Genetics News

Genomic Regions That Set Humans Apart From Other Primates Carry Many Autism-Linked Mutations

September 22, 2016

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Autism and Evolution

New research from Harvard Medical School suggests that mutations in genetic regulatory elements may be important in both autism spectrum disorder and human evolution. Small regions of the genome where humans have diverged from chimpanzees contain a variety of mutations implicated in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, report Harvard Medical School researchers at Boston Children’s […]

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MIT Biologists Reveal How lncRNA Helps to Control Cell Fate

September 12, 2016

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Biologists Discover How RNA Helps Control Cell Fate

New research details how biologists from MIT deciphered the structure of one type of long noncoding RNA and used that information to figure out how it interacts with a cellular protein to control the development of heart muscle cells. Several years ago, biologists discovered a new type of genetic material known as long noncoding RNA. […]

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Yale Scientists Recode Organisms to Resist Viral Contamination

July 18, 2016

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Scientists Recode Organisms to Resist Viral Contamination

Scientists from Yale University have discovered a novel way to combat viral contamination of bio-factories that produce a growing number of drugs, chemicals, and fuels. The new method involves recoding organisms to stop horizontal transfer of genes — which viruses use to infect and hijack cellular machinery to reproduce. The study is published in the […]

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New Approach Identifies Genetic Markers Linked to Complex Diseases

May 10, 2016

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Study Identifies New Gene Variants for Treating Arrhythmia

Researchers from MIT have developed a new approach that identifies genetic markers linked to complex diseases. Many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and schizophrenia, tend to be passed down through families. After researchers sequenced the human genome about 15 years ago, they had high hopes that this trove of information would reveal the genes that […]

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New Genome-Wide Analysis Links Marijuana Dependence and Major Depression

March 30, 2016

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New Study Links Genes to Marijuana Dependence and Major Depression

A newly published genome-wide analysis of more than 14,000 individuals has identified several gene variants that increase risk of cannabis dependence. The analysis also suggests that the genetic risk for dependence on marijuana is associated with a higher inherited risk of major depression. The new study is published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. The study […]

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New Study Shows Neanderthals Boosted Our Immune System

January 7, 2016

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New Research Shows Neanderthals Boosted Our Immune System

A new study from the Max Planck Institute reveals that the mixing of archaic human forms played an important role in shaping the immune system of modern humans. When modern humans met Neanderthals in Europe and the two species began interbreeding many thousands of years ago, the exchange left humans with gene variations that have […]

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Scientists Overcome Key CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing Hurdle

December 3, 2015

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Researchers Develop a Highly Specific Genome-Editing Tool

Using structural knowledge of Cas9, scientists have overcome a key CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing hurdle and developed a highly specific genome-editing tool. Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system that significantly cut down on “off-target” […]

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Scientists Discover Genes for a Longer, Healthier Life

December 1, 2015

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Researchers Discover Genes for a Longer Healthier Life

A team of scientists has discovered genes that are involved in physical aging. By influencing only one of these genes, the healthy lifespan of laboratory animals is extended – and possibly that of humans, too. Driven by the quest for eternal youth, humankind has spent centuries obsessed with the question of how it is exactly […]

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Genetically Reducing AMPK Activity May Prevent Hereditary Hearing Loss

November 9, 2015

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New Genetic Modification May Prevent Hearing Loss

New research from Yale University reveals that genetically reducing AMPK activity delays hereditary hearing loss in mice. Hereditary hearing loss can worsen over time and lead to premature deafness. In a new study, a Yale-led research team successfully applied genetic modification to delay inherited hearing loss in mice. Led by professor of pathology and genetics […]

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New Epigenetic Algorithm Accurately Predicts Male Sexual Orientation

October 12, 2015

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Epigenetic Algorithm Accurately Predicts Male Sexual Orientation

By using epigenetic information from just nine regions of the human genome, a new algorithm can predict the sexual orientation of males with up to 70 percent accuracy. “To our knowledge, this is the first example of a predictive model for sexual orientation based on molecular markers,” said Tuck C. Ngun, PhD, first author on […]

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Scientists Reveal Catalog of Human Genetic Variation

October 1, 2015

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Researchers Reveal Catalog of Human Genetic Variation

Newly published research details the effects of human genetic variation, finding that each person possesses on average about 150 variants capable of disabling genes. A massive effort to study human genetic variation has ended with publication of two papers in the September 30 issue of the journal Nature that catalog the genomes of more than […]

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Bioengineers Develop a New System for Human Genome Editing

September 29, 2015

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Scientists Develop a New System for Human Genome Editing

A team of scientists from MIT, Harvard and Wageningen University have developed a new system for human genome editing that has potential to increase the power and precision of DNA engineering. A team including the scientist who first harnessed the CRISPR-Cas9 system for mammalian genome editing has now identified a different CRISPR system with the […]

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B12 Identified as a Key Part of Photoreceptor Proteins

September 28, 2015

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Scientists Identify and Map B12-dependent Photoreceptor

A team of scientists has discovered and mapped a light-sensing protein that uses vitamin B12 to perform key functions, including gene regulation. The result, derived from studying proteins from the bacterium Thermus thermophilus, involves at least two findings of broad interest. First, it expands our knowledge of the biological role of vitamin B12, which was […]

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Scientists Report a Major Breakthrough in Alzheimer’s Disease

September 20, 2015

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Researchers Report a Major Breakthrough in Alzheimer's Disease

New research sheds light on a fundamental mechanism underlying the development of Alzheimer’s disease and could lead to new forms of therapy people with the disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia globally and affects up to 40,000 people in Ireland today. It is the fourth leading cause of death in individuals over […]

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Harvard Researchers Explain the Reason for Genetic Obesity

August 25, 2015

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Researchers Explain the Reason for Genetic Obesity

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and MIT reeval a genetic circuit that controls whether our bodies burn or store fat. Like many other conditions, obesity is caused by an interplay between genetic and environmental factors. While efforts to combat the obesity epidemic will need to include changes in diet and exercise, insights into the genes […]

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Researchers Discover Pathway That Controls Metabolism

August 20, 2015

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Researchers Discover a Switch That Controls Metabolism

By analyzing the cellular circuitry underlying the strongest genetic association with obesity, a team of researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have unveiled a new pathway that controls human metabolism by prompting our adipocytes, or fat cells, to store fat or burn it away. Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of […]

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International Research Collaboration Reveals Mutations in DCHS1 Cause Mitral Valve Prolapse

August 19, 2015

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Researchers Reveal Gene for Mitral Valve Prolapse

Researchers reveal that mutations of the DCHS1 gene cause a common form of mitral valve prolapse. An international research collaboration led by Harvard Medical School investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital has identified the first gene whose mutations cause the common form of mitral valve prolapse, a heart valve disorder that affects almost 2.5 percent of […]

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New Biosensors Turn Bacteria Into a Source of Natural Energy

August 13, 2015

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Researchers Turn Engineered Bacteria into a Source of Natural Energy

New biosensors enable complex genetic reprogramming of common bacteria like E. coli. The process could be leveraged for sustainable biomanufacturing, using the metabolic processes of bacterial cells to generate valuable chemicals and fuels. Super-productive factories of the future could employ fleets of genetically engineered bacterial cells, such as common E. coli, to create valuable chemical […]

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