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Supreme Court OKs patenting of human DNA if synthetic

Supreme Court OKs patenting of human DNA if synthetic | Longevity science | Scoop.it

In a first of its kind ruling on human genes, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday decided that synthetically produced genetic material can be patented but naturally occurring DNA extracted from the human body cannot.

 

 

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RNA Interference: Nanocoatings on bandages could deliver RNAs to shut off disease-related genes

RNA Interference: Nanocoatings on bandages could deliver RNAs to shut off disease-related genes | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Medical researchers think specially tailored RNA sequences could turn off genes in patients’ cells to encourage wound healing or to kill tumor cells. Now researchers have developed a nanocoating for bandages that could deliver these fragile gene-silencing RNAs right where they’re needed (ACS Nano 2013, DOI:10.1021/nn401011n). The team hopes to produce a bandage that shuts down genes standing in the way of healing in chronic wounds.

 

Small interfering RNAs, or siRNAs, derail expression of specific genes in cells by binding to other RNA molecules that contain the code for those genes. Biologists have developed siRNAs that target disease-related genes. But for these siRNAs to reach the clinic, researchers must find a way to deliver the molecules safely to the right cells. Unfortunately, free oligonucleotides like siRNAs don’t fare well inside the body or cells as enzymes and acids quickly chop them up, says Paula T. Hammond, a chemical engineer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Other groups have tackled this delivery challenge by attaching siRNAs to chemical carriers that protect the oligonucleotides as they travel through the bloodstream. The pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis asked Hammond to design a vehicle that would work at the site of a wound or tumor, releasing the siRNAs over a long period of time. The company hoped that putting the biomolecules right where they’re needed, without them having to survive a trip through the bloodstream, would increase the efficacy of the treatment.

 

Hammond and her colleagues produced an siRNA-containing nanocoating that could be applied to a wide range of medical materials, such as bandages or biodegradable polymers doctors could implant during surgery to prevent an excised tumor from coming back. As the coating slowly dissolves, it releases siRNA molecules tethered to protective nanoparticles.

 

The thin films consist of two different materials: a peptide called protamine sulfate and calcium phosphate nanoparticles decorated with the therapeutic siRNAs. Other researchers have shown that similar nanoparticles help the nucleotides evade destruction once they’re taken up by cells (J. Controlled Release 2010, DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2009.11.008).

 

The team alternately dips whatever they want to coat in water solutions of the two materials. The RNA and nanoparticles are negatively charged, and the peptides are positively charged. The two substances cling together due to electrostatic force, producing a film when the water dries.

 

To test their delivery method, the researchers coated woven nylon bandages with 80-nm-thick films and applied the bandages to layers of human and animal cells in culture. In one experiment, a bandage loaded with 19 µg of siRNA per square centimeter released two-thirds of its load over 10 days. Other bandages made using siRNAs targeting the gene for fluorescent green protein almost completely shut down the protein’s production in cells expressing the gene. Hammond says the group is now testing bandages that knock down MMP9, a collagen-destroying protein associated with slow healing in chronic wounds.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Correcting faulty DNA: stronger bodies, smarter minds, longer lives

Correcting faulty DNA: stronger bodies, smarter minds, longer lives | Longevity science | Scoop.it
What if you could improve your memory, become smarter and stronger, and live in an ageless disease-free body – just by taking a pill?

 

Though this may sound like the stuff of science fiction, experts are developing a better understanding of our genetic mysteries, including the powerful influence that DNA wields on our lives. It's becoming clear that cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity; most mental disorders, and many other ailments, could all be the result of a clash between genes we inherited from our past, and today's modern environment.

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Ordinary heart cells become 'biological pacemakers' with injection of a single gene

Ordinary heart cells become 'biological pacemakers' with injection of a single gene | Longevity science | Scoop.it
"Although we and others have created primitive biological pacemakers before, this study is the first to show that a single gene can direct the conversion of heart muscle cells to genuine pacemaker cells. The new cells generated electrical impulses spontaneously and were indistinguishable from native pacemaker cells," said Hee Cheol Cho, PhD., a Heart Institute research scientist.

Pacemaker cells generate electrical activity that spreads to other heart cells in an orderly pattern to create rhythmic muscle contractions. If these cells go awry, the heart pumps erratically at best; patients healthy enough to undergo surgery often look to an electronic pacemaker as the only option for survival.

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X Prize to Sequence Genomes of World’s Oldest People. Hopes To Unlock Secrets of Longevity

X Prize to Sequence Genomes of World’s Oldest People.  Hopes To Unlock Secrets of Longevity | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Toni Balcean turned 101 in September. How’d she beat a century? Simple. “Clean living and good Italian wine.” Case closed! Unless, of course, you like science. A retooled Archon Genomics X PRIZE aims to help scientists better understand healthy aging by sequencing 100 healthy centenarian genomes—in a month, with an accuracy of one error per million base pairs, and for under $1,000 per genome.

 

All this may sound eerily familiar. In fact, the Archon Genomics X PRIZE was first proposed back in 2006. Singularity Hub covered it in 2008 when the goal was to sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days for less than $10,000 per genome.

 

Grant Campany, Senior Director of the Archon Genomics X PRIZE, recently told Singularity Hub, “From 2006 to 2009, competitors registered for the Archon Genomics X PRIZE with the best of intentions, but over the past few years the industry has fragmented significantly, so we needed to restructure the competition to be more inclusive of the emerging and established sequencing platforms.”

 

So, in October 2011, the X PRIZE announced a new set of criteria. The payout remains $10 million; however, the Foundation upped the sequencing period to 30 days and made the target cost $1,000 to reflect rapidly declining sequencing prices.

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More Breast Cancer Treatments Hinted in Study

More Breast Cancer Treatments Hinted in Study | Longevity science | Scoop.it
New findings are reshaping the understanding of breast cancer, pointing to the use of drugs approved for other cancers. “This is the road map for how we might cure breast cancer in the future,” a researcher said.
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European regulators back first gene therapy drug

European regulators back first gene therapy drug | Longevity science | Scoop.it

LONDON (Reuters) - European regulators have recommended approval of the Western world's first gene therapy drug -- after rejecting it on three previous occasions -- in a significant advance for the novel medical technology.

 

More than 20 years since the first experiments with the ground-breaking method for fixing faulty genes, scientists and drug companies are still struggling to apply gene therapy in practice.

 

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Awesome Video Explains Synthetic Biology | Singularity Hub

Awesome Video Explains Synthetic Biology | Singularity Hub | Longevity science | Scoop.it

"A succinct, yet powerful animation titled “Synthetic Biology Explained” shows the incredible potential of this emergent field and how engineering will transform the field of genetics to produce some truly amazing technology.

 

With the sequencing of the human genome and the increased understanding of genes that have followed..."

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Hospital Throws Down $25,000 Prize To Decode Genomic Information | Singularity Hub

Hospital Throws Down $25,000 Prize To Decode Genomic Information | Singularity Hub | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Impulse Buy? When getting genetic information is no longer a cost issue… what do you do with it?


“for the development of an interpretation and communication system that can deliver genomic information from the lab to physicians and patients.” As genomic testing becomes much less expensive, we struggle to make good use of the information.

 

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New Type of DNA Discovered? | The Scientist

New Type of DNA Discovered? | The Scientist | Longevity science | Scoop.it

A newly identified form of DNA—small circles of non-repetitive sequences—may be widespread in somatic cells of mice and humans, according to a study in this week’s issue of Science. These extrachromosomal bits of DNA, dubbed microDNA, may be the byproducts of microdeletions in chromosomes, meaning that cells all over the body may have their own constellation of missing pieces of DNA.

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All genomes are dysfunctional: broken genes in healthy individuals

All genomes are dysfunctional: broken genes in healthy individuals | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Genome-sequencing studies indicate that all humans carry many genetic variants predicted to cause loss of function (LoF) of protein-coding genes, suggesting unexpected redundancy in the human genome. It is estimated that human genomes typically contain ~100 genuine LoF variants with ~20 genes completely inactivated. A recent paper in Science describes some of these rare and likely deleterious LoF alleles, including 26 known and 21 predicted severe disease–causing variants, as well as common LoF variants in nonessential genes.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Bladderwort Study Adds To The Debate On “Junk” DNA

Bladderwort Study Adds To The Debate On “Junk” DNA | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Only about two percent of the human genome contains genes. The other 98 percent has been likened to cosmology’s dark matter that fills the space between stars – there’s a lot of it, but nobody really knows what it does. Over the years scientists have put faith into the logic of evolution: if it’s there, it must serve a purpose. But a recent study shows that not all genomes are created equally. Unlike human genomes, the carnivorous bladderwort’s genome makes the most of its allotted bases having only an estimated 2 percent of non-coding DNA, or so-called “junk” DNA.

 

The genome of the carnivorous bladderwort plant (Utricularia gibba) is minuscule compared to the human genome – 82,000 bases versus our near 3 billion. But while it’s small, the genome is extremely efficient. About 97 percent of its genome codes for an estimated 28,500 genes and the short sequences that control those genes. The authors of a study mapping the bladderwort genome surmise that, through many generations, the non-coding portion of the carnivorous bladderwort’s genome has been systematically removed, resulting in just 3 percent of non-coding DNA.

 

 

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Stay cool and live longer? | KurzweilAI

Stay cool and live longer? | KurzweilAI | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute have identified a genetic program that promotes longevity of roundworms (nematodes) in cold environments — and this genetic program also exists in warm-blooded animals, including humans.

 

“This raises the intriguing possibility that exposure to cold air — or pharmacological stimulation of the cold-sensitive genetic program — may promote longevity in mammals,” said Shawn Xu, LSI faculty member and the Bernard W. Agranoff Collegiate Professor in the Life Sciences at the U-M Medical School.

 

Scientists had long assumed that animals live longer in cold environments because of a passive thermodynamic process, reasoning that low temperatures reduce the rate of chemical reactions and thereby slow the rate of aging.

 

 

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Can behavior be controlled by genes? The case of honeybee work assignments | e! Science News

Can behavior be controlled by genes? The case of honeybee work assignments | e! Science News | Longevity science | Scoop.it
What worker bees do depends on how old they are. A worker a few days old will become a nurse bee that devotes herself to feeding larvae (brood), secreting beeswax to seal the cells that contain brood and attending to the queen.
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The research explores the connection between RNA and behavior. Bees and other social insects provide insight into collective behavioral patterns and genetically-programmed behaviors. Gaining better understanding of this connection adds to our arsenal of information on genetics.

 

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Embryo survival gene may fight range of diseases: study

A gene that keeps embryos alive appears to control the immune system and determine how it fights chronic diseases like hepatitis and HIV, and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scientists said on Monday.

 

Although the experts have only conducted studies on the gene Arih2 using mice, they hope it can be used as a target for drugs eventually to fight a spectrum of incurable diseases.

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Solid Tumors, Chromosome Abnormalities and Genes involved in Cancer

Solid Tumors, Chromosome Abnormalities and Genes involved in Cancer | Longevity science | Scoop.it

Solid Tumors, Chromosome Abnormalities and Genes involved in Cancer reviewed and published in the Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology...


Via Brian Shields
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Nutrition, Disease & Polymorphisms

Nutrition, Disease & Polymorphisms | Longevity science | Scoop.it

"My paternal grandmother lived to be 101. At the time of her death, she was not taking any prescription medicines..."

 

Are some people genetically predisposed to need prescription drugs? Are some more dependent on antioxidants than others? There may be nutrient-gene interactions that affect our health.

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Potential Biomarker Emerging for Diabetic Neuropathy

Potential Biomarker Emerging for Diabetic Neuropathy | Longevity science | Scoop.it
An emerging biomarker may eventually lead to new approaches for treating diabetics at risk of developing nerve damage, UNSW researchers have found.

Via Brian Shields
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Twin study isolates key ageing genes

Twin study isolates key ageing genes | Longevity science | Scoop.it

In a study at Kings College London using groups of identical twins, genes were identified that are switched on or off by epigenetic factors - natural mechanisms other than the underlying DNA which change the gene expression, and could include external factors such as...

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Scientists Link Rare Gene Mutations to Heightened Risk of Autism

Scientists Link Rare Gene Mutations to Heightened Risk of Autism | Longevity science | Scoop.it
Scientists have for the first time identified several gene mutations that they say sharply increase the chances of autism, and have found that the risk increases with the age of the parents, particularly the father.
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The Spittoon » Did You Know? It’s Not so Rare to Have a Rare Disease

The Spittoon » Did You Know? It’s Not so Rare to Have a Rare Disease | Longevity science | Scoop.it

'Rare' disease can mean a lot of things. When you add it all up, almost 10% of the population will be diagnosed with a rare disease.

 

"In the United States, a disease is defined as “rare” if it affects fewer than 200,000 individuals, or roughly one in 1500. Rare diseases are often poorly understood, with symptoms that can be difficult to diagnose, and can be life-threatening. Around 6,800 rare diseases have been identified and the large majority of them — up to 80% — are thought to have a genetic origin."

 

 

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Neuroscientists boost memory using genetics, new memory-enhancing drug - Baylor College of Medicine

Neuroscientists boost memory using genetics, new memory-enhancing drug http://t.co/0gBCRdcd #memory #longevity #aging...
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