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.
Last year, millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis. Stanford researchers have found that information people receive not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk.
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.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen used a new advanced technique to identify a protein that is responsible for cellular memory transfer in cell division. The finding is decisive for a fresh view and understanding of development from one cell to a whole body.
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.
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.
Researchers from China have modified an Artemisia annua genetic sequence to produce a higher level of a potent antimalarial compound, artemisinin. The group identified genes involved in making artemisinin in Artemisia annua and altered their activity to produce three times more drug than usual. Their work will help to meet the large global demand for artemisinin, which is also used to treat cancer, tuberculosis, and diabetes.
Scientists from Duke University discovered that DNA contains a “built-in timer” that clocks the frequency with which mutations occur. Their research shows that DNA bases can change shape within a thousandth of a second, allowing them to temporarily morph into alternative states.
A team of researchers decoded the entire genetic information of the salamander axolotl. It is the largest genome ever to be sequenced. The “Mexican walking fish” could provide us with the foundation for novel insights into human tissue regeneration capacities.
CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats) gene editing technology allows permanent modification of genes within organisms. It is considered a breakthrough in biotechnology ever since its discovery. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), led by Spanish researcher Guillermo Montoya, now went one step further. They discovered how Cpf1, a new type of molecular scissors, unzip and cleave DNA.