Despite the advancement of new molecular biology techniques like ddPCR or RNAseq, quantitative PCR (qPCR) is still a golden standard for the quantification of nucleic acids, with applications in diagnostics and research. The method is based on real-time monitoring of amplification of the target DNA allowing its quantification (see basics). Yet, for the method to be quantitative, it has to be done properly.
European researchers demonstrated that a low dose of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active substance of cannabis, profoundly reduced age-related cognitive impairment in mice. The drug increased behavioural performance and rejuvenated the elderly brain, closely resembling that of young, untreated animals.
US researchers just discovered a novel gene associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that compromises motor neuron function in mice and zebrafish. The UBQLN4 genetic variant impairs nerve development through the excessive accumulation of beta-catenin, a realization that opens a new window for targeted treatment of ALS.
The future of molecular diagnostics is looking particularly bright as international teams of researchers and entrepreneurs make profound headway in the development of disease-sensing instruments.
The molecular mechanisms that cause rare species of mushrooms to glow in the dark have baffled scientists for years. A new study set to finally uncover the mystery behind their bioluminescence revealed that it is in fact based on luciferin oxidation, the same chemical process used by fireflies.
Scientists have managed to completely eliminate the HIV virus in living mice using the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology. They have demonstrated how it excises the viral DNA from the host animal and prevents further infection, providing hope that it could one day benefit humans.
Researchers at Harvard University developed an effective personalized cancer vaccine that seems to have prevented early tumour relapse in 12 skin cancer patients. The vaccine targeted 20 tumour-specific proteins unique to each of the patients enrolled, keeping all free of cancer over 2 years after the trial.
A group of US researchers proposed a cutting edge alternative for eliminating resilient bacteria in the form of a “CRISPR pill”. The drug can specifically target harmful bugs using a combination of bacteria-seeking viruses and a cocktail of probiotics, making it more potent than most antibiotics.