Archives for posts with tag: genetics

Researchers have found some of the mutations behind resistance to the antimalarial artemesinin. BBC News

It’s that time of the year when you are looking for Christmas gifts for the scientist in your life. Have a look at this post on xxpress PCR for some great DNA-themed ideas.

Mindful meditation appears to change gene expression, according to a US study. This includes reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which correlate with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.

Ants are more closely related to bees than to wasps, according to a study of the insects’ genomes and transcriptomes (the genes that are actively being translated into proteins).

A change in the gene for aquaporin 5 causes diffuse non-epidermolytic palmoplantar keratoderma, where the skin on some people’s hands go white and spongy after being exposed to water because it becomes more porous.  It’s similar to what happens when you stay in the bath much too long, but sets in a lot more quickly.

See The American Journal of Human Genetics for the original paper.

The DNA in our cells, carrying our genetic code, is usually in a double helix. However, researchers have found quadruple strands of DNA in cells. These might be linked to certain types of cancer. Read the paper in Nature Chemistry.

Not so much a science fact now as a maybe one day – Craig Venter (the genetics visionary behind the first cell with a synthetic genome) has suggested that we could have 3D DNA printers at home that could download and print out a vaccine for us to administer ourselves.  Tests are under way.

So, are Olympic athletes genetically better at sport? According to an article in Nature, “almost every male Olympic sprinter and power athlete ever tested carries the 577R allele, a variant of the gene ACTN3“. This gene is expressed in skeletal muscle fibre and could have an effect on athletic performance – in total, more than 200 genes have been linked with athletic performance, including variants that improve endurance, or increase the numbers of red blood cells, so upping oxygen carrying capabilities in the blood. Read more on genetics at the Olympics in Genome Engineering.

London 2012 unveils anti-doping laboratory with laboratory service providers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and laboratory operators King's College London

Source: London 2012

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

Your genes might make you more likely to become an alcoholic. Researchers have found that copy number variations (CNVs; increases or decreases in the number of copies of each gene) seem to be linked with the chance of developing a dependence on alcohol.

Glass of beer

Having a genetic predisposition does not mean that addiction is inevitable, just that there is a higher risk, and it does not mean that people with the predisposition will not be able to give up, just that it may be more difficult and that they may need more support. The results are published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Researchers have found four new mutations in people with migraines without aura, the most common form of migraine. Other studies have also found links between migraine and genes on the X chromosome, which might explain why more women get migraine than men.

man with a headacheRead the paper in Nature Genetics.

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