Genetics News -- ScienceDaily Genetics research. Read the latest news on plant and animal genetics from universities and research institutes around the world.

  • Scientists discover how antiviral gene works
    on June 22, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    It's been known for years that humans and other mammals possess an antiviral gene called RSAD2 that prevents a remarkable range of viruses from multiplying. Now, researchers have discovered the secret to the gene's success: The enzyme it codes for generates a compound that stops viruses from replicating. The newly discovered compound offers a novel approach for attacking many disease-causing viruses. […]

  • Our intestinal microbiome influences metabolism -- through the immune system
    on June 21, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    The innate immune system, our first line of defense against bacterial infection, has a side job that's equally important: fine-tuning our metabolism. […]

  • Fish's use of electricity might shed light on human illnesses
    on June 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    African weakly electric fish, commonly called baby whales, use incredibly brief electrical pulses to sense the world around them and communicate with other members of their species. Part of that electrical mechanism exists in humans -- and by studying these fish, scientists may unlock clues about conditions like epilepsy. […]

  • Not junk: 'Jumping gene' is critical for early embryo
    on June 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    A so-called 'jumping gene' that researchers long considered either genetic junk or a pernicious parasite is actually a critical regulator of the first stages of embryonic development, according to a new study. […]

  • Cross-species prion adaptation depends on prion replication environment
    on June 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    A hamster prion that replicated under conditions of low RNA levels in mouse brain material resulted in altered disease features when readapted and transmitted back to hamsters, according to new research. […]

  • Caffeine from four cups of coffee protects the heart with the help of mitochondria
    on June 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    A new study shows that a caffeine concentration equivalent to four cups of coffee promotes the movement of a regulatory protein into mitochondria, enhancing their function and protecting cardiovascular cells from damage. […]

  • DNA enzyme shuffles cell membranes a thousand times faster than its natural counterpart
    on June 21, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. This is the first such synthetic enzyme to outperform its natural counterpart -- and it does so by three orders of magnitude. […]

  • The world's tiniest first responders
    on June 20, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Amid the rise of CRISPR and genome editing, scientists are still learning more about DNA repair and its significance in aging and diseases such as cancer. […]

  • Rewiring plant defense genes to reduce crop waste
    on June 20, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Plants could be genetically rewired to better resist disease, helping safeguard crop yields worldwide according to new research. Defensive feedback control system developed enables plants to strengthen their defenses to withstand attack by re-wiring existing gene connections. The system uses same approach as aircraft autopilots use to counteract turbulence. […]

  • Compound made inside human body stops viruses from replicating
    on June 20, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    A team of researchers has identified the mode of action of viperin, a naturally occurring enzyme in humans and other mammals that is known to have antiviral effects on viruses such as West Nile, hepatitis C, rabies, and HIV. This discovery could allow researchers to develop a drug that could act as a broad-spectrum therapy for a range of viruses, including Zika. […]

  • Gene-edited pigs are resistant to billion-dollar virus
    on June 20, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Scientists have produced pigs that can resist one of the world's most costly animal diseases, by changing their genetic code. Tests with the virus -- called Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, or PRRS -- found the pigs do not become infected at all. The animals show no signs that the change in their DNA has had any other impact on their health or wellbeing. […]

  • The cells that control the formation of fat
    on June 20, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    A study has revealed a new cell type that resides in the body's fat depots where it can actively suppress fat cell formation. This discovery was made using single-cell transcriptomics and opens entirely new avenues to combat obesity and related diseases such as diabetes. […]

  • Encrypted messages in biological processes
    on June 20, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    RNA modifications can encrypt the RNA code and are responsible for a very sophisticated control of RNA function. A research team has shown that modified RNA bases have a great impact on the dynamics of gene expression from DNA to functional RNA. The study yields important new insight into how the basis of RNA modifications can affect the function of mature RNA molecules. […]

  • Fetal T cells are first responders to infection in adults
    on June 20, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Researchers have discovered there is a division of labor among immune cells that fight invading pathogens in the body. […]

  • Encrypted messages in biological processes
    on June 20, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    RNA modifications can encrypt the RNA code and are responsible for a very sophisticated control of RNA function. A new study shows that modified RNA bases have a great impact on the dynamics of gene expression from DNA to functional RNA. […]

  • Long-term estrogen therapy changes microbial activity in the gut
    on June 19, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Long-term therapy with estrogen and bazedoxifene alters the microbial composition and activity in the gut, affecting how estrogen is metabolized, a new study in mice found. […]

  • Blue gene regulation helps plants respond properly to light
    on June 19, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Researchers have discovered a process through which gene expression in plants is regulated by light. The study found that blue light triggers a shift in which portion of a gene is ultimately expressed. […]

  • Human immune response in the fruit fly
    on June 19, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Researchers have seen how both humans and fruit flies deploy a protein that a plays a critical role in their immune responses to invading bacteria. The discovery gives scientists evolutionary insight and a model organism with which to explore ways to boost the human immune system and create infection-fighting medicines. […]

  • Cells can trap viruses in protein cage to stop their spread, study reveals
    on June 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Researchers have discovered that cells can trap viruses in a protein cage to stop them from spreading to neighboring cells. The study reveals that the vaccinia virus can escape this trap by recruiting additional proteins to dismantle the cage and propel the virus out of the cell. […]

  • Factor important for ZIKA Virus host species restriction
    on June 19, 2018 at 2:24 am

    In 2013 and 2015, devastating outbreaks of ZIKA captured world attention. The virus is often transmitted from wild animals -- probably non-human primates -- via mosquitos to humans. This is the first comprehensive study to investigate which mammal species may host the ZIKA virus (ZIKV). […]

  • 22,000-year-old panda from cave in Southern China belongs to distinct, long-lost lineage
    on June 18, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Researchers who've analyzed ancient mitochondrial (mt)DNA isolated from a 22,000-year-old panda found in Cizhutuo Cave in the Guangxi Province of China -- a place where no pandas live today -- have revealed a new lineage of giant panda. The report shows that the ancient panda separated from present-day pandas 144,000 to 227,000 years ago, suggesting that it belonged to a distinct group not found today. […]

  • Devastating plant virus is revealed in atomic detail
    on June 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    The complex 3D structure of one of the world's most lethal families of plant viruses has been revealed in unprecedented detail by scientists. […]

  • Scientists find potential disease-fighting 'warheads' hidden in bacteria
    on June 18, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    A new study suggests scientists could build better drugs by learning from bacteria-derived molecules called thiocarboxylic acids. […]

  • Critical plant gene takes unexpected detour that could boost biofuel yields
    on June 15, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    For decades, biologists have believed a key enzyme in plants had one function -- produce amino acids, which are vital to plant survival and also essential to human diets. But it turns out this enzyme does more than advertised. Researchers ran a series of experiments on poplar plants that consistently revealed mutations in a structure of the life-sustaining enzyme that was not previously known to exist. […]

  • Microbe breaks 'universal' DNA rule by using two different translations
    on June 15, 2018 at 1:38 am

    DNA is often referred to as the blueprint for life, however scientists have for the first time discovered a microbe that uses two different translations of the DNA code at random. This unexpected finding breaks what was thought to be a universal rule, since the proteins from this microbe cannot be fully predicted from the DNA sequence. […]

  • Scientists have captured the elusive cell that can regenerate an entire flatworm
    on June 15, 2018 at 1:38 am

    Researchers have captured the one cell that is capable of regenerating an entire organism. […]

  • Non-coding DNA changes the genitals you're born with
    on June 15, 2018 at 1:37 am

    Male mice grow ovaries instead of testes if they are missing a small region of DNA that doesn't contain any genes -- a finding that could help explain disorders of sex development in humans, at least half of which have an unknown genetic cause. […]

  • Scientists discover biomarker for flu susceptibility
    on June 14, 2018 at 12:52 am

    Researchers have found a way to predict whether someone exposed to the flu virus is likely to become ill. They used a computational approach to pinpoint a blood-based genetic biomarker to determine an individual's susceptibility to the disease. […]

  • High-protein corn also resistant to parasitic weed
    on June 13, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    In sub-Saharan Africa, 20 to 80% of corn yields may be lost because of a semi-parasitic plant, Striga. In areas infested with Striga, farmers may even lose their entire crops. In a new study, researchers from southern Africa identified several varieties of corn resistant or tolerant to Striga. Importantly, these varieties also have improved nutritional content, particularly protein. […]

  • Observing the cell's protein factories during self-assembly
    on June 13, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Researchers have produced snapshots of the 'protein factories' of the cell. Their findings could set us on the path towards a new class of antibiotics. […]