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  • News

    Resistance to CRISPR gene drives may arise easily

    A genetic-engineering tool designed to spread through a population like wildfire — eradicating disease and even whole invasive species — might be more easily thwarted than thought.

    Resistance to the tools, called CRISPR gene drives, arose at high rates in experiments with Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies, researchers at Cornell University report July 20 in PLOS Genetics. Rates of...

    07/20/2017 - 16:35 Genetics, Science & Society, Animals
  • News

    Cows produce powerful HIV antibodies

    An unlikely hero has emerged in the quest to fight HIV: the cow. In a first for any animal, including humans, four cows injected with a type of HIV protein rapidly produced powerful antibodies against the virus, researchers report. Learning how to induce similar antibodies in humans may be key to a successful HIV vaccine.

    The antibodies, called broadly neutralizing antibodies, can stop...

    07/20/2017 - 14:46 Biomedicine, Health, Immune Science
  • News

    These genes may be why dogs are so friendly

    DNA might reveal how dogs became man’s best friend.

    A new study shows that some of the same genes linked to the behavior of extremely social people can also make dogs friendlier. The result, published July 19 in Science Advances, suggests that dogs’ domestication may be the result of just a few genetic changes rather than hundreds or thousands of them.

    “It is great to see initial...

    07/19/2017 - 14:00 Genetics, Animals
  • News

    Common drugs help reverse signs of fetal alcohol syndrome in rats

    A common blood sugar medication or an extra dose of a thyroid hormone can reverse signs of cognitive damage in rats exposed in utero to alcohol. Both affect an enzyme that controls memory-related genes in the hippocampus, researchers report July 18 in Molecular Psychiatry.

    That insight might someday help scientists find an effective human treatment for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders,...

    07/18/2017 - 14:47 Health, Development
  • News

    Dog domestication happened just once, ancient DNA study suggests

    People and pooches may have struck up a lasting friendship after just one try, a new genetic study suggests.

    New data from ancient dogs indicates that dogs became distinct from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago, researchers report July 18 in Nature Communications. Dogs then formed genetically distinct eastern and western groups 17,000 to 24,000 years ago, the researchers...

    07/18/2017 - 11:18 Genetics, Animals, Archaeology
  • News in Brief

    GM moth trial gets a green light from USDA

    Cabbage-chomping moths genetically modified to be real lady-killers may soon take flight in upstate New York. On July 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture OK’d a small open-air trial of GM diamondback moths (Plutella xylostella), which the agency says do not pose a threat to human or environmental health.

    These male moths carry a gene that kills female offspring before they mature....

    07/14/2017 - 13:11 Agriculture, Genetics
  • News

    These bacteria may egg on colon cancer

    A bad bacterium may make colon cancer worse.

    Streptococcus gallolyticus spurred growth of some colon cancer cells in lab dishes and in mice, researchers report July 13 in PLOS Pathogens. S. gallolyticus stimulates a biochemical chain reaction that scientists already knew is involved in the development of colon cancer, the researchers discovered.

    Bacteria had to be in direct contact...

    07/13/2017 - 14:26 Microbiology, Cancer
  • Science Ticker

    CRISPR adds storing movies to its feats of molecular biology

    Short film is alive and well. Using the current trendy gene-editing system CRISPR, a team from Harvard University has encoded images and a short movie into the DNA of living bacteria.

    The work is part of a larger effort to use DNA to store data — from audio recordings and poetry to entire books on synthetic biology. Last year, Seth Shipman and his colleagues at Harvard threw CRISPR into...

    07/12/2017 - 19:09 Genetics, Technology
  • News in Brief

    How a crop-destroying fungus mutated to infect wheat

    A wheat strain that let its guard down may have paved the way for a crop-destroying fungus to infect the species.

    About 1980, Brazilian farmers began growing a strain of wheat called Anahuac, which is suited to the country’s nonacidic soils. And that, researchers report July 7 in Science, may be when wheat started to lose an arms race with blast fungus (Pyricularia oryzae, also known as...

    07/10/2017 - 08:00 Genetics, Plants
  • News in Brief

    Fossil tooth pushes back record of mysterious Neandertal relative

    DNA retrieved from a child’s worn-down fossil tooth shows the ancient Asian roots of extinct Neandertal relatives called Denisovans, researchers say.

    A 10- to 12-year-old female Denisovan, represented by the tooth, lived at least 100,000 years ago, conclude evolutionary geneticist Viviane Slon of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and colleagues....

    07/07/2017 - 14:00 Anthropology, Genetics, Human Evolution