The earliest multicellular organisms may have lacked heads, legs, or arms, but pieces of them remain inside of us today, new research shows. According to a UC Riverside study, 555-million-year-old oceanic creatures from the Ediacaran period share genes with today's animals, including humans.
Malaria is the deadliest pathogen in human history, and by studying the strains of malaria that birds carry, scientists might be able to help prevent the disease in humans. Researchers analyzed blood samples of more than 1,000 species of birds from the Andes looking for malaria; they found that the strains of malaria present in a local area don't always neatly align with the types of birds living there.
Diphtheria - a relatively easily-preventable infection - is evolving to become resistant to a number of classes of antibiotics and in future could lead to vaccine escape, warn an international team of researchers from the UK and India.
Understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying brain "plasticity" is crucial for explaining many illnesses and conditions. Neurocientists from Göttingen University and University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) managed to repeatedly image synapses, tiny contact sites between neurons, in awake adult mice. They are the first to discover that adult neurons in the primary visual cortex with an increased number of "silent synapses" lacking a certain protein, display structural changes previously only reported in young mice. Research published in PNAS.
New research published in two papers by UC San Diego scientists describes novel achievements designed to make the implementation of gene drives safer and more controllable. The new split drive and home-and-rescue systems address concerns about the release of gene drives in wild populations.
Researchers at CSHL used CRISPR, a genome-editing tool, to figure out the hidden roles of a developmental gene called WOX9. It usually induces flower branching in tomatoes and influences embryo growth in a plant related to broccoli. By tweaking the DNA in the gene's nearby promoter region, the researchers found WOX9 could induce flower branching in other species. These types of genetic manipulations provide new opportunities to improve crop traits while eliminating unwanted side effects.
In nematode worms, a key controller allows the worm to sense when it needs food and when it feels full, and then changes its behavior accordingly. Jennifer Tullet of the University of Kent and colleagues report these new findings in a paper published March 4th in PLOS Genetics. They propose that a similar factor may control feelings of fullness in humans.
Existing gene drive technologies could be combined to help control the invasive grey squirrel population in the UK with little risk to other populations, according to a modelling study published in Scientific Reports.
Two scientists at the CECAD Cluster of Excellence in Aging Research have developed a method that can determine an organism's biological age with unprecedented precision. Researchers expect new insights into how the environment, nutrition, and therapies influence the aging process.
Evolutionary forces drive a glaring gender imbalance in the occurrence of many health conditions, including autism, a team of genetics researchers has concluded.