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The man who grew eyes

The man who grew eyes | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Growing nerve tissue and organs is a sci-fi dream. Moheb Costandi met the pioneering researcher who grew eyes and brain cells.
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Interesting article on the work of Yoshiki Sasai  a Japanese biologist and Director of the Laboratory for Organogenesis and Neurogenesis at the research institute RIKEN in Kobe, Japan. Sasai was best known for developing new methods to grow stem cells into organ-like structures

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Researchers glimpse microbial 'dark matter'

Researchers glimpse microbial 'dark matter' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Led by Tanja Woyke, a microbiologist at the US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California, researchers used single-cell sequencing to read the genomes of 201 bacterial and archaeal cells taken from nine diverse environments, such as hydrothermal vents and an underground gold mine. None of the organisms had ever been sequenced or cultivated in a laboratory. The results are published today in Nature1.

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The ability to use single cell sequencing gives a whole new insight into microbial and bacterial worlds. The research highlights not only how we will be reassessing our definitions and classifications of bacterial and archaeal kingdoms but also the range of adaptations that wait to be discovered.

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Gene therapy trial 'cures children'

Gene therapy trial 'cures children' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
A disease which robs children of the ability to walk and talk has been cured by pioneering gene therapy to correct errors in their DNA, say doctors.
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After the initial hype around gene therapy, fast solutions failed to meet expectations.  Following a death in one trial and other patients developed leukaemia  studies showed that  introducing new and modified genes could activate cancer genes. Since then safety concerns have been high. The first gene therapy trials in europe were not approved until 2012.  The BBC article describes a new technique developed at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy  for children born with metachromatic leukodystrophy.  Babies born with metachromatic leukodystrophy appear healthy, but their development starts to reverse between the ages of one and two as part of their brain is destroyed. Three children  with the disease underwent the treatment and have so far showed normal development with  no side effects. While the patients will continue to be followed, the treatment shows that some of the potential promises of gene therapy may come true. 

 

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Honey bees' genetic code unlocked

Honey bees' genetic code unlocked | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Researchers believe they have unlocked the genetic secrets as to why honey bees are so sensitive to environmental change. One of the reported findings suggests that development variation between worker bees and queens is the result of diet and a "histone code" - a process that sees genetic changes made to proteins called histones within cells' nuclei. Rather than "genetic" changes that are locked into DNA, these are known as "epigenetic" changes. The report marks the first time such effects had been recorded in honey bees. Click on image or title to learn more.

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Twins’ immune systems look like those of complete strangers

Twins’ immune systems look like those of complete strangers | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
When it comes to our immune response, genetics takes a back seat to pathogens.
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Our adaptive immune system, the one that responds to specific pathogens, relies on T cells and B cells. These cells make proteins that have a key job: distinguish between the harmless proteins in all of our cells and foreign proteins that may be harmful. In T cells, these molecules are creatively called T cell receptors (TCRs), and in B cells they are antibodies.

 
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Genomics: The single life

Genomics: The single life | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Sequencing DNA from individual cells is changing the way that researchers think of humans as a whole.
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Human genomes such as cancer have been traditionally sequenced from DNA extracted from multiple cells. With certain cancers we know that local individual cellular adaptations, mutations and variation impact gene expression, cell behaviour and drug response.  Nicholas Navin pioneered a new approach for single cell sequencing pioneered  in order to sequence individual cancer cells and map local mutations and adaptations. Timour Basian and team inspired by Navin's work, helped perfect techniques for single cell sequencing while dramatically reduced sequencing pricing from $1000 per single cell to approx $60 per cell.  The article discuses further developments, implications and potential opportunities created by the advent of single cell sequencing. Worth reading.

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The Case of the Missing Human Ancestor

The Case of the Missing Human Ancestor | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
DNA from a cave in Russia adds a mysterious new member to the human family.
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Interesting article on the discovery of Denisovan DNA by the evolutionary genetics team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. 

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Cancers Genomes and their Implications for Curing Cancer (by Bert Vogelstein, JHU)

The full lecture title is "Cancers - Their Genomes, Microenvironments, and Susceptibility to Bacteria-based Therapies" by Bert Vogelstein. The Johns Hopkins Center for Biotechnology Education and the Department of Biology in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences hosted the American Society for Microbiology's Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) on the Homewood campus. Bert Vogelstein gave the closing plenary lecture, "Cancers - Their Genomes, Microenvironments, and Susceptibility to Bacteria-based Therapies". He teaches at John Hopkins University.

ASMCUE, now in its 18th year, is a professional development conference for approximately 300 educators. Each year, its steering committee organizes a program that offers access to premier scientists in diverse specialties and to educators leading biology education reform efforts. For more information on the conference, go to http://www.asmcue.org/page02d.shtml


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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