News That Matters

Tag: Gene

Lancelets help scientists uncover the secrets of vertebrate gene regulation

Lancelets help scientists uncover the secrets of vertebrate gene regulation

Science
Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The research is clear, the physiological complexity that makes modern humans -- and other mammals -- unique from simpler species is a product of gene regulation, not genet quantity. But when and how did vertebrates and mammals evolve the kinds of gene regulatory mechanisms that made human complexity possible? New research -- published Wednesday in the journal Nature -- suggests lancelets, fish-like marine chordates, can provide an answer to the question. "If you really want to understand what makes vertebrates, mammals, humans special, you need to have this basis to compare them, evolutionarily," Ferdinand Marlétaz, a geneticist at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, said in a news release. New genomic analysis suggests organisms that emerged just aft...
Rice 'safely conserved' in Philippines gene bank

Rice 'safely conserved' in Philippines gene bank

Science
Scientists say that more than 100 thousand varieties of rice have been safeguarded for the future.Samples in the world's largest rice gene bank in the Philippines are being used to help farmers develop rice crops that can survive drought and flooding.The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) gene bank has secured permanent funding from the Crop Trust.It is part of international efforts to store seeds in gene banks to protect food supplies in a warming world."These seeds are miracles - we believe that in this natural diversity of rice you have almost any trait that you would want to look for," said Marie Haga, executive director of the international non-profit organisation, the Crop Trust.She said rice is relatively easy to...
Viruses affected gene flow between humans, Neanderthals

Viruses affected gene flow between humans, Neanderthals

Science
Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Previous studies have confirmed interbreeding among humans and Neanderthals. Now, a new genetic survey has revealed gene flow between humans and Neanderthals was mediated by viral transmissions. "It's not a stretch to imagine that when modern humans met up with Neanderthals, they infected each other with pathogens that came from their respective environments," David Enard, an assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, said in a news release. "By interbreeding with each other, they also passed along genetic adaptations to cope with some of those pathogens." Scientists think humans first interacted with Neanderthals in Eurasia, after migrating out of Africa 70,000 years ago. Humans brought viruses that Neanderthals had no natural im...
Gene editing wipes out mosquitoes in the lab

Gene editing wipes out mosquitoes in the lab

Science
Researchers have used gene editing to completely eliminate populations of mosquitoes in the lab.The team tested their technique on the mosquito Anopheles gambiae, which transmits malaria.They altered part of a gene called doublesex, which determines whether an individual mosquito develops as a male or as a female. This allowed the Imperial College London scientists to block reproduction in the female mosquitoes.They want to see if the technology could one day be used to control mosquito populations in the wild.Writing in the journal Nature Biotechnology, Prof Andrea Crisanti and colleagues report that caged populations of Anopheles gambiae collapsed within 7-11 generations.Dr Crisanti said: "2016 marked the first time in over two...
New 'zombie' gene found in elephants could help humans fight cancer

New 'zombie' gene found in elephants could help humans fight cancer

Health
They may not be the fastest or the smartest or even the scariest, but when it comes to beating cancer, elephants are the superheroes of the living world. It's a phenomenon that has baffled scientists since the 1970s. After all, at their size, they should have a much higher rate of the disease. The larger a living thing, the more the cells, and the more the cells, the more chance one of them turns out to be cancerous -- which is why tall people are more vulnerable to the disease than short people and why Marmaduke is much more likely to get cancer than the Taco Bell Chihuahua. And yet, cancer rates among elephants is less than 5 percent, comparable to the rates in much smaller animals. The lifetime cancer mortality rate for humans is about 20 percent. So what gives? With all those cells...