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  • News

    Cephalopods may have traded evolution gains for extra smarts

    Octopus, squid and cuttlefish don’t always follow the rules laid out in their DNA. Straying from prescribed genetic instructions may have increased the cephalopods’ thinking prowess, but comes at a cost, a new study suggests.

    Once genes have been copied from DNA into RNA, these cephalopods heavily edit the genes’ protein-making directions, researchers report April 6 in Cell. The study...

    04/06/2017 - 12:00 Genetics
  • Feature

    CRISPR had a life before it became a gene-editing tool

    It is the dazzling star of the biotech world: a powerful new tool that can deftly and precisely alter the structure of DNA. It promises cures for diseases, sturdier crops, malaria-resistant mosquitoes and more. Frenzy over the technique — known as CRISPR/Cas9 — is in full swing. Every week, new CRISPR findings are unfurled in scientific journals. In the courts, universities fight over patents...

    04/05/2017 - 09:00 Cells, Microbiology, Molecular Evolution
  • News

    Getting dengue first may make Zika infection much worse

    Being immune to a virus is a good thing, until it’s not. That’s the lesson from a study that sought to understand the severity of the Zika outbreak in Brazil. Experiments in cells and mice suggest that a previous exposure to dengue or West Nile can make a Zika virus infection worse.

    “Antibodies you generate from the first infection … can facilitate entry of the Zika virus into...

    03/30/2017 - 16:26 Biomedicine, Health, Immune Science
  • News

    Gene editing of human embryos yields early results

    Scientists have long sought a strategy for curing genetic diseases, but — with just a few notable exceptions — have succeeded only in their dreams. Now, though, researchers in China and Texas have taken a step toward making the fantasies a reality for all inherited diseases.

    Using the gene-editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9, the researchers have successfully edited disease-causing...

    03/29/2017 - 11:30 Genetics, Science & Society
  • News

    Dengue fever spreads in a neighborly way

    Dengue is a bit of a homebody. By mapping the spread of the virus across Bangkok, scientists found that infections were most likely to occur within a few minutes’ walk of the home of the first person infected.

    Pinpointing where dengue is likely to be transmitted can better focus efforts to stop the spread of the disease, the researchers report in the March 24 Science.

    “We often...

    03/23/2017 - 14:00 Health, Immune Science
  • News

    Random mutations play large role in cancer, study finds

    Researchers have identified new enemies in the war on cancer: ones that are already inside cells and that no one can avoid.

    Random mistakes made as stem cells divide are responsible for about two-thirds of the mutations in cancer cells, researchers from Johns Hopkins University report in the March 24 Science. Across all cancer types, environment and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and...

    03/23/2017 - 14:00 Cancer, Cells, Health
  • 50 Years Ago

    In 1967, LSD was briefly labeled a breaker of chromosomes

    LSD may damage chromosomes

    Two New York researchers have found the hallucinogenic drug will markedly increase the rate of abnormal change in chromosomes. [Scientists] tested LSD on cell cultures from the blood of two healthy individuals … [and] also found similar abnormal changes in the blood of a schizophrenic patient who had been treated with [LSD]. The cell cultures showed a two-fold...

    03/23/2017 - 07:00 Genetics, Neuroscience
  • Science Visualized

    Colorful pinwheel puts a new spin on mouse pregnancy

    View slideshow of other winners

    This rainbow pinwheel of mouse placentas isn’t just an eye-catching, award-winning image. The differences in color also provide researchers with new clues to how a mother’s immune system may affect her or her baby’s health during pregnancy. The work could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of preeclampsia, a common pregnancy complication. 

    ...

    03/22/2017 - 07:00 Animals, Immune Science, Science & Society
  • Feature

    Cancer cells cast a sweet spell on the immune system

    Shrink yourself small enough to swoop over the surface of a human cell, and you might be reminded of Earth’s terrain. Fats, or lipids, stay close to the surface, like grasses and shrubs. Proteins stand above the shrubs, as mighty oaks or palm trees. But before you could distinguish the low-lying lipids from the towering proteins, you’d see something else adorning these molecules — sugars.

    ...
    03/21/2017 - 12:00 Cancer, Immune Science
  • News

    Genetic switch offers clue to why grasses are survival masters

    Grasses have top-notch border control to conserve water in their leaves. Now, scientists have identified the genetic switch that makes them such masters at taking in carbon dioxide without losing water. The find might eventually help scientists create more drought-resistant crop plants, the researchers report in the March 17 Science.  

    Adjustable pores called stomata on the undersides of...

    03/20/2017 - 15:35 Plants, Cells, Physiology