Animals

The New Way to Age Your Dog (and People)

Scientists are looking for models of ageing to help determine the causes of many age-related diseases. By using Labradors, the researchers from the University of California have demonstrated a new model for ageing that can be applied to other mammalian species and provide insights into our own genome.

CRISPR Used to Engineer Poisonous Flies

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Has a DNA Study Solved the Mystery of the Loch Ness Monster?

Mysterious sightings of a giant creature in the lake have fascinated Loch Ness visitors for years. The fabled Lock Ness monster, or ‘Nessie’, has been speculated to be a prehistoric marine reptile, called a plesiosaurus, or a shark. However, a recent DNA study could shed some light on one of Scotland’s longest running legends. Scientists […]

Single-Sex Shrimp: A Sustainable Food Source Protected from Disease

In a study last week researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have highlighted how the development of mono-sex prawns could increase the aquaculture yield whilst reducing the spread of the second most devasting parasitic disease: schistosomiasis. Additionally, in a triple whammy the sterility of a single-sex population negates the ecological risk of the crustacean […]

Genetic Mutation Significantly Increases Fruit Fly Lifespan

Fruit flies with a certain genetic mutation have significantly longer lifespans and better resistance to stresses than flies without the mutation. Fruit flies share a significant proportion of their genes with humans, making them good models to study human diseases and ageing. As the fruit flies usually live for about two months their lifespan is […]

Genomic Study of Komodo Dragons Shows Why They are Top Predators

A genomic study of Komodo dragons has shed light on their crucial genetic adaptations that have enabled them to become powerful apex predators. Komodo dragons are native to the Indonesian Islands, where they are top of the food chain. They can be up to 3m long, run at speeds of 20 kph and can take […]

CRISPR Activation Technique Improves Muscular Dystrophy Symptoms in Mice

A CRISPR activation technique has been shown to improve the symptoms of muscular dystrophy disease in mice. Muscular dystrophy is a hereditary condition characterised by progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles. A specific type of muscular dystrophy is caused by mutations in the gene Lama2, which codes for the protein laminin. Mutations in the […]

Genes that Allow Fish to Re-grow Limbs also Present in Humans

The genes that enable a fish to re-grow limbs have been found to be present in humans, new research has found. This insight could help develop regenerative treatments in humans. Many species can regenerate limbs after amputation including fish, salamanders and geckos. This can be used as a mechanism to escape predators and heal from […]

Being a Dog Lover is in Your Genes

Genetic factors contribute to how likely you are to own a dog, a new study has revealed. Evidence points to dogs being domesticated as early as 15,000 years ago. However, there is not much understanding to how this happened and if genetic factors had any influence. There is also debate if genetic influences could contribute […]