Gene Research: The Latest News And Discoveries

Posted: Mar 14 2017, 1:43pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Gene Research: The Latest News and Discoveries
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All the latest in Genetic Research

Genetic Research is a field of investigative sciences perpetuated for the purpose of understanding and identifying genes and their functions in all living beings.

In humans genetic research is mainly directed towards the expression and treatment of genetic disorders. Techniques involved in genetic research mainly include gene mapping and gene therapy.

Researchers Develop New Gene Tech to Curb Chronic Pain

Engineers at the University of Utah have used CRISPR gene-editing technology to cure chronic pain patients of their debilitating and miserable condition. Usually they suffer from, among other things, arthritis. The inflammation and degeneration causes the immune system to react and especially in case of chronic pain patients, things go from bad to worse and there is a life that feels like hell on earth.

Normally CRISPR technology is used to delete or replace certain genes. Yet here it was used to alter the expression of the genes by switching them “on” or “off”. The patients underwent a calming down of their agony thanks to this procedure. It therefore holds great promise for the future.

Read more about this new gene technology.

3D Mapping of Genome

For instance scientists at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association have developed a way to map the entire genome in 3D mode. Cells inside the human body contain genes which are several meter-long threads. These threads are packed within the cell nucleus however this packing produces spatial interactions, which are relations between the genes and the cells.

The genes tell the cell to carry out various functions based on these interactions, which are also termed as switches. The configurations of these switches are responsible for maintaining human health and various anomalies in these switches can lead to the formation of diseases. These switches are activated when the body needs to produce RNAs and proteins and then the switches are turned off.

The findings of this study got published in the journal Nature.

For a long time scientists have been baffled by the mechanism of how cells decide which genes they need to activate in order to carry out the requisite function. Every gene needs to be matched to the control sequence in cells. Scientists have been trying to study this mechanism for a long time however DNA strands are too thin to be visible under the microscope.

These are colonies of mouse embryonic stem cells, where cell nuclei are stained in blue. The DNA from the nuclei is sequenced to infer the relative positions of genes and their switches. Credit: C. Ferrai, MDC

In order to better understand the interactions between cells and genes scientists have developed a new technique of three-dimensional geography. This technique can effectively map the entire human genome in 3D. The technique is called Genome Architecture Mapping or GAM.

In this technique tissues or cells are subjected to flash-freezing after which individual nuclei are cut into slices. The various ‘hotspots’; regions of increased interaction between cells and gene strands, are then subjected to a mathematical model. The frequencies with which these spots appear in the strand determine their relevance which is then amplified to 3D resolution.

Read more details here.

DNA Deletion Tool

PLOS journal recently published an article which detailed how scientists have developed a tool which can effectively ‘Delete’ DNA in living cells. The purpose of this deletion tool is to understand how the non-coding DNA also known as 'Dark Matter' which makes up 99% of the total DNA, influences the cells. In this way scientists will be able to produce novel drugs for preventing disease causing genes. The tool called "DECKO" can delete any part of non-coding DNA. DECKO utilizes individual sgRNAs which act as scissors for cutting out the DNA.

Researchers Find Sudden Death Gene

In another turn of events a research coalition containing researchers from Canada, South Africa and Italy have identified the gene responsible for the baffling phenomenon of sudden death.

The syndrome occurs in young people and athletes. According to the scientists the gene is called CDH2, and mutations in this gene are responsible for causing arrhythmogenic right ventricle cardiomyopathy (ARVC) or in simpler terms cardiac arrest.

The coalition took 15 years to recognize the CDH2 gene which can lead to unexpected death. The new discovery, published today in Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics, can pave the way for preventive and counter measures in people with a risk of certain cardiac arrest.

The gene CDH2 produces a protein called Cadherin 2 or N-Cadherin which is necessary for normal adhesion between cardiac cells. When this protein is absent it can lead to defects in cardiac pathology.

Read more details about the Sudden Death Gene.

Gene Responsible for Social Phobia Identified

Genetic research is not only crucial for biochemical diseases but also play a big role in the manifestation of psychological disorders. Researchers at the University of Bonn have found out even problems such as social phobias have a genetic basis. According to the researchers a gene may be responsible for causing anxiety disorder which currently affects 1 in 10 individuals.

The gene is responsible for suppressing feelings of anxiety and depressiveness by encoding a serotonin transporter in the human brain. The results will be published in the journal Psychiatric Genetics.

Social phobia can be identified with symptoms such as heart palpitations, trembling, short breathes etc. when a person is surrounded by other people. the current research found the serotonin transporter gene SLC6A4 is involved in causing social phobia.

Read more details about Social Phobia Gene.

Fully Synthetic Yeast Genome

An international group of scientists has managed to make five novel synthetic yeast chromosomes. At least 30% of the genetic material of this primitive organism has been replaced. Seven documents were published regarding this research.

Termed the Synthetic Yeast Project (Sc2.0), the plans of the experts extend to completing synthetic versions of all 16 chromosomes by the end of 2017. The yeast used in this experiment is Baker’s yeast. Rather in the manner of computer scientists, the researchers add scads of synthetic DNA or remove it from the human, plant, bacterial or yeast genes.

Among some of the worthy ideals are the eradication of diseases, making of drugs and creating foods that contain a ton of nutrients. Baker’s yeast has always been a favorite material for the scientists. That is because its cells are similar to human cells.

Read more details about Completely Synthetic Yeast Genome.

Dolphin Genome Helps in Enhancing Human Health

New discovery reveals that dolphins will now save humans’ day through a new technology that can measure proteins. Both humans and dolphins are similar in certain ways, as they have similar proteins in spite of the fact that both live in different environments, said NIST's Ben Neely, a member of the Marine Biochemical Sciences Group and the lead on a new project at the Hollings Marine Laboratory, a research facility in Charleston, South Carolina that includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as one of its partner institutions.

Read more details here.

Neanderthal Genes are Still Present in Modern Human DNA

The last member of that strain of prehistoric man named Neanderthal died 40,000 years ago. However, in the genetic subtext of modern humans, this strain lives on. It is literally working behind the scenes. In odds and ends of the genetic sequence, Neanderthal man plays a vital role that cannot be forsaken no matter what.

Up until now, the contribution of this chinless and sloping foreheaded species of man was based on shaky evidence. Such is not the case anymore though. The question of whether these pieces of Neanderthal DNA function in the background or just remain mute assistants is an important one. In a scientific journal, the study regarding this fact was published thereby increasing the human knowledge base.

The diseases of modern times such as mental illness and lupus and even normal traits such as lengthy height may have a lot to do with Neanderthal DNA.

Read more details here.

Genetics Markers for Male Baldness Found

A recent study revealed over 200 genetic components and markers that were connected to male pattern baldness. Thus the answer to whether you will go bald or not is complicated indeed.

The embarrassing situation of male pattern baldness has earned many a moniker and phrase from “chrome dome” to “highway” through the course of the past two centuries.

Yet now scientists have found that over 200 genetic components are involved in this disease. These genetic markers point to whether the average joe will lose his hair or not with the passage of time.

Previously, a few genes had been identified regarding baldness. Yet now scientists have identified 200 genomic indicators in 52,000 male subjects. A series of equations were formulated to predict whether a person will suffer from baldness in the future or not.

Read more details here.

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