Animals

Gene Editing Induces Hallucinations in Mice

Scientists have genetically engineered neurons in mice to give them hallucinations. The research could help identify why certain people experience hallucinations, associated with several mental illnesses, and inform new treatments. Two genes were inserted into the neuron cells of the mice’s visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes visual information. One coded for […]

New Gene Linked to Healthy Ageing in Worms

A gene has been identified in worms that improves their health, but not their lifespan, as they age. Maintaining quality of life is becoming a focus in healthcare for the elderly, as people that live to the same age do not necessarily have the same quality of life. Some maintain both their movement and cognitive […]

Science of Gender-Swapping Fish Revealed

New research has explored the dynamic genetic changes taking place during the bluehead wrasse’s sex change. The bluehead wrasse social group consists of one dominant blue male fish and a harem of yellow females. However, when the dominant male is removed from the group the largest female immediately undergoes a full sex change and becomes […]

Species Lifespan Predicted by Rate of Telomere Shortening

New research has indicated that a species’ lifespan can be predicted by the rate of telomere shortening but not by the initial telomere length, as previously thought. Telomeres are repetitive sequences of DNA nucleotides found at the end of chromosomes. They protect the chromosome from degradation during cell division. As species age, the length of […]

CRISPR Technique Ensures Only Female Offspring in Mice

A CRISPR-based technique has been used in mice to ensure they give birth to exclusively female offspring. This has applications for selecting the sex ratio in livestock. Although offspring sex selection through genetic techniques has previously been achieved in fish and insects, this is the first successful attempt in mammals. Mammal offspring sex selection has […]

Genetic Changes that Cause Coral Bleaching Identified

Researchers have identified the genetic changes that cause corals to bleach when ocean temperatures increase. This insight gives researchers the possibility to genetically engineer corals to make them more resistant to bleaching.  At normal temperatures, corals form a symbiotic relationship with microalgae, known as dinoflagellates. The algae provide their photosynthetic products to the coral so […]

HIV Virus Eliminated from Infected Mice Cells

A new CRISPR-based method has managed to eliminate HIV in mice, for the first time potentially curing the lifelong illness of HIV/AIDs. Clinical trials will start next year to identify if the same method could be used to cure humans.   HIV is a virus which attacks the immune cells in the body, leaving it […]

George Church’s Startup Testing Pig Organs in Primates

eGenesis has announced that it is now testing pig organs on primates to see if they safe for human use. If successful, this practice could solve the current shortage of human organs for transplantation. The company has declared that the pig organs are the most highly engineered ever created by surgeons.

Gene Editing Creates Primate Model for Autism

A joint US-China study has engineered macaque monkeys to express a mutation linked to autism and other human neurodevelopmental disorders. The monkey showed certain behavioural traits similar to humans with the same condition.

Stem Cells Edited In Vivo For the First Time

Researchers have genetically modified stem cells inside the bodies of mice for the first time, in a study that could lead eventually to new potential for stem cell therapies. The study also shows potential for studying genetically-edited stem cells within the body, rather than in the lab.

Fungus Genetically Modified to Wipe Out Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes

University of Maryland scientists have genetically modified a fungus to produce a toxin fatal to mosquitoes, in order to reduce the malaria death toll they currently cause. An out-of-lab trial destroyed a mosquito population almost entirely within 45 days, leading some to criticise the work as “too dangerous” for the real world.

Chinese Institute Clones Gene-Edited Monkeys for Testing

Scientists at the Institute of Neuroscience (ION) in China have reportedly used gene-editing technology to disable a certain gene vital to sleep-cycle in macaque monkeys. This prototype could create populations of genetically identical monkeys to allow scientists to better study the mechanisms of complex human disorders.

New tRNA Sequencing Method Uncovers Microbiome Activity

A new high-throughput sequencing technique created by scientists at the University of Chicago will uncover how naturally occurring microbiomes respond to real-world conditions and diets. The technique, outlined in Nature Communications, directly analyses transfer RNA (tRNA) to give a clear picture of microbial communities’ reactions to environment changes including temperature variations and nutrient availability.