COFFEE BREAK NEWS FOR LIFE SCIENTISTS

drugs

Fed Up with Pharma, Hospitals Are Making Drugs Themselves

A group of major American hospitals established a nonprofit generic drug company, Civica Rx, to battle long-lasting shortages of critical medicines and their high prices. Their goals are providing stable supplies for 14 generic drugs used in hospitals and price transparency. This will allow hospitals to save time and money while providing patients with better health care.

3D genome

New Technique Enables 3D Mapping of the Human Genome

Almost 20 years ago the human genome, 3 billion DNA base pairs long, was first sequenced. Despite all the progress researchers still know little about how the genome is organized within cells. Now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new technique that can create a 3D image of the genome’s organization.

Crab on beach under a twig

Host v. Parasite – Climate Change Edition

Many living organisms can expect to have some freeloaders: other organisms that live on or inside and may or may not prove harmful to it. When that tends to be a positive relationship for both parties, it is called a symbiotic relationship, whereas a negative impact for either party would make it a parasitic relationship.The differing biologies of host and parasite can affect the success of either organism, such as their performance and fitness under certain climatic conditions.

blue light

New Study Unravels How Blue Light Contributes to Blindness

Researchers from The University of Toledo have found the chemical reason behind why blue light damages our eyes over time, contributes to macular degeneration, and can even cause blindness. Since we’re spending more time in front of screens than ever before, this finding might be a big step forward toward preventing eyesight deterioration.

DNA

Scientists Squeeze Entire Yeast Genome into Just One Chromosome

Two separate research groups used CRISPR gene editing to fuse entire sets of brewer’s yeast chromosomes together, resulting in two strains with just one and two chromosomes. Surprisingly, the changes had little effect on most functions of the yeast. Their findings could be monumental to the study of chromosomes and why their numbers vary from species to species.

plant wall

Houseplants Could One Day Monitor Your Home Health

Researchers from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture presented a concept of houseplants as aesthetically pleasing and functional alarm systems of home health. They have effectively connected two seemingly unrelated disciplines – plant sciences and architectural design. Genetically engineered houseplants could detect viruses, such as influenza virus, odors, and other volatile organic compounds that plants can “inhale” through their leaves.

mice

Controversial CRISPR “Gene Drives” Tested in Mice

Researchers from the University of California tested gene-drive technology in mice. This controversial application of CRISPR, capable of altering the genomes of entire species, has been applied to mammals for the first time. Although the developed technology has a long way to go before being used for pest control in the wild, it could be useful in basic research.

Alzheimer's

Big Data Analysis Links Herpes Viruses with Alzheimer’s

Researchers from Arizona State University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Indiana University made a large-scale analysis and used data from three different brain banks. They concluded that human herpes viruses are more abundant in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and may play a role in regulatory genetic networks believed to be behind the onset of the disease. New possibilities for Alzheimer’s treatment, such as antiviral and immune therapy, are now open.