Genetics

Gene That Promotes Natural Short Sleep Identified

The gene that controls how much sleep a person needs to feel fully rested has been identified by researchers. Back in 2009 the researchers led by Ying-Hui Fu, PhD, discovered that those with a mutation in their DEC2 gene averaged 6.25 hours sleep per night, compared to 8.06 hours in those without the mutation. 10 […]

Advances in Improving HDR Efficiency for CRISPR Experiments

Despite vast progress in leveraging the CRISPR-Cas9 system for genome manipulation, bottlenecks still remain. Overcoming these bottlenecks is critical to ensure the efficacy of this technology in a clinical context. Several engineering approaches involve inducing a double -stranded break (DSB) to introduce new mutations, which are then repaired by the endogenous cellular machinery. The two […]

Environmental Pollution Linked to Psychiatric Disorders

Higher levels of environmental pollution correlate with higher incidences of a range of mental disorders, a new study has identified. The researchers looked at populations in both the US and Denmark. In the US study, the levels of environmental pollution were determined from air, water and land quality measurements, in addition to population density and […]

Telomere Gene Holds Key to Pluripotency

A gene that codes for a telomere protein is the key to regulating stem cell pluripotency, new research shows. Pluripotent stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any type of specialised cell in the body. They hold huge potential for a range of regenerative medical treatments. Scientists have previously struggled to understand the genetic […]

Improved Methods for CRISPR Homology-Directed Repair Using Alt-R HDR Enhancer and ssDNA Donors with Optimized Design

CRISPR-Cas proteins introduce double-stranded breaks (DSBs) at targeted genomic loci. These are repaired by endogenous cellular pathways such as non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) and homology-directed repair (HDR). Providing a ssDNA template during repair allows researchers to introduce a desired mutation precisely, by utilizing the HDR pathway. However, rates of HDR are often low compared to […]

Sticky DNA Traps Cause Gallstone Formation

Sticky DNA traps produced by immune cells enable gallstones to stick together and grow, new research has revealed. Gallstones are stones that form in the gall bladder when the fats and minerals found in bile harden into a crystalline structure. Gallstones can cause inflammation and infections, depending on their size. Researchers investigated gallstones in patients […]

Digital DNA: Genetic Counselling – An Interview with Jill Davies

The Digital DNA series explores the role of large-scale genetic testing in science, industry and society. We aim to understand both the benefits and risks of this emerging technology and see what the future may hold. We talked to Jill Davies, CEO of GeneMatters. The company provides genetic counselling to patients through a telehealth platform […]

New Technique to Select Offspring Gender

A reversible chemical technique can separate sperm carrying X chromosomes from sperm carrying Y chromosomes to select the offspring sex of mice. Cells from male mammals contain both an X and Y chromosome. However, sperm cells contain either an X or Y chromosome. As the female egg cell always contains an X chromosome, sperm that […]

Keto Diet Supresses Cancer Growth in Mice

Mice fed on a keto diet alongside an anti-diabetic drug were found to have slower progression rates of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) lung tumours. The keto diet, currently widely popular, minimises sugar and carbohydrate intake. SCC is a type of cancer formed by the squamous cells that make up the epithelial layer of organs, including […]

Fish Can Conserve Memories Across Generations

The myth of the goldfish’s three second memory has long prevailed in popular culture. However, new research has suggested that unlike humans, fish are able to conserve memories over generations using epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetic modifications can change the expression of DNA without changing the DNA code itself. Often this is in the form of DNA […]

Alternative Cause of Alzheimer’s Discovered

Alzheimer’s has previously been understood to be caused by a build up of protein plaques in the brain. However, new research has revealed that alternative metabolic pathways in the brain may be more integral to the formation of the disease. The plaques are formed by proteins known as beta-amyloid and tau. As Alzheimer’s progresses the […]

Genomics Medicine Ireland Announces Strategic Advisory Board

Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) has announced the establishment of a Strategic Advisory Board that will work collaboratively with GMI in shaping the company’s strategy for the application of large-scale genomics population studies on the island of Ireland, in addition to providing input and advice on the multi-disciplinary integration of genomics into the Irish healthcare system. […]

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 […]