Disease-resistant pigs and oily plants – why UK scientists seek to alter food genes | GM

On 24 July 2019, Boris Johnson stood outside 10 Downing Street and delivered his first speech as prime minister. Among the many pledges he made was a promise that he was going “to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules”. Such a move would allow the nation to “develop the blight-resistant crops … Read more

Why African scientists are studying the genes of African species, and how they do it

DNA is the blueprint of life. All the information that an organism needs to survive, reproduce, adapt to environments or survive a disease is in its DNA. That’s why genomics – studying DNA and genes – is so important. It involves sequencing species’ parts or the entire genome. This is a scientific method to determine … Read more

Labs Are Assembling Synthetic Genes, and It’s Cheaper Than Ever

In a sense, all life as we have known it boils down to four letters: G, C, A and T. Organized in unique patterns and repetition, these nucleotides (guanine, cytosine, adenine and thymine) form all DNA. But, imagine if it was not limited to four characters. “What if the genetic alphabet had more letters? Would … Read more

AI-Designed Protein Can Awaken Silenced Genes, One by One

Hannele Ruohola Baker and Shiri Levy discuss a new technique for awakening silenced genes in Ruohola-Baker’s lab at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Credit: Thatcher Heldring / UW Medicine Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Technique allows researchers to toggle on individual genes that regulate cell growth, development, and function. By combining … Read more

Huge Study Finds Blood Proteins That Could Increase Risk of Severe COVID

Multiple factors play a role in complex diseases like COVID, and knowing what they are is important for predicting how different people will be affected. Early on in the pandemic, being older, overweight, or smoking were identified as increasing your risk of developing severe COVID. This then informed public health decisions – the elderly were … Read more

Study offers insight into molecular biology of the brain in bipolar disorder patients

In a comprehensive study involving one of the largest-ever samples of post-mortem brains, scientists at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, in collaboration with researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, have pinpointed significant differences in gene expression in two specific regions of the brains of hundreds of … Read more

Looking at genes through a human lens

We are told to be wary of looking at the natural world through a human lens. From projecting human intentions onto animals or using language that suggests natural processes have purpose, scientists are taught to avoid “anthropomorphising”. Yet, this kind of thinking can have significant explanatory power – think of Richard Dawkins’ famous “selfish genes”. … Read more

Why Sex Chromosomes Matter When It Comes to Heart Disease

Most mammals, including humans, have two sex chromosomes, X and Y. One sex chromosome is usually inherited from each parent, and they pair up as either XX or XY in every cell of the body. People with XX chromosomes typically identify as female, and people with XY chromosomes typically identify as male. The genes on … Read more

AI-designed protein awakens silenced genes, one by one – BIOENGINEER.ORG

By combining CRISPR technology with a protein designed with artificial intelligence, it is possible to awaken individual dormant genes by disabling the chemical “off switches” that silence them. Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle describe this finding in the journal Cell Reports. Credit: Thatcher Heldring / UW Medicine Institute for … Read more

What you eat can reprogram your genes

Credit: CC0 Public Domain. People typically think of food as calories, energy and sustenance. However, the latest evidence suggests that food also “talks” to our genome, which is the genetic blueprint that directs the way the body functions down to the cellular level. This communication between food and genes may affect your health, physiology and … Read more