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  • Science Ticker

    CRISPR used in cows to help fight tuberculosis

    Mooooove over CRISPR chickens, pigs and goats. Everyone’s favorite DNA-editing tool is another step closer to transforming the barnyard. 

    Researchers at China’s Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University devised a CRISPR/Cas 9 technique to give cloned dairy cows a leg up against the bacteria behind bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis). Last year, another group used TALENs, an...

    02/03/2017 - 13:00 Genetics, Animals, Agriculture
  • News in Brief

    CRISPR used in cows to help fight tuberculosis

    Mooooove over CRISPR chickens, pigs and goats. The powerful gene-editing tool is another step closer to transforming the barnyard.

    Researchers at China’s Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University tailored a CRISPR/Cas 9 technique to give cloned dairy cows a leg up against the bacteria behind bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis), a threat to cows in many parts of the world. Last...

    02/03/2017 - 13:00 Genetics, Animals, Agriculture
  • News

    Big genetics study blazes path for bringing back tomato flavor

    An analysis of nearly 400 kinds of tomatoes suggests which flavor compounds could bring heirloom deliciousness back to varieties that were bred for toughness over taste.

    About 30 compounds are important in creating a full-bodied tomato flavor, says study coauthor Harry Klee of the University of Florida in Gainesville. He and colleagues have identified 13 important molecules that have...

    01/26/2017 - 14:09 Plants, Genetics, Agriculture
  • Feature

    Tales of creatures large and small made news this year

    Scientists filled in the details of some famous evolutionary tales in 2016 — and discovered a few surprises about creatures large and small.

    Venom repertoire

    By studying a gene family important for toxin production, researchers found that modern rattlesnakes have pared down their venom arsenal over time (SN: 10/15/16, p. 9). Rattlers now have a smaller repertoire of toxins, perhaps more...

    12/22/2016 - 07:00 Animals, Evolution, Genetics
  • News

    Force-detecting protein senses when lungs fill with air

    Scientists investigating what keeps lungs from overinflating can quit holding their breath.

    Experiments in mice have identified a protein that senses when the lungs are full of air. This protein helps regulate breathing in adult mice and gets breathing going in newborn mice, researchers report online December 21 in Nature.

    If the protein plays a similar role in people — and a few...

    12/21/2016 - 13:01 Biophysics, Genetics, Neuroscience
  • 50 Years Ago

    50 years ago, alcohol use was linked to several gene variants

    A case for genetic drinking

    Whether one drinks at all, how much and how often are partly due to heredity, [according to a Finnish study of 902 male twins].… A genetic element in alcoholism “seems highly plausible,” [researchers] said.… Surprisingly, genes also have much to do with creating an abstainer. Lack of control — which should resemble alcoholism — is no single gene, but a group...

    12/15/2016 - 15:30 Genetics
  • Science Ticker

    Genome clues help explain the strange life of seahorses

    A seahorse’s genetic instruction book is giving biologists a few insights into the creature’s odd physical features and rare parenting style.

    Researchers decoded a male tiger tail seahorse’s (Hippocampus comes) genome and compared it to the genomes of other seahorses and ray-finned fishes. The analysis revealed a bevy of missing genes and other genetic elements responsible for enamel and...

    12/14/2016 - 16:30 Animals, Genetics, Evolution
  • Feature

    Year in review: ‘Three-parent baby’ technique raises hope and concern

    A “three-parent baby” was born in April, the world’s first reported birth from a controversial technique designed to prevent mitochondrial diseases from passing from mother to child.

    “As far as we can tell, the baby is normal and free of disease,” says Andrew R. La Barbera, chief scientific officer of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “This demonstrates that, in point of...

    12/14/2016 - 07:39 Genetics, Science & Society, Biomedicine
  • Feature

    Year in review: How humans populated the globe

    No paper or digital trails document ancient humans’ journey out of Africa to points around the globe. Fortunately, those intrepid travelers left a DNA trail. Genetic studies released in 2016 put a new molecular spin on humans’ long-ago migrations. These investigations also underscore the long trek ahead for scientists trying to reconstruct Stone Age road trips.

    “I’m beginning to suspect...

    12/14/2016 - 07:37 Genetics, Archaeology
  • Feature

    Year in review: ‘Minimal genome’ makes its debut

    One of biology’s biggest achievements of 2016 was intentionally as small as possible: building a bacterium with only 473 genes. That pint-size genetic blueprint, the smallest for any known free-living cell, is a milestone in a decades-long effort to create an organism containing just the bare essentials necessary to exist and reproduce. Such “minimal genome” cells might eventually serve as...

    12/14/2016 - 07:36 Microbiology, Genetics, Cells