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Category Archives: DNA

Continued funding needed for DNA lab – mySanAntonio.com

Posted: August 31, 2017 at 1:40 am

Express-News Editorial Board Photo: Jaime Dunaway /Associated Press Continued funding needed for DNA lab Reduced federal funding for the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification comes with serious national implications especially for smaller law enforcement agencies. The National Institute of Justice has diverted grant funding that used to go to labs analyzing DNA to identify missing people and the unidentified dead. The money was reallocated to state and local programs that audit and track backlogged rape kits, the Associated Press reported. The agency is also is offering new grants for medical examiners and coroners offices to help them meet accreditation standards and recruit forensic pathologists. Those are are worthwhile projects that merit funding. However, taking money from a program that was doing commendable work is not the solution. The UNT center is the countrys largest lab specializing in analyzing DNA samples to try to identify human remains. Over the past nine years, the National Institute of Justice has awarded UNT $13 million. Without federal funding the Texas-based center will no longer be able to process cases from agencies outside of Texas. Last year the center accepted 1,200 cases from across the country, which accounted for almost 80 percent … Continue reading

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Gene therapy using ‘junk DNA’ could lower risk for heart disease – UCLA Newsroom

Posted: at 1:40 am

FINDINGS Scientists from UCLA and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute successfully used a gene that suppresses cholesterol levels as part of a treatment to reduce plaque in mice with a disorder called familial hypercholesterolemia. In a preclinical study, researchers found that the gene, LeXis, lowered cholesterol and blockages in the arteries, and the treatment appeared to reduce the build-up of fat in liver cells. Familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited condition characterized by extremely high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (commonly referred to as bad cholesterol) and an increased risk of early heart disease. The LeXis gene belongs to a unique group of genes that until recently were considered junk DNA because scientists believed they served little purpose. However, evidence from the human genome project led to the discovery that genes like LeXis are actually active. The study of these genes,now referred to as long noncoding ribonucleic acids, or lncRNAs, is a rapidly evolving area in biology. Researchers wanted to test whether a single injection of LeXis could slow the development of heart disease. To do so, they gave the mice either LeXis or a control gene, and fed them a 15-week diet consisting of food high in sodium and cholesterol … Continue reading

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Two-thirds of Americans approve of editing human DNA to treat disease – The Verge

Posted: August 30, 2017 at 11:50 am

About two-thirds of Americans support the use of gene editing to treat diseases, according to a new survey. But opinions vary a lot based on peoples religious beliefs and how much they know about gene editing in general. The research, published earlier this month in Science, shows that across the board, people want to be involved in a public discussion about editing the human genome. And that conversation with scientists and public officials needs to happen now, as the technology is still developing, says study co-author Dietram Scheufele, a science communication scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The results are based on a survey of 1,600 US adults conducted in December 2016 and January 2017. The goal of the survey was to probe public opinion on a revolutionary piece of technology thats advancing fast, Scheufele tells The Verge. The advent of powerful gene editing tools like CRISPR is making editing human DNA incredibly easy and precise. The technology holds the potential to rid humanity of diseases like sickle cell anemia. Earlier this month, researchers in the US successfully edited dozens of human embryos and corrected a gene mutation that causes a serious heart condition. (The embryos were not developed into … Continue reading

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With a Simple DNA Test, Family Histories Are Rewritten – The New … – New York Times

Posted: at 11:50 am

These days, family secrets like this one are becoming harder to keep. A growing number of companies now offer DNA tests that promise to pinpoint a customers heritage and, with permission, to identify genetic relatives. The firms include generalists like 23andMe and Ancestry.com and specialty companies like African Ancestry. Millions of people have signed up for the tests, sending saliva samples to laboratories and paying $100 to $350 or more for an analysis. The customers are eager to know where they came from, to find a familial context that may be lacking. The answers hidden in DNA can be revelatory, shedding light on hidden events occurring decades earlier and forever changing the family narrative. But a new analysis of DNA test kits by The Wirecutter, a review site owned by The New York Times, finds that the services also have limitations that the providers do not always fully acknowledge. Mr. Hutchinson decided to have his DNA analyzed by 23andMe. The report revealed he is one-eighth sub-Saharan African, which means that his mother was of mixed race. There was some Italian and Swedish heritage. Mr. Hutchinson also learned that his mother was not an only child, but had a brother. A … Continue reading

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Fast-forward aging due to DNA damage – Phys.Org

Posted: at 11:50 am

The nematode C. elegans is an important model organism for aging research. Even though it gets only one millimeter long and lives for three weeks, the same process are important in aging as in humans. Credit: Diletta Edifizi The heredity substance DNA is the blueprint of our life. Like an instruction manual it contains all the information needed for cells and the body to function properly. In the process, the DNA is always exposed to threats like UV light, pollutants and damage by metabolic byproducts. Many of those damages can be undone by sophisticated repair mechanisms. Nevertheless, the accumulation of DNA damage is a cause of aging. A team of scientists based at CECAD at the University of Cologne is now trying to better understand the damage to the genome driving the aging process. For the study published in the journal Cell Reports, the researchers examined the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Because of its short life span of only twenty to thirty days, the worm is a popular model organism for aging research. When they exposed one-day-old worms to DNA damaging UV light, the team around Schumacher found that the young animals show surprising similarity to worms at old age. They … Continue reading

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Coroner using dental records, DNA to identify bodies found in Missoula basement – The Missoulian

Posted: at 11:49 am

A Missoula County coroner is still working to identify the bodies of a man and a woman found in the basement of a Missoula home on Aug. 17 during a murder investigation. Multiple law enforcement sources working on the case say the condition of the bodies has made it difficult to officially identify them, and that dental records and DNA need to be used to ensure they are correctly named. According to court documents filed in the case, the bodies were found in plastic tubs filled with chemicals. Tiffanie Pierce, 23, and 26-year-old Augustus Standingrock have been charged with deliberate homicide and accountability for deliberate homicide in the deaths. Detective Capt. David Conway of the Missoula County Sheriffs Office, who is also the coroner in the case, says he is working with the Montana State Crime Lab to complete the identification as soon as possible. I believe that I know who these people are, but must be certain before releasing the identities, he said. The families are patiently struggling with this. As you may expect, this is an incredibly difficult situation for them. The lack of an official identification from the coroner has not stopped people from coming to their … Continue reading

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Dark DNA Is Changing the Way We See Evolution – Big Think

Posted: at 11:49 am

What allows the cuttlefish to camouflage itself so perfectly that it blends in with every nuance and contour of its environment? How come notothenioid fish of the Antarctic developed antifreeze proteins in their blood to survive the extreme temperatures? How is it the African Pyxie Frog can seal itself in a mucus membrane cocoon and hibernate for up to seven years, in order to wait out long droughts? The answer to all of these is adaptation and natural selection, the twin pillars of evolution. And for the first time, evolutionary biologists are really getting a behind-the-scenes look at these processes. We can decode a species genome and compare and contrast it to others. But the double helix hasnt revealed all of its mysteries, yet. Among the strangest discoveries so far is dark DNA. The name likens it to dark matter, which is said to comprise 25% of the universe, yet so far remains illusive. In evolutionary biology, researchers can look at the genomes of species, see which genes cross over, and begin to decipher what function each serves. By comparing the genomes of different organisms, geneticists can tell what genes lead to which traits. Getty Images. What some studies are … Continue reading

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Scientists Try To Fight Crop Damage With An Invasive Moth’s Own … – NPR

Posted: at 11:49 am

The destructive diamondback moth has spread across the world and mutated to become immune to each new chemical pesticide designed to slay it. Jonathan Lewis/Getty Images hide caption The destructive diamondback moth has spread across the world and mutated to become immune to each new chemical pesticide designed to slay it. If you like coleslaw or kimchi or sauerkraut on your hot dog you should worry about cabbage. This staple veggie has been under constant threat for decades, along with broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, kale and other leafy greens belonging to the Brassica genus. The danger? A tiny insect called the diamondback moth, an invasive marauder that has spread across the world and mutated to become immune to each new chemical pesticide designed to slay it. To curb the billions of dollars of damage caused by this lepidopteran's larvae every year, scientists in New York are trying to turn the critter's own DNA against it. In a small cabbage patch near the Seneca Lake town of Geneva, a Cornell University entomologist is letting loose thousands of genetically modified diamondbacks to test their ability to disrupt the moth-mating scene in farmers' fields. Each moth, bred in a laboratory, carries … Continue reading

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DNA leads Army to declare 3 Black Hawk crew members dead after crash – KHON2

Posted: August 27, 2017 at 1:43 pm

Related Coverage Three of five crew members on board a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off Kaena Point during a night training mission earlier this month have been officially declared dead. The Armed Forces Medical Examiner declared 1st Lt. Kathryn M. Bailey, Staff Sgt. Abigail R. Milam, and Sgt. Michael L. Nelson deceased after analysis of organic matter discovered among recovered debris matched their DNA. 1st Lt. Bailey, 26, whose home of record is listed as Hope Mills, North Carolina, entered active-duty military service in August 2015 as an Aviation officer. She was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Baileys decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon and the Aviator Badge. Staff Sgt. Milam, 33, whose home of record is listed as Jenkins, Kentucky, entered active-duty military service in August 2011 as a UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter Repairer. She was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. Milams awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with two loops, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, … Continue reading

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Warnings over shock dementia revelations from ancestry DNA tests – The Guardian

Posted: at 1:43 pm

People who use genetic tests to trace their ancestry only to discover that they are at risk of succumbing to an incurable illness are being left to suffer serious psychological problems. Dementia researchers say the problem is particularly acute for those found to be at risk of Alzheimers disease, which has no cure or effective treatment. Yet these people are stumbling upon their status inadvertently after trying to find their Viking, Asian or ancient Greek roots. These tests have the potential to cause great distress, said Anna Middleton, head of society and ethics research at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge. Companies should make counselling available, before and after people take tests. The issue is raised in a paper by Middleton and others in the journal Future Medicine. A similar warning was sounded by Louise Walker, research officer at the Alzheimers Society. Everyone has a right to know about their risk if they want to, but these companies have a moral responsibility to make sure people understand the meaning and consequences of this information. Anyone considering getting genetic test results should do so with their eyes open. Alzheimers is linked to the build-up in the brain of clumps of a … Continue reading

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