-02)

Antibiotic-destroying genes widespread in bacteria in soil and on people
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found that genes that confer the power to destroy tetracycline antibiotics are widespread in bacteria. But the researchers have also created a chemical compound that shields tetracyclines from destruction, restoring the antibiotics lethality. The findings indicate an emerging threat to one of the most widely used classes of antibiotics -- but also a promising way to protect against that threat. (2020-06-02)

Pregnancy reprograms breast cells, reducing cancer risk
Women who are pregnant before the age of 25 have a decreased risk of breast cancer throughout their lives. Searching for the mechanism behind this life-saver, CSHL researchers discovered that pregnancy reprograms the breast cells to turn off a cancer gene and turn on a gene that arrests cell growth. (2020-05-27)

uOttawa researchers discover new sex hormone
When University of Ottawa biologists Kim Mitchell and Vance Trudeau began studying the effects of gene mutations in zebrafish, they uncovered new functions that regulate how males and females interact while mating. They changed the secretogranin-2 genes through specific mutation and found that it affected the ability of females and males to breed. It severely reduced their sexual behaviour. (2020-05-25)

The self-synthesizing ribosome
As the cell's protein factory, the ribosome is the only natural machine that manufactures its own parts. That is why understanding how the machine, itself, is made, could unlock the door to everything from understanding how life develops to designing new methods of drug production. (2020-05-21)

Scientists find out which of the metazoans has the smallest known genome
Researchers at St Petersburg University have deciphered the Intoshia variabili gene, the smallest representative of the parasite from the Orthonectida group. At present, its genome is proved to be smallest among all metazoans and includes only 5,120 genes. Phylogenetic relationships of Orthonectida have remained controversial for a long time. According to recent data from St Petersburg University scientists, these parasites are close to Annelida. (2020-05-20)

Family environment affects adolescent brain development
Childhood environment and socioeconomic status affect cognitive ability and brain development during adolescence independently of genetic factors, researchers at Karolinska Institutet report in a new study published in the journal PNAS. The study demonstrates how important the family environment is, not just during early infancy but also throughout adolescence. (2020-05-20)

African-American and white women share genes that increase breast cancer risk
The same genes that greatly increase the risk of breast cancer in US white women, including women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, also greatly increase breast cancer risk among African-American women. (2020-05-19)

A new epigenetic editing tool is developed to activate silenced genes
The research project is based on the CRISPR genetic editing technique and uses a plant protein to control gene expression in in-vitro cells. (2020-05-18)

The malaria parasite P. vivax can remain in the spleen upon expression of certain proteins
The malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax can adhere to human spleen cells through the expression of so-called variant proteins. These are the conclusions of a study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by 'la Caixa' and the Germans Trias i Pujol Institute (IGTP). The results, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that this could represent an additional challenge to eliminating the disease. (2020-05-18)

The carnivorous plant lifestyle is gene costly
The genomes of three carnivorous plants -- the Venus flytrap, spoon-leaved sundew and the waterwheel plant -- have been decoded. The result has caused some surprises. (2020-05-14)

Dock and harbor: A novel mechanism for controlling genes
In a recent study published in Molecular Cell, researchers at Kanazawa University report the role of cellular structures called PML bodies in regulating gene function. (2020-05-12)

Combining mouse and human data uncovers new gene regulating cholesterol
By combining the fine-grained detail available from animal studies with the statistical power of genetic studies involving hundreds of thousands of human genomes, researchers have discovered a new gene involved in regulating the body's cholesterol. (2020-05-04)

'Unnecessary' genetic complexity: A spanner in the works?
The promise of personalized medicine has not fully materialized, say two McMaster researchers, because the full sophistication of the genetic blueprint has a more complex and far-reaching influence on human health than scientists had first realized. (2020-05-04)

Finding the genes to build a better cancer treatment
A group of researchers led by Washington State University's Mark Lange, has found candidate genes that could eventually be used to manufacture Taxol more quickly and efficiently. (2020-04-28)

Icelandic DNA jigsaw-puzzle brings new knowledge about Neanderthals
An international team of researchers has put together a new image of Neanderthals based on the genes Neanderthals left in the DNA of modern humans when they had children with them about 50,000 years ago. The researchers found the new information by trawling the genomes of more than 27,000 Icelanders. Among other things, they discovered that Neanderthal children had older mothers and younger fathers than the Homo-Sapien children in Africa did at the time. (2020-04-23)

Reference genes are identified that are useful for genetic improvement in wheat
University of Cordoba Professor Miguel Aguilar participated in a published article on reference genes in the study of wheat meiosis, the process in which reproductive cells are generated (2020-04-21)

Novel technology aims to improve treatment of neurological diseases
Researchers at Princeton University are developing new ''gene promoters'' - which act like switches to turn genes on - for use with gene therapy, the delivery of new genes to replace ones that are faulty. The new promoters work especially well for brain and other neurological disorders and provide longer-lasting functionality compared to other promoters. (2020-04-17)

When fathers are pregnant
Reproduction is still one of the greatest mysteries in nature. Pregnancies are usually carried out by the female sex. Only in pipefishes and seahorses males are the pregnant sex. An international team of scientists led by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel has deciphered the complex modifications of their immune system that enabled male pregnancy. The results have now been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). (2020-04-13)

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