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.
New research reveals genetic mysteries behind synesthesia – a condition in which different senses seem to be crossed up in the brain, causing a person to “taste” words or even “feel” numbers. The phenomenon has been intriguing neuroscientists for years and this research could unlock new doors to understanding how our brains process sensory input.
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.
Scientists are unraveling evolutionary mysteries behind the world of spider vision. New findings could provide new gene therapies for people with visual defects like macular degeneration and retinal cancer.
The first reference database of the microbes colonizing the planet was constructed by more than 500 scientists. They contributed over 27,000 samples of microbiomes from diverse environments around the globe. The Earth Microbiome Project is a massive global research collaboration that resulted in ‘recapturing’ half of all known bacterial sequences.
In 2010 John Craig Venter and his colleagues reported a creation of the first bacterial cell containing a completely synthesized genome. It was a 1.08-mega-base pair Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 genome and it became the very first citizen of synthetic biology.
A leader in genetic sequencing is betting that it can detect cancer at its earliest stages on the basis of minuscule amounts of genetic material circulating in a person’s bloodstream. But specialists warn that there are many technical hurdles to such an application.
Meet Denis Kutnjak, National Institute of Biology (NIB)