Health News

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 09:08

Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a genetic cause of a facial disorder known as hemifacial microsomia (HFM). The researchers find that duplication of the gene OTX2 induces HFM, the second-most common facial anomaly after cleft lip and palate.

 

Friday, May 9, 2014 - 09:44

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have engineered a bacterium whose genetic material includes an added pair of DNA “letters,” or bases, not found in nature. The cells of this unique bacterium can replicate the unnatural DNA bases more or less normally, for as long as the molecular building blocks are supplied.

 

Friday, May 9, 2014 - 09:20

Helicosporidium is a lethal parasite of insects including caterpillars, beetles and blackflies. The evolutionary origins of this parasite have remained shrouded in mystery but recent studies strongly suggested similarity to a green alga called Prototheca. Evolution of parasites from algae is not unheard of. One of the most famous examples is the transition of the malaria parasite Plasmodium from red algae, with loss of genes encoding biological functions that are no longer needed in the organism’s new life as a parasite.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 14:57

A protein called suppression of cytokine signalling-4 (SOCS-4) is a key regulator of the immune response against influenza virus. It is important in controlling the ‘cytokine storm’ associated with the lungs of critically ill patients. These are the main findings of a new study in the journal PLoS Pathogens from researchers in Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne and the University of Melbourne.

 

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 11:06

A variant of the gene KLOTHO is known for its anti-aging effects in people fortunate enough to carry one copy. Now researchers find that it also has benefits when it comes to brain function. The variant appears to lend beneficial cognitive effects by increasing overall levels of klotho in the bloodstream and brain.

 

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 11:01

After cancer spreads, finding and destroying malignant cells that circulate in the body is usually critical to patient survival. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Chemistry & Biology have developed a new method that allows investigators to label and track single tumor cells circulating in the blood. This advance could help investigators develop a better understanding of cancer spread and how to stop it.