A US government study aims to sequence the genomes of one million volunteers as part of its new ”All of Us” project. A genetic-counselling company hired by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will work with participants to help them understand their results. Most of the participants are recruited from ethnic and socioeconomic groups that are typically under-represented in biomedical studies.
Researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden have discovered a new sensory organ that can detect painful mechanical damage such as pricks and impacts. These octopus-like cells surround the pain-sensing nerves and extend into the outer layer of skin. The discovery raises hopes that it could lead to the development of new painkilling drugs.
Spanish scientists produced the first human-monkey chimeras in China to bypass ethical guardrails, igniting yet another ethical debate. Chimeras could effectively address the global shortage of organs, as well as organ rejection but raise many moral concerns. Advancements in this field could save lives yet they are highly controversial.
Gene drives are capable of altering genomes of entire animal populations by passing down mutations through generations faster than natural inheritance. The main goal of using them is to defeat diseases, control pests and speed up lab work. Self-destructing mosquitoes and sterilized rodents are in the center of interest. However, recent advancements raise concerns about unleashing this powerful technology with no clear ecological consequences
Researchers from China’s Soochow University have developed a new molecular “claw” that hooks onto toxic uranium isotopes, making them easier for the kidneys to excrete. If proven functional in humans, it would represent the first effective way for quickly removing the heavy metal from a person’s body. The method could prove vital in areas with contaminated groundwater and for the unfortunate ones who drink it.
Researchers from the University of Central Florida have found a molecular connection between a common food preservative in processed foods, neuronal disruption, and autism. These findings suggest that there may be a link between the consumption of processed foods during pregnancy and the rise of autism.
Scientists from the University of British Columbia (UBC) have found a way to nearly double the amount of universal donor blood available. They discovered microbes in the human gut that produce two enzymes which efficiently strip type A blood of its antigens, transforming it into type O. This process could ease blood shortages and revolutionize blood donation and transfusion.
A new study has confirmed that the human body is, in fact, a complex mosaic made up of clusters of cells with different genomes. The largest such study to date compiles data from thousands of samples collected from about 500 people and 29 different types of tissue. Scientists say that “normal” human tissues are permeated with mutations and many cells in the body bear mutations that could contribute to cancer. These findings could help scientists better understand how cancer starts.
The human body and its cells have several different mechanisms for protecting its essential parts and expressing all the indicators that shape every individual in unique ways. Telomeres play a lead role in that process, ensuring our genetic blueprints remain intact, but even they have a limit. With the rise of genetic engineering, researchers have found a way to extend the lifespan of telomeres and delay senescence and onset of disease.
Stress, “the silent killer” of the modern age, could finally become simple to detect and quantify. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) have developed a new test that can easily measure common stress hormones using sweat, blood, urine or saliva. The aim is to eventually have an accessible device that patients can use at home to monitor their health.