Genetics

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 […]

Changes to Genetic Risk Factors Not Always Reported to Patients

Patients are not being informed about changes to their genetic risk factors for cancer, a new study shows. If an individual has a family history of a type of cancer, they can get a genetic test to identify their own cancer risk. Identifying a genetic risk means that person can get regular check-ups and be […]

Why do Humans Procrastinate?

A genetic variant has been found to increase an individual’s tendency to procrastinate, the act of delaying an essential task in favour of easier and less vital ones. Procrastination can harm productivity in both the workplace and everyday life. It can also negatively affect physical and mental health. However, if you are getting frustrated at […]

Plant Mitochondrial DNA Genetically Engineered for the First Time

Scientists have genetically engineered plant mitochondrial DNA for the first time. This advancement could enable a more secure food supply for the future. Low mitochondrial diversity in plants leaves whole species vulnerable to diseases. If all plants are genetically similar, very few individuals will have resistance to certain diseases, which will give a low survival […]

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 […]

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 […]

Common Cold Virus as a Treatment for Bladder Cancer

A variant of the common cold virus has shown promising trial results as a treatment for bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is the tenth highest incident cancer in the UK and kills approximately 5,300 people a year. Current treatments for bladder cancer mostly have high recurrence rates or dangerous side-effects. 15 non-muscle invasive bladder cancer patients […]

Software Fault Leaves Patients’ Genetic Data Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

Researchers have found a weakness in software used for genomics data storage, which could leave patients’ information vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The increasing speed and availability of genetic sequencing technologies has enabled personalised medicine to make significant progress over the last few years. Patient’s genetic profiles are considered when choosing chemotherapy treatment and cures are being […]

Genetic Variant Increases Pre-Disposition to Anxiety and Depression

Patients with a certain genetic variant have been found to both be more pre-disposed to anxiety and depression and have lower susceptibility to the usual medication. Although anxiety and depression can be developed due to distressing events or stressful periods in a person’s life, there is increasing evidence that some people are more predisposed to […]

Genetic Test Reduces Risk of Chemotherapy Side-Effects

A new genetic test has been successfully trialled at a hospital in Oxford to help doctors identify patients most at risk of chemotherapy side-effects.  Capecitabine and fluorouracil (5FU) are common chemotherapy drugs for cancers including breast, bowl and stomach. Both drugs act as anti-metabolites and resemble biological molecules found inside cells. When the drug molecules […]

Fleeting Genetic Changes Could Have Lasting Impact

Fleeting genetic changes observed in stem cells as they differentiate could shed light on the origin of certain genetic diseases. Scientists studying stem cell differentiation usually only compare the differences in gene expression between the fully undifferentiated and differentiated cells. However, new research has revealed that the fleeting genetic changes during cell development could have […]

Largest DNA-Mapping Study of a Single US Population Begins

Intermountain Healthcare and deCODE Genetics, a subsidiary of Amgen based in Iceland, have announced a major joint collaboration and study of 500,000 genomes centred around discovering new connections between genetics and human diseases. The study represents the largest US DNA-mapping attempt from a single population.