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Latest Mutation Stories

2013-08-28 21:43:32

Study strengthens link between amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and problems in protein production machinery of cells and identifies possible treatment strategy Researchers have tied mutations in a gene that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative disorders to the toxic buildup of certain proteins and related molecules in cells, including neurons. The research, published recently in the scientific journal Cell, offers a new approach for developing...

Cystic Fibrosis Genetics Breakthrough
2013-08-26 12:46:54

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online With over 1,900 mutations in the genes responsible for cystic fibrosis (CF), separating the harmful alterations form the benign ones has been a long, arduous undertaking for geneticists. In a new report published in Nature Genetics, researchers describe major progress in determining which mutations are which, increasing the number of recognized CF-causing mutations from 22 to 127. The new findings represent 95 percent of the...

2013-08-26 11:55:31

Concealed within the vastness of the human genome, (comprised of some 3 billion base pairs), mutations are commonplace. While the majority of these appear to have neutral effect on human health, many others are associated with diseases and disease susceptibility. Reed Cartwright, a researcher at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute, along with colleagues at ASU, Washington University and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK, report on a new software tool known as...

Scientists Discover Aneuploidy In Single-celled Organisms
2013-08-14 14:57:39

University of Luxembourg Baker's yeast is a popular test organism in biology. Yeasts are able to duplicate single chromosomes reversibly and thereby adapt flexibly to environmental conditions. Scientists from the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg, in collaboration with colleagues from the US Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in Seattle, have now systematically studied the genetics of this process, which biologists refer to as aneuploidy. The...

2013-08-02 12:30:50

Two women have the same genetic mutation – an abnormal BRCA1 gene that puts them both at much higher-than-average risk for breast cancer – but only one woman develops the disease. Why? Michigan State University genetic scientists have begun to understand the mechanisms behind the phenomena. "It's been known for a while that genetic mutations can modify each other," explained Ian Dworkin, MSU associate professor of zoology. "And we also know that the...

DNA Detection Breakthrough Could Lead To Improved Tuberculosis Treatments
2013-07-29 13:22:02

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Minor mutations in DNA code can make for major malfunctions, and a breakthrough technique has allowed scientists to spot genetic changes with greater precision than ever. According to a new report in the journal Nature Chemistry, the new method can look at a specific DNA sequence and pull out a single mutation. "We've really improved on previous approaches because our solution doesn't require any complicated reactions or added...

Genetic Hitchhikers Picked Up By Evolution
2013-07-23 11:01:42

Princeton University In a twist on "survival of the fittest," researchers have discovered that evolution is driven not by a single beneficial mutation but rather by a group of mutations, including ones called "genetic hitchhikers" that are simply along for the ride. These hitchhikers are mutations that do not appear to have a role in contributing to an organism's fitness and therefore its evolution, yet may play an important role down the road. Researchers from Princeton University...

2013-07-15 13:12:28

A set of proteins involved in the body's natural defenses produces a large number of mutations in human DNA, according to a study led by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggest that these naturally produced mutations are just as powerful as known cancer-causing agents in producing tumors. The proteins are part of a group called apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic polypeptide-like (APOBEC) cytidine deaminases. The investigators found that APOBEC...

Self-fertilizing Plants Play Part In Their Own Death
2013-06-10 10:28:56

University of Toronto Many plants are self-fertilizing, meaning they act as both mother and father to their own seeds. This strategy — known as selfing — guarantees reproduction but, over time, leads to reduced diversity and the accumulation of harmful mutations. A new study published in the scientific journal Nature Genetics shows that these negative consequences are apparent across a selfing plant's genome, and can arise more rapidly than previously thought. In the study,...

Evolutionary History Of Cancer-related Gene Tracked By CNIO Study
2013-06-06 20:59:35

Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas (CNIO) The study reveals how a genetic duplication that occurred millions of years ago encouraged the evolution of the ASF1b gene, involved in cancer development How and when evolution generates diversity or gives form to proteins, living beings' functional building blocks, are essential questions that still surround the theory of evolution. In humans, the majority of genes have emerged via genetic duplication, a strategy in which a gene...


Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'