Washington, DC--Not too long ago, biologists would induce mutations in an entire genome, isolate an organism that displayed a resulting disease or abnormality that they wanted to study, and then work backward to determine which gene was responsible for the defect. This process often took years to yield definitive results. Now, thanks to the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing tool, biologists can target specific genes for mutation and then see how this induced mutation manifests in an organism--tackling the problem from the other direction. But they are finding that the expected physical changes don't always occur. Why? New work from Carnegie's Steven Farber and Jennifer Anderson asked exactly that. They looked at how to circumnavigate one kind of resistance to harmful mutations that's found in a vertebrate organism very applicable to humans--in this case, zebrafish. Sometimes an organism compensates for a mutation in a gene by changing how it regulates the expression of other related … [Read more...] about What can zebrafish teach us about our survival in the face of mutations?
Targeted mutation analysis
Bees and other important insects may be spared thanks to a new discovery that could refine pesticides to only targets specific pests.A team from Michigan State University has found the protein that with a few molecular tweaks could be used in pesticides to ensure they only eliminate necessary targets and not beneficial insects like bees.Pyrethroids pesticides target the voltage-gated sodium channel--a protein found in nerve and muscle cells used for rapid electrical signaling. They bind to the voltage gate of the sodium channel and prevent it from closing.The researchers focused on a single protein that could afford bumble bees the same resistance as humans - tau-fluvalinate, a pyrethroid insecticide.“For the first time we are showing that unique structural features in bee sodium channels interfere with the binding of tau-fluvalinate to bumble bee sodium channels,” Ke Dong, MSU insect toxicologist and neurobiologist and co-author of the paper, said in a statement. … [Read more...] about New Pesticides Could Target Specific Insects
Life Sciences Researchers have identified potential therapeutic targets in lung squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of lung cancer. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network study that appeared online Sept. 9, 2012, and in print Sept. 27, 2012, in the journal Nature, comprehensively characterized the lung squamous cell carcinoma genome. The study found a large number and variety of DNA alterations, many of which seem to be driving forces behind pathways that are important to the initiation and progression of lung cancer. TCGA is jointly funded and managed by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), both part of the National Institutes of Health. "With these findings, TCGA researchers have set the stage for the development, testing and implementation of advanced diagnostics and therapeutics for lung squamous cell carcinoma," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "These findings also underscore the … [Read more...] about TCGA Discovers Lung Cancer Targets
According to a new study from scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the common practice of growing influenza vaccine components in chicken eggs disrupts the major antibody target site on the virus surface, rendering the flu vaccine less effective in humans.“Now we can explain—at an atomic level—why egg-based vaccine production is causing problems,” said TSRI Research Associate Nicholas Wu, Ph.D., first author of the study, published recently in the journal PLOS Pathogens.For more than 70 years, manufacturers have made the flu vaccine by injecting influenza into chicken eggs, allowing the virus to replicate inside the eggs and then purifying the fluid from the eggs to get enough of the virus to use in vaccines.The subtype of influenza in this study, called H3N2, is one of several subtypes shown to mutate when grown in chicken eggs, and the researchers say the new findings further support the case for alternative approaches to growing the … [Read more...] about How Flu Shot Manufacturing Forces Influenza to Mutate
The first week of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) trial against Oracle's US$7.7 billion hostile takeover attempt of PeopleSoft has proven to be as much a high-stakes poker game as the enterprise software market in which the two compete.Oracle opened its case with the previously undisclosed Microsoft and SAP merger talks -- dragging both companies into the fray and forcing them to issue statements regarding their proprietary discussions."In my opinion Oracle won the first round this week," Steve Trotta, software industry analyst for Technology Business Research, told CRM Buyer.Many investors are already banking on an Oracle win. During the first week of the trial, Nasdaq, with its heavy burden of technology companies, had a modest composite gain of 1 percent.Despite a slow market and the trial, both PeopleSoft and Oracle showed gains. PeopleSoft stock gained 8 percent, ending the four-day week at $18.75, while Oracle gained 6 percent and ended at $11.71. However, both companies' … [Read more...] about ANALYSIS Shifting Paradigm in Oracle-PeopleSoft Case