News

CRISPR Used to Engineer Poisonous Flies

4 October 2019

Normally harmless fruit flies have been gene edited using CRISPR, with genes from the monarch butterfly, to make them poisonous to both their predators and humans. The monarch caterpillars feed on the toxic plant milkweed. When the caterpillars metamorphosise into butterfly’s they retain the milkweed toxins in their tissues, which make them poisonous to potential […]

4 October 2019

Trump Administration to Expand DNA Collection at Border

The Trump Administration will expand the DNA of collection of migrants who attempt to illegally enter the USA and hold their information in a criminal database operated by the FBI. The Department of Homeland Security is planning to implement a programme that will allow border officials to collect DNA samples from apprehended migrants. This follows […]

3 October 2019

Worms Survive Extreme Arsenic Levels

Image credit: Purdue University  Few creatures can survive in Mono Lake, California. It is three times as salty as the ocean, has a strongly alkaline pH of 10 and is laden with the poisonous element arsenic. However, eight species of nematodes have been found to be thriving in this extreme environment. Discovering the genetic drivers […]

2 October 2019

Psoriasis Drugs Could be Repurposed as Osteosarcoma Treatments

Psoriasis drugs could be repurposed as osteosarcoma treatments, as both diseases respond to inhibition of the same target. Osteosarcoma is a rare and difficult to cure bone cancer in children. Survival outcomes for children are poor, even with surgery and chemotherapy, as approximately 30% of patients die within five years of a diagnosis. However, increased […]

1 October 2019

Molecular Assemblies Announces $12.2 M Series A Financing to Advance Enzymatic DNA Synthesis

SAN DIEGO, October 1, 2019 — Molecular Assemblies, Inc., today announced that it has raised a $12.2 million Series A financing led by iSelect Fund and joined by existing investors, Agilent Technologies, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Keshif Ventures. The proceeds of the financing will be used to advance the company’s proprietary enzymatic DNA synthesis technology to […]

1 October 2019

Ultrasound Used to View Gene Expression

Ultrasound has been used successfully to view gene expression in mammalian cells, in a development that could transform cellular imaging technologies. Methods of visualising gene expression in cells are essential to enable continued advances in genomic medicine. Fluorescent techniques are currently the most widely used cellular imaging technique, despite their limitations. Fluorescent ‘tags’ can be […]

30 September 2019

New Blood Test Can Detect Multiple Types of Cancer

A new blood test has been shown to identify different cancer types with a high degree of accuracy. When cancer cells die, they shed their DNA into the blood. Previous diagnostic tests work by identifying the genetic mutations present in the cancer cell DNA. However, this technique is limited in its ability to distinguish where […]

30 September 2019

Fungus Eating Ants Could Provide Solution to Antibiotic Resistance

Fungus eating ants have inspired a novel approach to reduce antibiotic resistance. Attine ants grow ‘fungal gardens’ as their food source, however their fungus food supply is also fed on by a parasitic fungus. To counter this threat, the ants form an unlikely alliance. The ants host bacteria on their bodies that produce anti-microbials to […]

27 September 2019

Anxiety Can Disrupt Mitochondrial Function

Anxiety is a serious mental disorder characterized by panic attacks and a strong emotional response to stress. It can be initiated by stressful life events, such as bereavement, divorce and conflict. It is known that some people are more susceptible to anxiety than others, as not all who experience stressful life events necessarily experience anxiety. […]

27 September 2019

Muscular Dystrophy Oligonucleotide Treatment Shows Promise in Pre-Clinical Trials

An oligonucleotide treatment for muscular dystrophy has shown promising results in pre-clinical trials. It is estimated that the new treatment could be effective for over half of muscular dystrophy patients. Muscular dystrophy is a hereditary condition characterised by a progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles. It is caused by a malfunction in the gene […]

26 September 2019

World’s First Genetically Modified Reptile is Albino Lizard

The gene editing technique CRISPR has been used successfully on reptiles for the first time, to produce four albino lizards. Although birds, mammals and fish have been successfully edited with CRISPR, reptiles have proved more challenging targets for the CRISPR/Cas-9 system due to the differences in their reproductive physiology. The brown anole lizard, Anolis sagrei, […]

26 September 2019

First CRISPR Therapy to Treat HIV Safe but Ineffective

A CRISPR therapy that attempted to cure a man of HIV has failed, but proved safe for the patient. The patient was diagnosed with HIV/AIDs and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was being treated with chemotherapy for the leukemia and anti-viral drugs for HIV, which reduce the amount of virus in the blood but do not […]

25 September 2019

Senescent Cells may Cause Thrombosis

Cell senescence may explain why people suddenly become more prone to deep vein thrombosis once they reach the age of 45, new research has shown. Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside of a blood vessel, which disrupts the flow of blood around the body. Thrombosis incidence is extremely low in people below […]

24 September 2019

Shareable Science: How the Loch Ness Monster could Help Save Marine Life

Our guest contributor Dr Neil Lamb continues his fortnighty Shareable Science Blog. Neil is the Vice President for Educational Outreach at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Shareable Science will explore how genetics is relevant to people in their everyday lives.  Scientists from New Zealand’s Otago University called a news conference in early September 2019 […]