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Yale Maps Evolutionary Changes of the Human Brain

March 6, 2015

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Researchers Map Switches That Shaped the Evolution of the Human Brain

New research from Yale University reveals a detailed catalog of human-specific changes in gene regulation and pinpoints several biological processes potentially guided by these regulatory elements that are crucial to human brain development. Thousands of genetic “dimmer” switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing […]

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Merlin Protein Promotes Effective and Rapid Wound Healing

March 5, 2015

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Merlin Promotes Rapid Wound Healing

New research from the Max Planck Institute details how the protein merlin regulates collective cell movement, promoting effective and rapid wound healing. Cells also follow a herd instinct, and they thereby communicate in a magical collective way. This is because a protein known as merlin, named after the mythical wizard of medieval England, plays an […]

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Scientists Discover a Gene for Brain Size

March 4, 2015

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Scientists Identify a Gene for Human Brain Size

A team of researchers has identified for the first time a gene (ARHGAP11B) that is only present in humans and contributes to the reproduction of basal brain stem cells, triggering a folding of the neocortex. About 99 percent of human genes are shared with chimpanzees. Only the small remainder sets us apart. However, we have […]

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Yale Develops a Faster and Less Expensive Way to Analyze Gene Activity

March 4, 2015

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A Faster and Less Expensive Way to Analyze Gene Activity

A newly published study details a method called modular, early-tagged amplification (META) RNA profiling that can quantify a broad panel of microRNAs or mRNAs simultaneously across many samples and requires far less sequence depth than existing digital profiling technologies. A team of Yale researchers has developed a simple method that could significantly reduce the time […]

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Study Shows How Quickly New Fat Cells Are Created

March 3, 2015

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Yale Study Shows How Created Quickly New Fat Cells Are Created

New research from Yale University looks at the creation and expansion of white fat cells, and how these fat cells are created. Once fat cells form, they might shrink during weight loss, but they do not disappear, a fact that has derailed many a diet. Yale researchers in the March 2 issue of the journal […]

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Antifreeze Protein Fights Frostbite in Mice

February 26, 2015

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Antifreeze Protein Fights Frostbite

A new study from Yale University shows that a protein that protects ticks from freezing temperatures also prevents frostbite when introduced in mice. This is the first study to demonstrate the protein’s ability to boost frostbite resistance in an adult mammal. The research was published February 25 in the journal PLOS ONE. Several animal species, […]

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Nanotubular Structures Enable a Direct Exchange of Nutrients Between Bacteria

February 23, 2015

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Bacteria Connect to Each Other Via Nanotubes

New research from the Max Planck Institute shows that some bacteria can form nanotubular structures between single cells that enable a direct exchange of nutrients. It is well-known that bacteria can support each others’ growth and exchange nutrients. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and their colleagues at the […]

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Yale Neurobiologists Discover Surprising Trigger of New Brain Cell Growth

February 19, 2015

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Researchers Find Trigger of New Brain Cell Growth

A newly published study from Yale University shows that adult hippocampal neural stem cells (NSCs) express vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) 3 and its ligand VEGF-C, which activates quiescent NSCs to enter the cell cycle and generate progenitor cells. Scientists have discovered that the human brain can produce new neurons, but exactly how those […]

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Marijuana Munchies: How the Appetite Center of the Brain Responds to Marijuana

February 18, 2015

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Marijuana Munchies How the Brain Flips the Hunger Switch

A new study from Yale University observes how the appetite center of the brain responds to marijuana, revealing what drives the hunger brought about by cannabis and how that same mechanism that normally turns off feeding becomes a driver of eating. The “munchies,” or that uncontrollable urge to eat after using marijuana, appear to be […]

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Scientists Find Link in How Cells Start Process Necessary for Life

February 16, 2015

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Researchers Find Link in How Cells Start Process Necessary for Life

While exploring whether a structured RNA molecule from a virus that infects eukaryotic cells could function in bacteria, scientists found that it could initiate protein syntheses – a process necessary for life. Aurora, Colorado – Researchers have found an RNA structure-based signal that spans billions of years of evolutionary divergence between different types of cells, […]

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Barb Geometry of Asymmetrical Feathers Sheds Light on Evolution of Flight

February 11, 2015

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Feathers Shed Light on Evolution of Flight

By taking a closer look at feathers representing the evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to modern birds, Yale researchers demonstrate a better understand of how feathers facilitate flight in modern birds. The asymmetrical flight feathers of their wings are among the most distinctive features of living birds. But how are these feathers actually constructed, and when […]

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Scientists Discover the Greatest Absence of Evolution Ever Reported

February 9, 2015

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Scientists Discover Organism That Hasn’t Evolved

Scientists from UCLA have discovered an organism that hasn’t evolved in more than 2 billion years. An international team of scientists has discovered the greatest absence of evolution ever reported — a type of deep-sea microorganism that appears not to have evolved over more than 2 billion years. But the researchers say that the organisms’ […]

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Key Process in Brain Development Identified

February 6, 2015

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Yale Identifies Key Process in Brain Development

By studying miR-107 in zebrafish, Yale researchers have discovered that miR-107 plays a key role in early brain development, and perhaps in the development of brain-related disease. MicroRNA are the tiny non-coding RNA molecules that help determine whether genes are expressed or silenced. One particular microRNA — miR-107 — plays a key role in early […]

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New Research Shows Seizures Knock Out Brain Arousal Centers

February 5, 2015

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Seizures Knock Out Brain Arousal Centers

Researchers from Yale University found that during seizures the arousal centers in the brain stem are actually suppressed, leading to a loss of consciousness. People with epilepsy who experience focal seizures sometimes remain mobile but are unable to hear or respond to their environment. Yale School of Medicine researchers have discovered a surprising explanation for […]

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Brain Scans Help Reveal How the Brain Ignores Distractions

February 4, 2015

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How the Brain Ignores Distractions

By scanning the brains of people engaged in selective attention to sensations, researchers from Brown University have learned how the brain appears to coordinate the response needed to ignore distractions. Providence, Rhode Island (Brown University) — When we concentrate on something, we also engage in the unsung, parallel act of purposefully ignoring other things. A […]

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Researchers Uncover Genetic Trigger for Immune Response

February 3, 2015

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Yale Uncovers Genetic Trigger for Immune Response

Yale researchers have identified an unexpected relationship between mtDNA and the innate immune response, showing a new source of inflammation that could promote common diseases and aging. The thousands of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecules present in each cell are known primarily for their role converting food and oxygen into energy. But Yale researchers have identified […]

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How Cancer Uses Notch Signaling to Promote Metastasis

January 29, 2015

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How Cancer Turns Good Cells Bad

A new computational study shows how cancer cells take advantage of the system by which cells communicate with their neighbors as they pass messages to “be like me” or “be not like me.” Cancer uses a little-understood element of cell signaling to hijack the communication process and spread, according to Rice University researchers. Led by […]

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