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Blog – Gene Patents Ruled Invalid

Story Summary: Next, lets look again at whether its proper to patent software, which is merely the reduction of a mental process. We will never know what is not discovered or not invented when factors affecting human motivation are changed. For your information, the BRCA1 gene was discovered in an academic lab (at Berkeley), funded by tax payers money. Dr. Mary Claire King made the initial discovery, and after that the other BRCA genes were also identified. Companies jumped into the fray, and patented things, but mostly on legal technicalities. Dr. Mary Claire King is now at the University of Washington. Myriads critics have long argued that they give the company a monopoly over this type of genetic screening, allowing it to keep prices high–the test costs more than $3000, despite continual decreases in the cost of genomic analysis tools–and preventing women from seeking confirmatory tests from other sources. Because the ACLUs lawsuit challenges the whole notion of gene patenting, its outcome could have far-reaching effects beyond the patents on the BRCA genes. The overall tone of the Courts ruling is best captured by this passage (from page 135):The identification of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene sequences is unquestionably a valuable scientific achievement for which Myriad deserves recognition, but that is not the same as concluding that it is something for which they are entitled to a patent. Its not yet clear how it will affect the market for BRCA screening. Its not yet clear how it will affect the market for BRCA screening. For the moment, however, we do not foresee this decision producing any radical changes in commercial, clinical or other activity surrounding Myriads BRCA patents, or gene patents more broadly, Vorhaus wrote in his post. For the moment, however, we do not foresee this decision producing any radical changes in commercial, clinical or other activity surrounding Myriads BRCA patents, or gene patents more broadly, Vorhaus wrote in his post….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

The dynamic genome of Hydra

Story Summary: Present addresses: Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK (P. A. W. ); Institute of Human Genetics, University of Heidelberg, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany (A. -K. Here we report the genome of Hydra magnipapillataand compare it to the genomes of the anthozoan Nematostella vectensis6and other animals. Comparisons of the Hydragenome to the genomes of other animals shed light on the evolution of epithelia, contractile tissues, developmentally regulated transcription factors, the Spemann-Mangold organizer, pluripotency genes and the neuromuscular junction. The genomic basis of cnidarian evolution has so far been viewed from the perspective of an anthozoan, the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis6. Hydrais a medusozoan that diverged from anthozoans at least 540 millions year ago. We generated draft assemblies of the Hydra magnipapillatagenome using a whole-genome shotgun approach (Supplementary Information sections 1-3and Supplementary Figs 1-3). Although the sequenced strain reproduces clonally in the laboratory by asexual budding, it is diploid with substantial heterozygosity (~0. Two complementary assemblies (CA and RP) were generated (Supplementary Information section 3) and deposited in GenBank. The CA assembly gives an estimated non-redundant genome size of 1. 9Gb (see Supplementary Information section 3for a discussion of genome size calculations). 4) as expected based on the longer branch leading to Hydrain peptide-based phylogenies6. Transposable elements make up ~57% of the Hydragenome and represent over 500 different families (Supplementary Information section 9). 1and Supplementary Table 3), is a non-long-terminal-repeat (non-LTR) retroelement of the chicken repeat 1 (CR1) family. a, The top panel shows phylogenetic relationships between four Hydraspecies based on ESTs (using Nei-Gojobori synonymous substitution rates; see Supplementary Fig. The bottom panel shows the fraction of the genome that is occupied by a specific repeat class at a given divergence from the repeat consensus generated by the ReAS (recovery of ancestral sequences) algorithm (see Supplementary Information section 9). Substitution levels are corrected for multiple substitutions using the Jukes-Cantor formula K= -3/4ln(1-i4/3), where iis per cent dissimilarity on the nucleotide level from the repeat consensus. Three element expansions are inferred, the most distinct are the most ancient at ~0. b, c, Example of periods of activity of a single HydraCR1 retrotransposon family (b) and the maximum likelihood phylogeny of the family (c). Electron micrographs reveal bacterial cells underneath the glycocalyx, the coat that overlies the apical surface of the ectodermal epithelial layer of Hydra(Supplementary Fig. Our assembly yielded eight large putative bacterial scaffolds as evidenced by: (1) high G+C content (in contrast to the low G+C content of the Hydragenome); (2) no high-copy repeat sequences typical of Hydrascaffolds; and (3) closely spaced single-exon open reading frames with best hits to bacterial genes (Supplementary Information section 11, Supplementary Fig. These scaffolds span a total of 4Mb encoding 3,782 single-exon genes and represent an estimated 98% of the bacterial chromosome. 12) and conserved clusters of orthologous groups of proteins (COGs) indicate that this bacterium is a novel Curvibacterspecies belonging to the family Comamonadaceae (order Burkholderiales)11. Non-metazoan genes among cnidarian ESTs have been reported previously12, and we have now found further examples of such genes in the Hydragenome assembly. These genes are candidates for horizontal gene transfer (HGT) (Supplementary Information section 12). Of these, 51 have no blast hits to other metazoans, except in a few cases to Nematostella. Potential donors of these HGT candidates are widely distributed among different bacterial phyla (Supplementary Table 15) and show no enrichment for close relatives of Curvibacter. The HGT candidates generally have fewer introns than Hydragenes and nearly one-half are single-exon genes (Supplementary Fig. This pathway could modify endogenous glycoproteins or proteoglycans in Hydra. We also identified 90 transposable elements that were potentially horizontally transferred into the Hydragenome. Transposable elements have been shown previously to be horizontally transferred in metazoans13. With the exception of engrailed, descendants of all of the classes of homeobox genes in the megacluster are found in Nematostella16, 17. Hydrais missing a substantial fraction of megacluster descendants16, indicating secondary loss. In addition to the loss of emxand evegenes, Hydrahas undergone several other marked gene losses; for example, it lacks fluorescent protein genes and key circadian rhythm genes (Supplementary Information section 14). All major bilaterian signalling pathways, including Wnt, transforming growth factor-b, Hedgehog, receptor tyrosine kinase and Notch, are present in Hydraand Nematostella. The head organizer, which is located at the apical tip of the adult polyp, is derived from the gastrula blastopore in cnidarians. Orthologues of a number of genes known to act in the Spemann-Mangold organizer in Xenopusare present in the Hydraand Nematostellagenomes. The extracellular portions of two Hydrareceptor tyrosine kinases22, 23contain a novel protein domain, sweet tooth (SWT). The SWT domain is also present in ESTs from the hydrozoan Clytia, but is absent from all other sequenced genomes, including that of Nematostella(Supplementary Fig. SWT is among the most abundant protein domains encoded in the Hydragenome. Given its presence in receptors and secreted proteins, we deduce that the SWT domain defines a large, diverse and novel set of signalling proteins. There are two members of the Sox B group in Hydra. Studies of diverse cnidarians support this scenario (see Supplementary Information section 14for details). Both cnidarians, however, lack crucial, specific regulators associated with vertebrate striated (troponin complex) or smooth muscles (caldesmon), indicating that these specializations arose after the cnidarian-bilaterian split. Hydraalso shows secondary simplifications relative to Nematostella, which has a greater degree of muscle-cell-type specialization, including specialized retractor muscle cells. Hydralacks several components of the dystroglycan complex (/-sarcoglycan and b-sarcoglycan, /b-dystroglycan and -syntrophin), which may lead to a less robust tethering of actin to the cell membrane than in Nematostella. Similarly, the absence of a bona fide myosin light chain kinase and phosphatase in Hydraindicates a divergence or loss of regulation by myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation. Thus, even among cnidarians, we see substantial variation in muscle-associated components superimposed on the eumetazoan core, with the Hydramuscular system representing a secondary simplification from a more complex cnidarian ancestor. 2a), and that these synapses contain dense core vesicles, paramembranous densities and cleft filaments26similar to canonical neuromuscular junctions in bilaterians. Together, these data indicate that a canonical bilaterian neuromuscular junction was probably not present in the last common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians. a, Electron micrograph of a nerve synapsing on a Hydraepitheliomuscular cell. Three vesicles are located in the nerve cell at the site of contact with the epitheliomuscular cell. AChE, acetylcholinesterase; ChT, choline transporter; MuSK, muscle-specific kinase; VAChT, vesicular acetylcholine transporter. High resolution image and legend (228K)Download PowerPoint slide (610K)In Hydraand Nematostella, epitheliomuscular cells have an apical junctional belt in the form of a septate junction, clear apical-basal polarity, and hemidesmosome-like contact sites with the extracellular matrix (mesoglea) on their basal surface (Fig. This indicates that the common cnidarian-bilaterian ancestor possessed a genetic inventory for the formation of all types of eumetazoan cell-cell and cell-substrate junctions. Similarly, the lack of occludin genes in cnidarians and other non-chordates (Fig. a, Schematic diagram of the positions of cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts in Hydraepitheliomuscular cells. Septate junction, red; gap junctions, green; spot desmosomes, blue; hemidesmosome-like cell-matrix contact, yellow. 18) that is able to interact with b- and p120/-catenin (Supplementary Information section 17). The sequencing of the Hydragenome has revealed unexpected relationships between the genetic makeup of the animal and its biology. Hydrahas a complete set of muscle genes but lacks mesoderm and forms muscles only in epithelial cells. TopMethods SummaryThe genome of Hydra magnipapillatastrain 105 was sequenced at the J. Craig Venter Institute using the whole genome shotgun approach. Complementary DNA libraries were prepared using standard methods and ESTs were generated at the National Institute of Genetics (Mishima, Japan) and the Genome Sequencing Center (Washington University, St Louis). ESTs have been deposited in the dbEST database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. TopAcknowledgementsWe are grateful to S. Clifton, R. Wilson and the EST sequencing group at the Genome Sequencing Center at the Washington University School of Medicine for their efforts in generating the HydraESTs and to the National Science Foundation for its support of the HydraEST project (grant number IBN-0120591). Funding for the sequencing of the Hydragenome was provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute. D. S. R. was supported by R. Melmon and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Work at the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute was supported by the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. T. C. G. B. was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG SFB617-A1) and from the DFG Cluster of Excellence programs The Future Ocean and Inflammation at Interfaces. T. W. H. was supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft including SFB488-A12 and the DFG Cluster of Excellence program CellNetworks. Support for H. W. was provided by the TOYOBO Biotechnology Foundation and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. (Mercator Professor) and Y. N. was provided by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. A. C. , E. F. K. , O. S. , H. R. B. , C. N. D. , D. S. R. and R. E. S. directed the project and wrote the manuscript. D. S. R. , J. A. C. , O. S. , T. M. , D. M. G. , U. H. , T. K. , S. E. P. , S. S. and N. H. P. carried out genome assembly and gene annotation at UC Berkeley. Construction of cDNA libraries and analysis of ESTs was carried out by H. R. B. , R. E. S. , D. F. K. , S. E. H. , L. G. , D. L. , L. L. , J. P. , B. B. , P. A. W. , T. F. , C. N. -F. Remember our threads are for feedback and discussion – not for publishing papers, press releases or advertisements. The Seeker is looking for a method to provide long-term storage of live insects….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Study uses Chinese wolfberries to improve vision imperfections caused by type-2 diabetes

Story Summary: Dingbo Daniel Lin, K-State research assistant professor of human nutrition, is studying wolfberries and their potential to improve damage to the retina. His findings show that the fruit can lower the oxidative stress that the eye undergoes as a result of type-2 diabetes. In our cultures history, we have traditional medicine literature that describes things like the wolfberry and its functions, Lin said. Oxidative stress is known as cell impairment of the production of reactive oxygen, Lin said. Cellular oxidative stress is involved in many human diseases, such as diabetes, vision impairment and blindness. The researchers also looked at the endoplasmic reticulum, which is where the folding process of proteins occurs in a cell. The in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that the wolfberrys phytochemicals protect the retinal pigment epithelial cells from hyperglycemia, or high glucose. Lin said wolfberries could be used as a dietary supplement, though the fruit isnt likely to be found in traditional U. S. food stores. Lin said wolfberries could be used as a dietary supplement, though the fruit isnt likely to be found in traditional U. S. food stores. He said consumers might find them in a Chinese food store or on the Internet. He said consumers might find them in a Chinese food store or on the Internet. The research is part of a fast-moving field called nutrigenomics, which studies the effects of food on gene expression and disease. At K-State, other researchers collaborated on the project: Denis Medeiros, professor and department head of human nutrition; Yu Jiang, research associate in human nutrition; Edlin Ortiz, junior in life sciences, Liberal; and Yunong Zhang, a former research assistant in human nutrition. At K-State, other researchers collaborated on the project: Denis Medeiros, professor and department head of human nutrition; Yu Jiang, research associate in human nutrition; Edlin Ortiz, junior in life sciences, Liberal; and Yunong Zhang, a former research assistant in human nutrition….Read the Full Story

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Vaccine with no jab: Protein vaccines for needle-free immunization through the skin

Story Summary: There are a few protein drugs that can currently be applied through the skin, but their production remains complex and expensive. Thus, his team has developed a short peptide, the low molecular weight protamine (LMWP) that is able to pass through cell membranes into the interior of cells. LMWP peptidescan be produced quickly, easily, and inexpensively in large amounts from the protein protamine. Protamine is a pharmaceutical agent, given to treat hemorrhages that occur after treatment with heparin or elevated levels of heparincaused by disease. The researchers were able to demonstrate this with various test proteins, linked to the LMPW, that were also labeled with a fluorescence dye. Particular accumulation of the proteins was observed in the epidermis. Activation of the immune system in mice was observed that was equivalent to that elicited by conventional immunization. Our skin is not just our primary protection against infections because it presents a physical barrier; our epidermis is also rich in Langerhans cells, which participate in triggering an immune response. Therefore, it may be favorable for an immunization if the vaccine accumulates in the epidermis. One particularly interesting aspect of this new non-invasive method is that the boosters required for many vaccination protocols could be administered by the patients themselves. This could increase the success of vaccination campaigns in poor and remote regions of the world, where medical facilities are scarce. The idea is that following administration of a DNA vaccine, the body converts the information in the DNA vaccine into a protein . . . In a paper published on April 24, 2008 in the journal Vaccine, a Massachusettss biotechnology company, Cure L . . . If successful, the universal flu injection would transform the way we vaccinate against . . . If successful, the universal flu injection would transform the way we vaccinate against . . . The book gave one equation and I (thinking back to chemistry) got another. They both had the same. water and plasma!!!Mar 30, 2010 Hello, Recently i was into chem books and read about this plasma matter. water and plasma!!!Mar 30, 2010 Hello, Recently i was into chem books and read about this plasma matter. water and plasma!!!Mar 30, 2010 Hello, Recently i was into chem books and read about this plasma matter. So now i know plasma matter is in the sun and all stars and also in the humble candle flame. What i wanna know is whether. What i wanna know is whether. What i wanna know is whether. (PhysOrg. (PhysOrg. (PhysOrg. com) — Amino acids are markers for potential life since they are the building blocks of proteins. com) — Amino acids are markers for potential life since they are the building blocks of proteins. com) — Amino acids are markers for potential life since they are the building blocks of proteins. 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 By mixing and matching choices from a buffet of 30 to 70 options, scientists are modeling waters behavior in surface and subsurface reactions and in heterogeneous atmospheric processes such as the formation . . . 23 hours ago | / 5 (1) | Scientists in Brazil are reporting for the first time that coffee beans contain proteins that can kill insects and might be developed into new insecticides for protecting food crops against destructive pests. 23 hours ago | / 5 (1) | Scientists in Brazil are reporting for the first time that coffee beans contain proteins that can kill insects and might be developed into new insecticides for protecting food crops against destructive pests….Read the Full Story

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Bringing dehydrated plants back to life

Story Summary: Bringing dehydrated plants back to lifeApril 1, 2010 Drought can take a serious toll on plants and animals alike. However, some plants, like the aptly named resurrection fern (Polypodium polypodioides), can survive extreme measures of water loss, even as much as 95% of their water content. As they talked, it became apparent that any differences between plants of related species that give some individuals the ability to survive very low water levels, while their cousins die after only moderate water loss, must be occurring at the cellular and molecular level. The plant is just as dry and brittle as can be, Balsamo said. It has lost 95% of its water, but its still alive! They found that not only is a particular class of proteins, called dehydrins, more prevalent during dry conditions, but, for the first time, they found that it was also prevalent near the cell walls. Dehydrins earned their name for their ability to attract, sequester, and localize water. The finding led the researchers to the conclusion that these water-surrounded dehydrins may actually allow water to act as a lubricant between either the plant cell membrane and the plant cell wallor even between individual cell wall layers. Layton added, Think of crumpling a sheet of paper over and over. Eventually the fibers are going to fracture and the paper is going to tear. They also observed that the ferns vascular tissue, found near the centers of individual fronds does not deform greatly, highlighting the importance of keeping this tissue intact once wateragain becomes available. If the dehydrin gene could be localized and transferred to other species, it could possibly confer the ability to resist drought to plants. The technique described in the open access journal Plant Methods, published by BioMed Central, allows . . . Professor Andy Pereira at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) has been working . . . com) — A genome is a complex system of genes and factors that regulate them. A European research team has clarified how such dynamic systems work, leading to a new way to predict genetic regulators….Read the Full Story

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Researchers look at reducing yield loss for crops under stress

Story Summary: Plant researchers are taking a long look at stress in order to improve crop productivity, especially when faced with issues of climate change. It may also allow drier areas of the planet to support sustainable yields and profitable crops, according to Howell. These sensors pick up on cues that appear as misfolded proteins. Much like a meticulous housekeeper would realize something was wrong if he or she discovered heaps of unfolded clothes in the closet, according to Howell. But protein folding is a very finicky process and can mess up when environmental conditions are bad, as during a period of intense heat. In the research, Howell and his colleagues reveal how these transcription factors find and activate their target genes. When coupled with a previous study from this group, the paper describes how there are actually two sets of factors involved. When coupled with a previous study from this group, the paper describes how there are actually two sets of factors involved. One set specializes in activating genes in response to salt stress. One set specializes in activating genes in response to salt stress. The factor in this study responds to heat stress and the accumulation of unfolded proteins. The factor in this study responds to heat stress and the accumulation of unfolded proteins….Read the Full Story

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Biologists discover an on/off button on plants alarm system

Story Summary: Biologists discover an on/off button on plants alarm systemApril 1, 2010 Scientists connected to VIB and Ghent University have discovered how plants turn their defense mechanisms on and off. The discovery offers possibilities for increasing the yield of therapeutic substances from plants. These defense responses require a great deal of the plants energy and reserves, which would otherwise be invested in growth and reproduction. Hormones, such as the jasmonates, are crucial in this process – and the plant produces these hormones when subjected to stress conditions. The presence of the jasmonates sets a complex chain reactionin motion, starting with the degradation of the so-called JAZ proteins. The presence of the JAZ proteins keeps the defense mechanism turned off. Until now, it has been unclear how the JAZ proteins are able to block the MYC2 proteins activity. As long as these proteins appear as a trio, they bind to MYC2 and that protein remains inactive. The moment that the JAZ proteins disappear – as the consequence of stress and the subsequent production of the jasmonates – MYC2 springs into action, triggering the plants defense mechanism. The researchers have worked with Spanish colleagues from the CSIC/University of Madrid and have used a proteomics-based technology developed by Geert De Jaeger (VIB/Ghent University) and Erwin Witters (VITO/University of Antwerp). This technology makes it possible to determine the composition and production of protein complexes in plants. Link between growth and stressIt has previously been known that TPL suppresses the expression of genes controlled by the growth regulator auxin. In fact, they not only influence the regulation of a plants growth but also other hormonally driven processes by interacting with proteins like NINJA. This new insight reveals how stress- and growth-related signaling pathways use the same molecular mechanisms to regulate gene expression in plants and fills a major gap in our understanding of how plant hormones such as jasmonates regulate gene expression. Now that more is known about the regulation of these secondary metabolites, scientists can look for ways to step up their production. html I didnt even realize that human cloning was yet scientifically possible. Structure of Evolutionary Theory, why did he leave this out?Mar 29, 2010 Hi, Ive been leafing through the index of Stephen Jay Goulds book The Structure of Evolutionary Theory on the amazon index feature and he has only mentioned Edward O. Wilson on two pages in the. Researchers writing in BioMed Centrals open access journal Silence have created the first class of reagents to potently and selectively inhibit miRNAs in thi . . ….Read the Full Story

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Brain tumors: Tissue stem cell turning into tumor stem cell

Story Summary: Brain tumors: Tissue stem cell turning into tumor stem cellApril 1, 2010 Mice overexpressing Tlx develop glioma initiating lesions. Overproduction of the protein Tlx in mice stimulates the development of malignant brain tumors from brain stem cells. The cradle of new neurons in the adult brainis well known. For many years now, the subventricular zone has been suspected to be the origin of specific malignant brain tumorscalled gliomas, the most deadly type of which is glioblastoma. When the scientists switched off Tlx, there were no more detectable stem cells in the brain and the formation of new neurons ceased. Using a molecular-biological trick, the investigators induced an overproduction of Tlx by the brain stem cells of mice. As a result, cell division activity in the subventricular zone increased, the cells left their habitual environment called stem cell niche, and started forming glioblastoma-like tissue lesions. In another experiment in which the researchers additionally switched off the p53 protein as an important cancer brake, invasively growing glioblastomas arose from the cancer precursors. Moreover, the scientists discovered that stem cells with increased Tlx production stimulate the formation of new vessels. This enables the cells to migrate into distant brain regions and, thus, to generate the typical coral-like growth of glioblastoma. If we boost it, the tissue stem cell turns into a cancer stem cell from which malignant glioblastomas arise. Tlx seems to play its fatal role not only in mouse brains. Studying tumor tissue from glioblastoma patients, Lichter and Reifenberger discovered that the Tlx gene is often present in multiple copies and, thus, more Tlx protein is produced. The mice whose brain stem cellsoverproduce Tlx are an ideal model system for such investigations. 12 minutes ago | / 5 (1) | 0 | A new study of brain activity in depressed and anxious people indicates that some of the ill effects of depression are modified – for better or for worse – by anxiety….Read the Full Story

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Stone Age Scandinavians unable to digest milk

Story Summary: Stone Age Scandinavians unable to digest milkApril 1, 2010 The hunter-gatherers who inhabited the southern coast of Scandinavia 4,000 years ago were lactose intolerant. This has been shown by a new study carried out by researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University. The study, which has been published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, supports the researchers earlier conclusion that todays Scandinavians are not descended from the Stone Age people in question but from a group that arrived later. One possibility is that these differences are evidence of a powerful selection process, through which the Stone Age hunter-gatherers genes were lost due to some significant advantage associated with the capacity to digest milk, says Anna Linderholm. The capacity to consume unprocessed milk into adulthood is regarded as having been of great significance for human prehistory. This capacity is closely associated with the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies, says Anders Gotherstrom of the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University. In the present case, we are inclined to believe that the findings are indicative of what we call gene flow, in other words, migration to the region at some later time of some new group of people, with whom we are genetically similar, he says. The researchers current work involves investigating the genetic makeup of the earliest agriculturalists in Scandinavia, with an eye to potential answers to questions about our ancestors. com) — Todays Scandinavians are not descended from the people who came to Scandinavia at the conclusion of the last ice age but, apparently, from a population that arrived later, concurrently with the introduction . . . com) — DNA study suggests that further waves of prehistoric immigration are waiting to be discovered. Central and northern Europes first farmers were immigrants with barely any ancestral ties to the modern population, . . . com) — A new study led by UCL scientists has found that current genetic data cannot explain why vast swathes of the world can digest milk. com) — A new study from the University of Leicester has found that most men in Europe descend from the first farmers who migrated from the Near East 10,000 years ago. html I didnt even realize that human cloning was yet scientifically possible. 1hour ago | / 5 (1) | 0 Scientists connected to VIB and Ghent University have discovered how plants turn their defense mechanisms on and off. 2 hours ago | / 5 (1) | 0 (PhysOrg. com) — A genome is a complex system of genes and factors that regulate them….Read the Full Story

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Dicerna Inks Deal With Ipsen, Second RNAi Partnership of 2010

Story Summary: The Watertown, MA-based developer of RNA interference drugs is announcing today it has formed a new alliance with Paris-based Ipsen. Financial terms of the deal arent being disclosed, although it ends up being net-neutral to Dicerna, says chief business officer Martin Williams. Dicerna, avid readers may recall, made some noise on the first business day of 2010 when it announced its first major partnership with Japan-based Kyowa Hakko Kirin. Like other RNAi contenders such as Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Dicerna is seeking to specifically silence disease-related genes in ways that havent been possible before with conventional small-molecule drugs or biologically-derived antibodies and other proteins. Dicerna seeks to differentiate itself from the RNAi pack with drug molecules that are a little longer than so-called small interfering RNA molecules, and which interact with a different enzyme. This is supposed to allow for drugs with greater potency, and to provide flexibility with using different modes of delivery into cells. Back in January, CEO Jim Jenson offered a preview of coming attractions when he said he hoped to nail down a $25 million Series B venture financing. That deal is still expected to close in the first half of this year, Williams says….Read the Full Story

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Small Molecules Have Big Impact For TB Bacteria

Story Summary: Understanding the genetic tools and tricks used by Mtb to control its behaviour is likely to give an idea how it manages to survive for such long periods. These molecules are able to subtly tweak the production of key bacterial components in response to environmental signals. This mechanism can enhance or inhibit the normal production of bacterial molecules from these genes. We think that the small RNAs may play a crucial role in allowing Mtb to alter its pattern of gene expression in response to the environmental conditions that it experiences within the host during infection, explained Dr Arnvig. Contact Our News EditorsFor any corrections of factual information, or to contact the editors please use our feedback form….Read the Full Story

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Using Stem Cell Therapy To Tackle HIV

Story Summary: The therapy involves extracting and purifying blood stem cells from the patients bone marrow. The small RNAs float around inside the immune cell until they encounter viral genes which they can stick to like Velcro. This mechanism, called RNA interference can block the production of key viral components from these genes. Transferring the antiviral DNA to stem cells would help to restore a large part of the patients immune system. The group hopes to start clinical trials of the therapy within 3 years. So far, very promising results have been obtained in the laboratory, and we are now testing the safety and efficacy in a pre-clinical mouse model, said Professor Berkhout. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to: These are the most read articles from this news category for the last 6 months: New Disease Among HIV-infected Gay Men28 Nov 2009A rare parasitic disease, which normally only is transmitted by contaminated water, has been shown to be transmitted by gay sex between hiv-positive men….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Cangene and Barda extend botulism antitoxin contract

Story Summary: Cangene and Barda extend botulism antitoxin contract Readers are referred to the cautionary notes regarding Forward-looking information at the end of this release Listed TSX, Symbol: CNJ & , /CNW/ – Cangene Corporation today reports that it has signed a no-cost modification to extend its botulism antitoxin contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). BARDA is the department within the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that manages the two biodefence-related, stockpiling contracts Cangene has with HHS. This modified contract extends the product delivery schedule out to , with deliveries spread evenly over the next three contract years. Contracts of this nature are always somewhat fluid – we continue to have constructive discussions with BARDA regarding our existing contracts and potential new ones, said , Cangenes president and CEO. Botulinum toxin was specifically identified as a target for products developed under the U. S. Project BioShield. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that Cangenes product will be used in non-infant, public health situations under an Investigational New Drug protocol, replacing similar products that have expired. About Hyperimmunes Hyperimmunes are purified preparations of specific immune globulins isolated from blood plasma. Immune globulins are the class of proteins that function as antibodies. The Company has been manufacturing its WinRho(R) SDF hyperimmune product for nearly 30 years, which has established the manufacturing technology. Most recently, the Companys development efforts have been concentrated on developing products with infectious disease and bioterrorism targets. This risk also applies to unknown or emerging viruses and other pathogens. About Cangene Corporation Cangene is one of Canadas largest and earliest biopharmaceutical companies. Cangene has approximately 700 employees in eight locations across and its products are sold worldwide. It operates three large manufacturing facilities – two in , Manitoba and one in , Maryland – where it produces its own products and undertakes contract manufacturing for a number of companies. In addition, it has a regulatory affairs, sales and corporate communications office in , Ontario. Cangene is focused on developing therapeutics for infectious diseases, and the Company uses patented manufacturing processes to produce plasma-derived and recombinant therapeutic proteins. In addition, the Company has several more products in development at various stages. Cangene, WinRho and WinRho SDF are trademarks belonging to Cangene Corporation….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Researchers harness the power of plants to fight hemophilia

Story Summary: And the very treatments that can help can also put patients lives at risk. The standard treatment is infusion with an expensively produced protein that helps the blood to clot. The approach also has the potential for use with other conditions such as food allergies and autoimmune diseases. Hemophilia treatment consists of infusing the missing protein into a patients blood. But in 25 percent of patients, the immune system rejects the therapy and makes inhibitors that stop the clotting factor from taking effect. In hemophilia B, up to 4 percent of patients develop inhibitors to the protein therapy and many develop severe systemic allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening. To help patients tolerate therapy, doctors try to exhaust patients immune systems by administering the therapeutic protein intravenously at frequent intervals and for long periods until the body no longer responds by producing inhibitors. While that brute force approach works for hemophilia A, it often doesnt for hemophilia B, in which patients risk death from anaphylactic shock if exposed to the protein therapy. To find a new, gentler approach to developing tolerance, Herzog teamed with Henry Daniell, Ph. D. , a Pegasus professor and University Board of Trustees Chair in the College of Medicine at the University of Central Florida, who has spent the last two decades developing transgenic plants for producing and delivering oral vaccines and immune-tolerant therapies. To maximize the amount of protein produced, they inserted thousands of copies of the genes into chloroplasts — the energy-producing centers of plants — using a gene gun. D. , and Babak Moghimi, M. D. , fed the encapsulated protein to hemophilic mice for an extended period. Surrounded by the hardy plant cell walls, the protein was protected from digestive acids and enzymes while traveling through the stomach. Surrounded by the hardy plant cell walls, the protein was protected from digestive acids and enzymes while traveling through the stomach. Surrounded by the hardy plant cell walls, the protein was protected from digestive acids and enzymes while traveling through the stomach. I think this is a milestone — nobody has previously achieved such levels of robust immune tolerance by any means using a noninvasive procedure. I think this is a milestone — nobody has previously achieved such levels of robust immune tolerance by any means using a noninvasive procedure….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Inovio Biomedical to Present at Future Leaders in the Biotech Industry Conference

Story Summary: Future Leaders in the Biotech Industrya entering its 17th year in 2010 a is the longest-running independent Wall Street conference serving the biotech community. This press release contains, in addition to historical information, forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on managementas current estimates and expectations and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. A Inovio is providing this information as of the date of this press release, and expressly disclaims any duty to update information contained in this press release. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, without limitation, express and implied statements relating to Inovioas business, plans to develop electroporation-based drug and gene delivery technologies and DNA vaccines and pre-clinical and clinical studies. Actual events or results may differ from the expectations set forth herein as a result of a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors, including but not limited to: Inovio has a history of losses; all of Inovioas potential human products are in research and development phases; no revenues have been generated from the sale of any such products, nor are any such revenues expected for at least the next several years; Inovioas product candidates will require significant additional research and development efforts, including extensive preclinical and clinical testing; uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and product development programs, including but not limited to the fact that pre-clinical and clinical results may not be indicative of results achievable in other trials or for other indications, that results from one study may not necessarily be reflected or supported by the results of other similar studies, that results from an animal study may not be indicative of results achievable in human studies, that clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, that the outcome of any clinical trial is uncertain and failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process, and that Inovioas electroporation technology and DNA vaccines may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy traits in clinical trials; all product candidates that Inovio advances to clinical testing will require regulatory approval prior to commercial use, and will require significant costs for commercialization; the availability of funding; the ability to manufacture vaccine candidates; the availability or potential availability of alternative therapies or treatments for the conditions targeted by Inovio or its collaborators, including alternatives that may be more efficacious or cost-effective than any therapy or treatment that Inovio and its collaborators hope to develop; whether Inovioas proprietary rights are enforceable or defensible or infringe or allegedly infringe on rights of others or can withstand claims of invalidity; and the impact of government healthcare proposals. Actual events or results may differ from the expectations set forth herein as a result of a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors, including but not limited to: Inovio has a history of losses; all of Inovioas potential human products are in research and development phases; no revenues have been generated from the sale of any such products, nor are any such revenues expected for at least the next several years; Inovioas product candidates will require significant additional research and development efforts, including extensive preclinical and clinical testing; uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and product development programs, including but not limited to the fact that pre-clinical and clinical results may not be indicative of results achievable in other trials or for other indications, that results from one study may not necessarily be reflected or supported by the results of other similar studies, that results from an animal study may not be indicative of results achievable in human studies, that clinical testing is expensive and can take many years to complete, that the outcome of any clinical trial is uncertain and failure can occur at any time during the clinical trial process, and that Inovioas electroporation technology and DNA vaccines may fail to show the desired safety and efficacy traits in clinical trials; all product candidates that Inovio advances to clinical testing will require regulatory approval prior to commercial use, and will require significant costs for commercialization; the availability of funding; the ability to manufacture vaccine candidates; the availability or potential availability of alternative therapies or treatments for the conditions targeted by Inovio or its collaborators, including alternatives that may be more efficacious or cost-effective than any therapy or treatment that Inovio and its collaborators hope to develop; whether Inovioas proprietary rights are enforceable or defensible or infringe or allegedly infringe on rights of others or can withstand claims of invalidity; and the impact of government healthcare proposals….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Alnylam Announces Additional Grant of Tuschl II Patent in Japan

Story Summary: (Nasdaq: ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that the Japanese Patent Office has granted claims in a second patent application (JP Application Number 2006-317758) for the Tuschl II patent series, entitled aRNA Interference Mediating Small RNA Molecules. a In May 2008, the Japanese Patent Office granted a related set of claims in the Tuschl II patent series (JP 4 095 895). The Tuschl II patent is exclusively licensed to Alnylam for RNAi therapeutics on a worldwide basis through an agreement with Max Planck Innovation GmbH, the licensing agent for the Max Planck Society. Alnylamas IP position is comprised of fundamental, chemistry, delivery, and target patents and patent applications that the company believes are necessary for the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics. About Alnylam Intellectual Property (IP)Alnylamas IP estate includes issued, allowed, or granted fundamental patents in many of the worldas major pharmaceutical markets that claim the broad structural and functional properties of RNAi therapeutic products. These include, but are not limited to: the Crooke Patents (U. S. Patent Nos. 5,898,031, 6,107,094, 7,432,249, 7,432,250, 7,629,321 and EP 0928290) issued in over 15 countries and licensed exclusively from Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to Alnylam for RNAi therapeutics, which cover compositions, methods, and uses of modified oligonucleotides, including double stranded RNAs, to inactivate a target mRNA mediated by a double stranded RNase, such as aRISC,a which is the cellular enzyme complex that mediates RNAi; the Glover a375 patent (EP 1230375), granted in July 2005, licensed exclusively to Alnylam from Cancer Research Technologies, Ltd. , and currently under appeal, which covers therapeutic uses of double-stranded RNA expressed from endogenous templates or expression vectors to mediate RNA interference in mammalian cells; the Kreutzer-Limmer I a719 patent (EP 1550719), owned by Alnylam and where the company has received a notification of aintent to granta, which covers siRNAs comprising 15-21 nucleotides in length stabilized by chemical linkages; the Kreutzer-Limmer I a235 patent (DE 10066235), granted in January 2008 and owned by Alnylam, which covers methods, uses, and medicaments of siRNAs, with a length between 15 and 49 nucleotides, expressed through a vector; the Kreutzer-Limmer I a945 patent (EP 1214945) granted in June 2005, currently under appeal, and owned by Alnylam, which covers compositions, methods, and uses of siRNAs with a length between 15 and 49 nucleotides; the Kreutzer-Limmer I a167 patent (DE 10080167) granted in October 2007, currently under appeal, and owned by Alnylam, which covers pharmaceutical compositions and uses of siRNAs with a length between 15 and 49 nucleotides that target certain broad categories of mammalian genes; the Kreutzer-Limmer II a061 patent (EP 1352061), granted in May 2006 and owned by Alnylam, which covers therapeutic compositions, methods, and uses of siRNA and derivatives directed toward approximately 130 disease targets; the Tuschl I patent (EP 1309726), granted in December 2009, and exclusively licensed to Alnylam from the Max Planck Society, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Whitehead Institute, which covers methods for using certain dsRNAs for RNAi; the Tuschl II a704 patent (U. S. Patent No. 7,078,196) issued in July 2006 and exclusively licensed to Alnylam from the Max Planck Society, which broadly covers methods of making siRNAs with or without chemical modifications; the Tuschl II a044 patent (EP 1407044), granted in January 2008 and exclusively licensed to Alnylam from the Max Planck Society, which broadly covers compositions, methods, and uses of siRNAs; the Tuschl II patent (JP 4 095 895) granted in May 2008 in Japan and exclusively licensed to Alnylam from the Max Planck Society, which broadly covers compositions, methods, uses, and systems of siRNAs; the Tuschl II patent (JP Application No. 2006-317758) granted in March 2010 in Japan and exclusively licensed to Alnylam from the Max Planck Society, which broadly covers compositions, methods, uses, and systems of siRNAs; the Tuschl II patent (Application No. 6,506,559), Kreutzer & Limmer, Glover, Li & Kirby, Pachuk, Tuschl, Hannon, Giordano, and Kay & McCaffrey, amongst others. In addition to fundamental patents, Alnylam is the exclusive licensee in the field of RNAi therapeutics for more than 175 issued chemistry patents owned or controlled by Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. broadly covering chemical modifications, including motifs and patterns of modifications of oligonucleotides, including RNAi therapeutics. These patents include: 2a-Ribose modifications of oligonucleotides (Cook, U. S. Patent Nos. In addition to fundamental and chemistry patents, Alnylam is also the exclusive licensee in the field of RNAi therapeutics for certain delivery patents, including those owned and controlled by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation, broadly covering delivery of oligonucleotides, including RNAi therapeutics, with liposomal formulations. 6,858,225); and, chemically modified siRNAs with adrug-likea properties for in vivodelivery (Soutschek and Manoharan, U. S. patent application 10/916,185 /Allowed). RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms ranging from plants to mammals. About Alnylam PharmaceuticalsAlnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The companyas leadership position in fundamental patents, technology, and know-how relating to RNAi has enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist. Alnylam Forward-Looking StatementVarious statements in this release concerning Alnylamas future expectations, plans and prospects, constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent Alnylamas views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Common copy number variations unlikely to contribute significantly toward common diseases

Story Summary: The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust, is published online today in the journal Nature. In 2007, the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) published the results of the largest ever study of the genetics of common diseases, revealing for the first time a number of genes which were found to increase the risk of developing certain diseases. These mainly occur when copies of the genome are passed down from parent to child. None of the three CNV loci is believed to be a functional variant – in other words, it is unlikely that they contribute to disease. This is certainly the case for the diseases that we studied, but is likely to be the case for other common diseases, too. There was a strong view that CNVs would be important for common disease, and that they would explain much of the missing heritability, says Professor Peter Donnelly from the University of Oxford, who chairs the WTCCC. Professor Donnelly believes that the estimates of heritability may have been overstated, and there is consequently less missing than was previously thought. The remaining genetic contribution to disease will likely comprise rare CNVs and rare SNPs, and epigenetic factors, as well as many more common gene variants and, to a lesser extent, common CNVs….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

TrovaGene Announces that its NPM1 Technology is Now Part of LabCorpas and InVivoScribe Technologiesa AML Cancer Testing Services

Story Summary: The NPM1 mutation status is associated with good disease prognosis and may influence treatment options. About TrovaGene, Inc. With its headquarters and product development in San Diego, California, TrovaGene has focused on development of tests using its patented transrenal nucleic acid technology. Transrenal DNA (Tr-DNA) and RNA (Tr-RNA) are short nucleic acid fragments from normal cell death that cross the kidney barrier and can be detected in urine. Safe and simple urine collection and analysis can replace biopsy or blood sampling and has a broad range of applications, including tumor detection and monitoring, infectious disease detection, prenatal testing, tissue transplantation, genetic testing for forensic identity determination, and testing associated with drug development. The TrovaGene molecular diagnostics assays will provide information that will enable physicians to provide personalized medical care for their patients. TrovaGene has a dominant patent position as it relates to transrenal molecular testing. In addition to these core patents it has numerous patent applications pending in the areas of cancer, infectious diseases, transplantation, prenatal and genetic testing. In addition to these core patents it has numerous patent applications pending in the areas of cancer, infectious diseases, transplantation, prenatal and genetic testing….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

RXi Pharmaceuticals CEO to Present at the Future Leaders in the Biotech Industry Investment Conference

Story Summary: Hosted by BioCentury Publications and Thomson Reuters the Future Leaders in the Biotech Industry Investment Conference will be held at the Millennium Broadway Hotel & Conference Center in New York City. RXi has a comprehensive therapeutic platform that includes both novel RNAi compounds and advanced delivery methods that can be applied for local and systemic applications, against targets that may be undruggable by other modalities. RXi Pharmaceuticals believes it is well positioned to compete successfully in the RNAi-based therapeutics market with its accomplished scientific advisors, including Dr. Craig Mello, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of RNAi; a management team that is experienced in developing RNAi products; and a strong and early, but broad, intellectual property position in RNAi chemistry and delivery. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about future expectations, plan and future development of RXi Pharmaceutical Corporations products and technologies. Actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by these forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by these forward-looking statements….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Movies for the human genome

Story Summary: This is the resource that researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and their collaborators in the Mitocheck consortium are making freely available, as the result of a study in which they have identified the genes involved in mitosis – the most common form of cell division – in humans. Published today in Nature, their work begins to unravel the molecular workings of one of the most fundamental processes of life: how one cell becomes two. The end result is that we now have a very rich resource for the scientific community, as were making all the movies and all the analysis data freely available online, Ellenberg emphasises: Scientists can go to the website, type in the name of their favourite gene, and watch what happens when it is silenced; they can find out what other genes have similar effects – all in a few mouse clicks, instead of months or years of work in the lab!But mitosis is not solved yet, the scientists say. They have yet to uncover exactly how these genes act at the molecular level – a task which will be tackled by a follow-up project called Mitosys. A year after we developed these new siRNA microarrays, says Rainer Pepperkok, who led the methods development at EMBL, theyre already in use by over 10 research groups from across Europe….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

454 Sequencing Study Unravels the Hidden Genomic Complexity of the Giant Mimivirus

Story Summary: Previous studies have shown that unlike most viruses, the Mimivirus has more genes than many bacteria and performs functions that normally occur only in cellular organisms. The results of the most recent study, led by a team from the Structural and Genomic Information Laboratory at the Mediterranean Institute of Microbiology in Marseille, France, suggest that the Mimivirus is even more complex than previously thought. In a quest to fully characterize the Mimivirus transcriptome and obtain new insights into its gene and protein functions, the researchers turned to the Genome Sequencer FLX System. Sequence mapping also allowed the precise delineation of most promoter regions and the identification of the sequence motif governing the early versuslate expression of Mimivirus genes. We are pleased to see continued widespread adoption of 454 Sequencing systems in virology research, said Ulrich Schwoerer, Head of Global Marketing at 454 Life Sciences. We are excited to follow the teams continued work in this field. About RocheHeadquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the worlds largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roches personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2009, Roche had over 80000 employees worldwide and invested almost 10 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 49. (1) Legendre et al. mRNA Deep Sequencing Reveals 75 New Genes and a Complex Transcriptional Landscape in Mimivirus. 454, 454 LIFE SCIENCES, 454 SEQUENCING, and GS FLX are trademarks of Roche….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Research and Markets: Genetic Counseling Practice: Advanced Concepts and Skills

Story Summary: Research and Markets: Genetic Counseling Practice: Advanced Concepts and Skills Genetic Counseling Practice: Advanced Concepts and SkillsThe first advanced-level genetics counseling skills resource As genetic medicine and testing continue to expand, so the role of the genetic counselor is transforming and evolving. Genetic Counseling Practice: Advanced Concepts and Skillsis the first text to address ways that genetic counselors can deepen their skills to meet expanding practice demands. This timely resource not only helps readers further develop their abilities to gather relevant data and interpret it for patients, it also aids them in surpassing their usual role by truly understanding patient situations, incorporating patient values into clinical practice, providing in-depth support, and facilitating thoroughly informed, autonomous decisions. In addition, oncology nurses, social workers, and psychologists working with genetic counseling patients and families; medical geneticists and physicians training in the field; and physician assistants will also benefit from this resource. Key Topics Covered:Genetic Counseling Dynamics 1) Introduction (Patricia McCarthy Veach, Bonnie S. LeRoy, and Dianne M. Bartels). 2) Complicated Shadows: A Critique of Autonomy in Genetic Counseling (Robert G. Resta). 3) Actively Engaging with Patients in Decision-Making (Andrea Zanko and Michelle Fox). 12) Genetic Counseling for Women with Intellectual Disabilities (Brenda Finucane). 13) Genetic Counselors: Caring Mindfully (June A. Peters)….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience, UT Southwestern researchers find

Story Summary: New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience, UT Southwestern researchers findUT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found new clues that might help explain why some people are more susceptible to stress than others. Specifically, the cells that these animals produced after a stressful event survived longer than new brain cells produced by mice that were more resilient. The study is the first to link the memory of a social experience with neurogenesis in the hippocampus, Dr. Eisch said. In this study, Dr. Eisch and her colleagues exposed some mice to social defeat by having the animals live in the same cage as larger, aggressor mice for five minutes a day, and in the same cage but with a barrier in place the rest of the day. Researchers then tested the mice to see if they were susceptible to stress. The researchers labeled the new cells of susceptible and unsusceptible mice so they could see how the cells divided. Both types of mice produced fewer dividing cells immediately after stress, but in the long run, mice susceptible to stress had more new adult cells than unsusceptible and control mice, who lived in cages with nonaggressor mice. Dr. Eisch and her colleagues also used radiation to prevent hippocampal neurogenesis in all groups of mice. We are very eager to see if these results carry over to other models of stress in animals and to explore the mechanisms underlying these changes, as these are critical steps to understanding how adult-generated neurons might be modulated to help humans in stressful situations….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith

Simplifying complexity — new insights into how genomes work

Story Summary: com) — A genome is a complex system of genes and factors that regulate them. A European research team has clarified how such dynamic systems work, leading to a new way to predict genetic regulators. Their findings promise to boost research into the functioning of genetic networks in general, and into the dynamics of the human genetic system in health and disease. Decades of research have shown that the resulting patterns of gene expression direct a cell or organisms development, normal functioning, and responses to environmental challenges. Trolling for transcription factorsUntil now, the most effective way researchers had to try to match genes and provisional transcription factors was to look for short DNA sequences that were known to bind to specific regulatory molecules. Doing it with a pipette takes a long time and costs a lot of money, says Kepcs. The GENNETEC team decided to address that problem by studying a new and independent way to predict whether a gene is controlled by a particular factor. They suspected that this periodic spacing is related to the way that DNA coils up inside the nucleus of a cell, and serves to optimise the functioning of related genes and transcription factorsby grouping them geographically. Scientists are always more comfortable if they understand the mechanism that produces an observed regularity. What we discovered is that there is a clear link between chromosome structure and gene expression, says Kepcs, a link that we can now predict in a very precise and workable way. Faster, more focused searchWhen the GENNETEC team combined their new positional predictor with the standard sequence predictor, they found that they could identify new gene-regulator relationships far more efficiently. Combining the two predictors allows us to predict the regulators of a particular gene much better, by cutting down on the false hits, says Kepcs. One of the consortium partners, NorayBio, based in northern Spain, is developing a commercial software package that will allow researchers worldwide to apply this more powerful approach to deciphering genetic networks. While Kepcs is pleased with this new research tool, he emphasises that the consortiums fundamental research on complex systems is equally important. Cells have just one genome, but with that one genome they can cope with multiple challenges, says Kepcs. We can use this biological solution as inspiration to make a new generation of algorithms to address complex problems better than before. The system is apparently controlled by a key protein that the researchers have named NINJA….Read the Full Story

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Recommendation and review posted by Bethany Smith


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