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CRISPR gene-editing tool causes unintended genetic mutations. It's not hyperbolic to say that the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique has been a revolutionary breakthrough, allowing scientists the ability to quickly, easily and precisely edit sections of DNA.

CRISPR gene-editing tool causes unintended genetic mutations

But questions over how precise the CRISPR tool is have been raised in a new study from Columbia University Medical Center, which shows this gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the genome. Future - China may be the future of genetic enhancement. Video: Humans Could Engineer Themselves for Long-Term Space Travel. To brave the conditions of microgravity, thin air and harsh ionizing radiation for any length of time, humans may need to borrow genes from some of the hardiest organisms on the planet, Lisa Nip, a doctoral candidate at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in a recent TED Talk.

Video: Humans Could Engineer Themselves for Long-Term Space Travel

Using the tools of synthetic biology, scientists could genetically engineer humans, and the plants and bacteria they bring with them, to create Earth-like conditions on another planet — known as terraforming, Nip said. This would be much more efficient than other proposed terraforming methods, such as hauling all of the tools to create a hermetically sealed environment, she added. [7 Most Mars-Like Places on Earth] Human limitations Humans are the ultimate homebodies. Having evolved for hundreds of thousands of years on our verdant, oxygen-rich, temperate planet, humans are uniquely well adapted to Earth's gentle conditions.

Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming - Issue 34: Adaptation. Does ‘humanizing’ mice for drug experiments pose ethical challenges? (This was originally published at the Genetic Literacy Project by Danielle Young) Biomedical research has discovered the value of humanizing rodents and using genetics to better predict the after-effects of many drugs and procedures.

Does ‘humanizing’ mice for drug experiments pose ethical challenges?

And, while we might feel sorry for the little lab mice, these little creatures are helping us better understand disease so we can cure serious illnesses. For years, scientists relied on animals as models for human disease. Initially, we used fruit flies and roundworms as models because they’re genetically similar to humans. Why is the X chromosome so odd? Traffic analogy helped us crack the mystery.

You may not be aware of it, but one of your chromosomes – the X chromosome – is considerably different from the rest and has posed a puzzle for scientists for over a decade.

Why is the X chromosome so odd? Traffic analogy helped us crack the mystery

Early in mammalian evolutionary history, what is now the X chromosome was just like any of our other chromosomes. But at some point it evolved to be different. Unlike all other chromosomes, one of the two X chromosomes in women is inactivated in nearly all cells. It also has an extremely low mutation rate and – most perplexingly – the genes that are found on it are active in relatively few of our tissues. Williams syndrome. Williams syndrome (WS) is a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body.[4] Facial features frequently include a broad forehead, short nose, and full cheeks, an appearance that has been described as "elfin".[4][3] Mild to moderate intellectual disability with particular problems with visual spatial tasks such as drawing and fewer problems with language are typical.[4] Those affected often have an outgoing personality and interact readily with strangers.[4][3] Problems with teeth, heart problems, especially supravalvular aortic stenosis, and periods of high blood calcium are common.[4][2] Treatment includes special education programs and various types of therapy.

Williams syndrome

Surgery may be done to correct heart problems. Dietary changes or medications may be required for high blood calcium.[2] The syndrome was first described in 1961 by New Zealander John C. P. Signs and symptoms[edit] Individuals with Williams syndrome[1] Physical[edit] Nervous system[edit] Developmental[edit] Huffingtonpost. Geneticists reconstruct population history of New York City. 'Deep learning' reveals unexpected genetic roots of cancers, autism and other disorders.

In the decade since the genome was sequenced in 2003, scientists and doctors have struggled to answer an all-consuming question: Which DNA mutations cause disease?

'Deep learning' reveals unexpected genetic roots of cancers, autism and other disorders

A new computational technique developed at the University of Toronto may now be able to tell us. A Canadian research team led by professor Brendan Frey has developed the first method for 'ranking' genetic mutations based on how living cells 'read' DNA, revealing how likely any given alteration is to cause disease. They used their method to discover unexpected genetic determinants of autism, hereditary cancers and spinal muscular atrophy, a leading genetic cause of infant mortality. Their findings appear in today's issue of the leading journal Science. Genomics is about to transform the world – Dawn Field. In case you weren’t paying attention, a lot has been happening in the science of genomics over the past few years.

Genomics is about to transform the world – Dawn Field

It is, for example, now possible to read one human genome and correct all known errors. Perhaps this sounds terrifying, but genomic science has a track-record in making science fiction reality. New DNA construct can set off a “mutagenic chain reaction” A technique for editing genes while they reside in intact chromosomes has been a real breakthrough.

New DNA construct can set off a “mutagenic chain reaction”

Literally. In 2013, Science magazine named it the runner-up for breakthrough-of-the-year, and its developers won the 2015 Breakthrough Prize. The system being honored is called CRISPR/Cas9, and it evolved as a way for bacteria to destroy viruses using RNA that matched the virus' DNA sequence. But it's turned out to be remarkably flexible, and the technique can be retargeted to any gene simply by modifying the RNA. Researchers are still figuring out new uses for the system, which means there are papers coming out nearly every week, many of them difficult to distinguish. Family violence leaves genetic imprint on children. A new Tulane University School of Medicine study finds that the more fractured families are by domestic violence or trauma, the more likely that children will bear the scars down to their DNA.

Family violence leaves genetic imprint on children

Researchers discovered that children in homes affected by domestic violence, suicide or the incarceration of a family member have significantly shorter telomeres, which is a cellular marker of aging, than those in stable households. The findings are published online in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics. Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that keep them from shrinking when cells replicate. Shorter telomeres are linked to higher risks for heart disease, obesity, cognitive decline, diabetes, mental illness and poor health outcomes in adulthood. Is the Will to Work Out Genetically Determined? First monkeys with customized mutations born. Niu et al., Cell Twin cynomolgus monkeys born in China are the first with mutations in specific target genes.

First monkeys with customized mutations born

The ultimate potential of precision gene-editing techniques is beginning to be realised. Black Death Likely Altered European Genes. The Black Death of the 14th century may be written into the DNA of survivors' descendants, new research finds. The study reveals that Roma people (sometimes known as gypsies, although this is considered a derogatory term) and white Europeans share alterations to their genetic code that occurred after the Roma settled in Europe from northwest India 1,000 years ago. The plague of the 1300s, which killed at least 75 million people, is a likely candidate for forcing this evolutionary change. "We show that there are some immune receptors that are clearly influenced by evolution in Europe and not in northwest India," said study leader Mihai Netea, a researcher in experimental internal medicine at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands.

"India did not have the medieval plague, as Europe had," Netea told Live Science. Error catastrophe. Immune cells chow down on living brain. Genes are regulated by microRNA sponges. Illustration of a circular microRNA sponge. The sponge has tiny microRNAs bound to it. This prevents the microRNAs from regulating the cell’s genes.

(Illustration: Jørgen Kjems) Scientists have discovered a hitherto unknown way for the body’s cells to regulate their genes. Danish researchers have identified tiny circular microRNA sponges (see factbox) that determine which proteins the body’s cells should produce. This ground-breaking discovery is of great importance to our general understanding of gene regulation, but also to our understanding of a long series of genetic diseases. “Our research shows that the body’s cells can contain very large amounts of these small, circular microRNA sponges. The search for a genetic killer.