News That Matters

Tag: Gene

Scientists identify ‘jumping’ superbug gene resistant to last-resort antibiotic

Scientists identify ‘jumping’ superbug gene resistant to last-resort antibiotic

Science
May 7 (UPI) -- Scientists have found a highly-mobile gene that helps superbugs resist colistin, one of the most effective last-resort antibiotics. When more common antibiotics fail to stamp-out a dangerous infection, doctors have only a few options. The antibiotic colistin is one of them. Unfortunately, researchers have identified a gene that could soon render colistin unreliable. Scientists found the gene, mcr-9, while analyzing the bacterial genome of salmonella, and described the "jumping" gene this week in the journal mBio. "This last-resort antibiotic has been designated a highest-priority antibiotic by the United Nations' World Health Organization, and the mcr-9 gene causes bacteria to resist it," Martin Wiedmann, food safety professor at Cornell University, said in a news release. ...
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...