Current DNA News and Events

Current DNA News and Events, DNA News Articles.
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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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Nut consumption causes changes in sperm DNA function
Researchers have evaluated for the first time the effect of a short/middle-term consumption of a mixture of tree nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts) on sperm DNA methylation patterns in healthy individuals reporting eating a Western-style diet. They have observed that the methylation of 36 genomic regions was significantly different between baseline and the end of the trial only in the group that consumed nuts, and 97.2% of the regions displayed hypermethylation. (2020-11-09)

Blood cell mutations confound prostate cancer liquid biopsy results
Unrelated mutations, when present in the blood, can give false positive results in men with advanced prostate cancer undergoing liquid biopsies. Such tests, which look for variants in cell-free DNA that tumors shed into the blood plasma, help determine suitable treatment options. Incorrect test results might mean the patient gets therapies unsuited for his cancer. A simple solution overcomes this problem. (2020-11-05)

New research traces the origins of trench fever
Trench fever was first clinically described in World War 1 when it sickened nearly 500,000 soldiers. New DNA evidence proves the disease predates that time period by thousands of years. (2020-11-04)

Stanford engineers have developed a genetic microlab that can detect COVID-19 in minutes
The microlab test takes advantage of the fact that coronaviruses like SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, leaves behind tiny genetic fingerprints wherever they go in the form of strands of RNA, the genetic precursor of DNA. If the coronavirus's RNA is present in a swab sample, the person from whom the sample was taken is infected. (2020-11-04)

Denisovan DNA in the genome of early East Asians
Researchers analyzed the genome of the oldest human fossil found in Mongolia to date and show that the 34,000-year-old woman inherited around 25 percent of her DNA from western Eurasians, demonstrating that people moved across the Eurasian continent shortly after it had first been settled by the ancestors of present-day populations. This individual and a 40,000-year-old individual from China also carried DNA from Denisovans, an extinct form of hominins that inhabited Asia before modern humans arrived. (2020-10-29)

Two studies expand insights into Denisovan ancestry and population history in East Asia
In a pair of studies, researchers provide evidence that expands our understanding of modern humans in eastern Asia and their interactions with their most elusive cousins, the Denisovans. (2020-10-29)

New Denisovan DNA expands diversity, history of species
Ancient Denisovan mitochondrial DNA has been recovered in sediments from Baishiya Karst Cave, a limestone cave at the northeast margin of the Tibetan Plateau, 3280 meters above sea level and adds more evidence to the record that Denisovans, a group of extinct hominins that diverged from Neanderthals about 400,000 years ago, may have more widely inhabited northeast central Asia. (2020-10-29)

Study finds 5 distinct dog types from 11,000 years ago
An international team of researchers that includes a Texas A&M University professor has studied the lineage of dogs and found that there were at least five different types of dogs as far back as 11,000 years ago. (2020-10-29)

DNA sleuths target ivory poachers
The tiniest amount of DNA is being accurately analysed to identify the origins of old ivory. This clever new technique has the potential to thwart international ivory poachers, by placing the origins of ivory pieces into accurate source locations, thereby identifying specific areas where ivory poachers are actively operating. (2020-10-26)

Researchers solve 'protein paradox' and suggest way to exploit cancer weakness
Researchers from UCPH have discovered how thus far a mysterious function of the so-called MCM proteins protect the human cells against DNA instability, which can cause devastating diseases including cancer. In addition to their known role as molecular motors of genome duplication, MCM proteins control the speed of this process. How cells manage to constrain the speed of DNA replication has puzzled researchers for decades and has even been called a ''MCM paradox''. (2020-10-22)

Transcription factors may inadvertently lock in DNA mistakes
A team of Duke researchers has found that transcription factors have a tendency to bind strongly to ''mismatched'' sections of DNA, i.e. sections of the genome that were not copied correctly. The strong binding of transcription factors to these mismatched sections of regulatory DNA might be a way in which random mutations become a problem that leads to disease, including cancer. (2020-10-21)

Genome archeologists discover path to activate immune response against cancer
Ancient embedded elements in our DNA from generations past can activate a powerful immune response to kill cancer cells like an infection. (2020-10-21)

Highly effective tumor detection strategy for common childhood brain tumors
A team of scientists at Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have developed a way to more accurately both detect and monitor a common type of pediatric brain cancer, setting the stage for giving clinicians a real-time view into how the cancer responds to treatment. (2020-10-21)

Advancing wildlife genomics through the development of molecular methods
A team of scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), the Australian Museum and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) report a new method for identifying any genome sequence located next to a known sequence. Sonication Inverse PCR (SIP) can be used to characterise any DNA sequence (near a known sequence) and can be applied across genomics applications within a clinical setting as well as molecular evolutionary analyses. (2020-10-19)

CRISPR meets Pac-Man: New DNA cut-and-paste tool enables bigger gene edits
Gene editing for the development of new treatments, and for studying disease as well as normal function in humans and other organisms, may advance more quickly with a new tool for cutting larger pieces of DNA out of a cell's genome, according to a new study by UC San Francisco scientists. (2020-10-19)

A new protein discovered that repairs DNA
Our cells have DNA repair systems to defend themselves against this sort of damage. One of these systems is based on a protein, photolysis, which uses blue light to repair DNA damage before it leads to mutations. (2020-10-14)

Scientists home in on the mechanism that protects cells from premature aging
A new study by EPFL researchers shows how RNA species called TERRA muster at the tip of chromosomes, where they help to prevent telomere shortening and premature cell aging. (2020-10-14)

New study highlights links between inflammation and Parkinson's disease
An international collaboration involving researchers from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biology (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg established an association between inflammation and specific genetic mutations in Parkinson's patients. The study, recently published in the scientific journal Brain, highlights two biomarkers that could be used to assess Parkinson's disease state and progression. The results also suggest that targeting the immune system with anti-inflammatory medication holds the potential to influence the disease course, at least in a subset of patients. (2020-10-14)

New 3-D model of a DNA-regulating complex in human cells provides cancer clues
Scientists have created an unprecedented 3-dimensional structural model of a key molecular ''machine'' known as the BAF complex, which modifies DNA architecture and is frequently mutated in cancer and some other diseases. (2020-10-13)

Research team discovers mechanism that restores cell function after genome damage
Researchers at the University of Cologne have found out how cells can recover their development and longevity after damage by UV / discovery may enable therapy against premature aging (2020-10-13)

Sea star's ability to clone itself may empower this mystery globetrotter
The identity of wild cloning sea star larvae has been a mystery since they were first documented in the Caribbean. The most commonly collected cloning species was thought to belong to the Oreasteridae, on the basis of similarity with sequences from Oreaster reticulatus and Oreaster clavatus. (2020-10-12)

A dance of histones silences transposable elements in pluripotent stem cells
A study lead by SciLifeLab Fellow Simon Elsässer elucidates the mechanism of a peculiar type of heterochromatin, used by embryonic stem cells to silence 'parasitic' DNA-elements within the context of their highly dynamic pluripotent chromatin. (2020-10-09)

Research identifies sperm biomarker associated with couples' pregnancy probability
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have identified a single-measure biomarker in sperm mitochondrial DNA that may predict male reproductive health and pregnancy success. (2020-10-06)

Researchers zero in on genetic connection to postpartum hemorrhage
Researchers have identified genetic mutations that appear to protect women from severe bleeding after childbirth, a leading cause of maternal death. A preliminary study of the findings is being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2020 annual meeting. (2020-10-03)

"Immortal" in tree resin
The phenomenon of using DNA from old fossils preserved in amber already inspired Hollywood - in the film Jurassic Park, scientists reproduce the DNA of dinosaurs extracted from a fossil mosquito and thereby resurrect them. In reality, however, all previous studies in which researchers took DNA samples from insects enclosed in tree resin were useless under the scientific method. Researchers now detected DNA from ambrosia beetles that were trapped in recent tree resin. (2020-09-30)

Coming soon to a circuit near you
We know that DNA molecules express heredity through genetic information. However, in the past few years, scientists have discovered that DNA can conduct electrical currents. This makes it an interesting candidate for roles that nature did not intend for this molecule, such as smaller, faster and cheaper electric circuits in electronic devices, and to detect the early stages of diseases like cancer and COVID-19. (2020-09-29)

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