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

  • New findings on intercellular communication
    on July 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    This is a nice example of a rather unexpected discovery: by studying the development of the blood vessels of the brain, researchers have just shed light on a question that was pending for 10 years! They provide a molecular mechanism conferring ligand specificity to Wnt signaling, an ancestral communication pathway present in all vertebrates. […]

  • Genome damage from CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing higher than thought
    on July 19, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Scientists have discovered that CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing can cause greater genetic damage in cells than was previously thought. This has safety implications for future gene therapies using CRISPR/Cas9 as the unexpected damage could lead to dangerous changes in some cells. The study revealed that standard DNA tests miss finding this genetic damage, and that caution and specific testing will be required for any potential gene therapies. […]

  • Mixed mRNA tails act like a shield that delays its shortening
    on July 19, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Biologists have identified how mixed tails -- made of different nucleotides -- protect mRNA from degradation for longer. This study could bring new insights to our understanding of gene regulation in healthy and diseased states. […]

  • Chemists characterize the fatal fungus among us
    on July 19, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Life-threatening fungal infections affect more than two million people worldwide. Effective antifungal medications are limited. A major challenge is that the fungal cell wall is poorly understood, which has impeded drug development. However, chemist have identified for the first time the cell wall structure of one of the most prevalent and deadly fungi, which could usher in a new era of antifungal drug development to help save lives. […]

  • Phages work together to suppress CRISPR bacterial immunity
    on July 19, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    CRISPR are an essential part of bacterial immunity designed to defend against foreign DNA. In bacteria, CRISPR acts just like it does in human cells as a pair of scissors, in their case with the goal of cutting strands of infecting DNA. While researchers have known that CRISPR is found in roughly half of all bacteria in the wild, they did not know much about the molecular battle between CRISPRs and invading viruses or phages. […]

  • How plant breeding technologies could make fruits and vegetables more exciting to eat
    on July 19, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Forget vegetables with dull colors and fuzzy skin or fruits that lack of flavor -- the produce aisle of the future could offer plant products that are designed for creative cooks and fussy eaters. In a new article, food researchers describe how new breeding technologies have the potential to enhance the shape, size, color, and health benefits of produce, as well as to inform conventional breeding programs. […]

  • New insights into plants' conquest of land
    on July 19, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    The ancestors of land plants were string-like (2D), aquatic green algae that looked very different from the three-dimensional (3D), upright stems and leaves of plants we are familiar with today. Now, researchers have revealed exciting insights into how land plants evolved these 3D forms that were crucial for their advancement onto land. […]

  • Fruit fly species can learn each other's dialects
    on July 19, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Fruit flies from different species can warn each other when parasitic wasps are near. But according to a new study, they are more likely to get the message across if the fly species have previously cohabited and learned each other's dialects. […]

  • Why does making new egg cells require so much cell death?
    on July 19, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    A highly detailed study of how the roundworm C. elegans forms oocytes suggests that the egg-making process leads to the formation and subsequent destruction of cells with an extra nucleus, but that some cellular materials are recycled into new eggs. […]

  • Scientists develop proteins that self-assemble into supramolecular complexes
    on July 19, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Scientists have designed new proteins that can self-assemble into the complex structures underlying biological organisms, laying the groundwork for leading-edge applications in biotechnology. The researchers created and developed the proteins with a specific function and their method reveals a possibility that certain protein functions can be created on demand. It is expected to contribute to the development of nanobiomaterials, which could be used as a drug delivery system or an artificial vaccine. […]

  • Scientists uncover DNA 'shield' w/crucial roles in normal cell division
    on July 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    New fundamental complex in cells drives 'messy' form of DNA repair. In immune cells, this is crucial to make antibodies. In cancer, mutations in complex could lead to resistance to BRCA-targeting PARP inhibitor drugs or platinum chemotherapies. […]

  • Glowing bacteria on deep-sea fish shed light on evolution, 'third type' of symbiosis
    on July 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    For the first time, scientists have sequenced and analyzed the genomes of bacteria that live in anglerfish bulbs. The bacteria were taken from fish specimens collected in the Gulf of Mexico. […]

  • Bacterial armor could be a new target for antibiotics
    on July 18, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Boosting efforts to fight antibiotic resistance, researchers have found that a thin membrane, thought to be just a shrink wrap around some bacterial cell walls, has structural properties critical for survival. Drugs that destroy the membrane could be a new approach to treating infection. […]

  • Feeding plants to this algae could fuel your car
    on July 18, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    The research shows that a freshwater production strain of microalgae, Auxenochlorella protothecoides, is capable of directly degrading and utilizing non-food plant substrates, such as switchgrass, for improved cell growth and lipid productivity, useful for boosting the algae's potential value as a biofuel. […]

  • Lateral gene transfer enables chemical protection of beetles against antagonistic fungi
    on July 18, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Researchers have discovered that bacteria associated to Lagria villosa beetles can produce an antifungal substance very similar to one found in tunicates living in the marine environment. The researchers revealed that this commonality is likely explained by the transfer of genes between unrelated microorganisms. […]

  • New retinal ganglion cell subtypes emerge from single-cell RNA sequencing
    on July 18, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Single-cell sequencing technologies are filling in fine details in the catalog of life. Researchers have now identified 40 subtypes of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) along with the genetic markers and transcription factors that differentiate them. […]

  • A single genetic change in gut bacteria alters host metabolism
    on July 17, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Scientists have found that deleting a single gene in a particular strain of gut bacteria causes changes in metabolism and reduced weight gain in mice. […]

  • Nitric oxide tells roundworms to avoid bad bacteria
    on July 17, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Nitric oxide gas produced by a type of harmful bacteria lets roundworms know to stay away from it, says a new study. […]

  • High vinculin levels help keep aging fruit fly hearts young
    on July 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    A new discovery in how heart muscles maintain their shape in fruit flies sheds light on the crucial relationship between cardiac function, metabolism, and longevity. Researchers have discovered that maintaining high levels of the protein vinculin confers health benefits to fruit flies. Their work shows that fruit flies bred to produce 50 percent more vinculin enjoyed better cardiovascular health and lived a third of their average life span longer. […]

  • The ancient armor of fish -- scales -- provide clues to hair, feather development
    on July 17, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    How do scale patterns on fish provide understanding of the development of feathers, fur -- and even cancer? Biologists are investigating. […]

  • Variations of a single gene drive diverse pigeon feather patterns
    on July 17, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Biologists have discovered that different versions of a single gene, called NDP (Norrie Disease Protein), have unexpected links between color patterns in pigeons, and vision defects in humans. These gene variations were likely bred into pigeons by humans from a different pigeon species and are now evolutionarily advantageous in wild populations of feral pigeons living in urban environments. […]

  • Impact of temperature on mitochondrial DNA evolution
    on July 17, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    A new study provides evidence towards selection in mtDNA due to variations in temperature. […]

  • The depths of the ocean and gut flora unravel the mystery of microbial genes
    on July 17, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Surprisingly, the functions of a huge number of microbial genes are still unknown. This knowledge gap can be thought of as ''genomic dark matter'' in microbes, and neither computational biology nor current lab techniques have been able address this gap. This challenge has now been tackled through an international collaboration between the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and two other interdisciplinary research centres, namely the IJS in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and RBI in Zagreb (Croatia). […]

  • Hidden signals in RNAs regulate protein synthesis
    on July 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Scientists have long known that RNA encodes instructions to make proteins. The building blocks that comprise RNA -- A, U, C, and Gs -- form a blueprint for the protein-making machinery in cells. In a new study scientists describe how the protein-making machinery identifies alternative initiation sites from which to start protein synthesis. […]

  • Natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
    on July 14, 2018 at 2:01 am

    A team of engineers and scientists discovered a new and potentially highly effective type of weed killer. This finding could lead to the first new class of commercial herbicides in more than 30 years, an important outcome as weeds continue to develop resistance to current herbicide regimens. […]

  • Target for novel malaria vaccine identified
    on July 13, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Researchers have created a vaccine that protects against malaria infection in mouse models, paving the way for the development of a human vaccine that works by targeting the specific protein that parasites use to evade the immune system. […]

  • New species may arise from rapid mitochondrial evolution
    on July 12, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Genetic research at has shed new light on how isolated populations of the same species evolve toward reproductive incompatibility and thus become separate species. […]

  • Parental chromosomes kept apart during embryo's first division
    on July 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    It was long thought that during an embryo's first cell division, one spindle is responsible for segregating the embryo's chromosomes into two cells. Scientists now show that there are actually two spindles, one for each set of parental chromosomes, meaning that the genetic information from each parent is kept apart throughout the first division. […]

  • Tree shrews can tolerate hot peppers: Mutation in pain receptor makes peppery plant palatable
    on July 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Almost all mammals avoid eating chili peppers and other 'hot' foods, because of the pain they induce. But not the tree shrew, according to a new study. The researchers found that this close relative of primates is unaffected by the active ingredient in chili peppers due to a subtle mutation in the receptor that detects it. […]

  • Rice plants evolve to adapt to flooding
    on July 12, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Although water is essential for plant growth, excessive amounts can waterlog and kill a plant. In South and Southeast Asia, where periodic flooding occurs during the rainy season, the water depth can reach several meters for many months. […]