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  • News in Brief

    Ebola virus not mutating as quickly as thought

    The virus causing the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa is not evolving as quickly as some scientists had suggested.

    In a paper last August, researchers reported that the virus (Zaire ebolavirus) was altering its genes almost twice as fast as it had during previous Ebola outbreaks in Central Africa (...

    03/26/2015 - 14:22 Genetics
  • News

    Iceland lays bare its genomes

    By pinpointing a suite of dysfunctional genes, a detailed genetic portrait of the Icelandic population has helped scientists identify rare gene variants associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other medical problems.

    An international team of researchers working with deCODE, a genetics company based in Reykjavík, Iceland, determined...

    03/25/2015 - 14:51 Genetics, Evolution, Biomedicine
  • Science Ticker

    A vineyard's soil influences the microbiome of a grapevine

    Just as humans have a world of microbes inside them, so do grapevines. These bacteria and fungi may influence the grape’s resilience against drought, susceptibility to pests, the wine-making process and possibly the flavor and feel of the wine itself. For Merlot vines, soil microbes appear occupy prime real estate on the grapes, leaves and flowers of the plant, researchers...

    03/25/2015 - 07:00 Microbiology, Agriculture
  • News in Brief

    Clean-up gene gone awry can cause Lou Gehrig’s disease

    Mutations on a gene necessary for keeping cells clean can cause Lou Gehrig’s disease, scientists report online March 24 in Nature Neuroscience. The gene is one of many that have been connected to the condition.

    In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, nerve cells that control voluntary...

    03/24/2015 - 15:25 Health, Genetics, Neuroscience
  • News

    Turning the gut microbiome into a chat room

    Altering how bacteria talk to each other can change the balance of microbes in the body, a new study suggests.

    By butting in to bacterial conversations, friendly microbes may better resist the ravages of antibiotics, researchers report online March 19 in Cell Reports. Treating mice with antibiotics depleted the number...

    03/19/2015 - 12:00 Microbiology
  • News

    Prospective Crohn’s drug yields high rate of remission

    An experimental drug for Crohn’s disease is showing encouraging results in an early trial, sending many patients into remission and keeping them there for 12 weeks or more. The compound, called mongersen, is a pill that shuts down inflammation in the gut.

    Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes pain, severe diarrhea and fatigue and can lead to weight loss, malnutrition and...

    03/18/2015 - 17:00 Health, Immune Science, Clinical Trials
  • Science Ticker

    History of the United Kingdom revealed in its genes

    Invading Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Normans may have shaped the history, culture and language of the British Isles, but they left surprisingly few genetic traces of themselves behind. DNA samples from more than 2,000 people from rural parts of the United Kingdom reveal 17 subtly distinct groups that reflect the history of the islands, researchers...

    03/18/2015 - 14:49 Genetics, Ancestry
  • Science Ticker

    Finches can pass H7N9 bird flu to chickens

    Finches, parakeets and sparrows are the ultimate source of H7N9 avian influenza, a new study concludes.

    More than 600 people have contracted H7N9 bird flu in China, and more than 200 have died. Most of the people probably caught it from infected chickens, but it hasn’t been clear where chickens...

    03/17/2015 - 13:23 Microbiology
  • How Bizarre

    The upside of a demolished chromosome

    A shattered chromosome cured a woman of a rare genetic disease. The woman had been diagnosed as a child with WHIM syndrome, an immune disease caused by a mutation in a gene called CXCR4.

    Like other WHIM syndrome patients, the woman had an extreme number of warts and was frequently hospitalized with infections. But at about age 38, those symptoms mysteriously disappeared.


    03/17/2015 - 13:00 Genetics
  • News

    For healthy eating, timing matters

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    When you eat may determine how long and strong your heart beats.

    Fruit flies that limited eating to 12-hour stints had steadier heartbeats in old age than flies that ate whenever they wanted, researchers report in the March 13 Science. The study adds to a growing...

    03/12/2015 - 14:00 Physiology, Nutrition