Nov. 30, 2011 — In a study into the genetics of blood cell formation, researchers have identified 68 regions of the genome that affect the size and number of platelets. Platelets are small cells that circulate in the blood and are key to the processes of blood clotting and wound healing. In this genome-wide study, the team used a multidisciplinary approach to successfully identify new genetic variants involved in the formation of platelets and more importantly, defined the function of genes near these variants using a series of biological analyses. From gene to function: Genome wide study into new gene functions in the formation of platelets
Dec. 6, 2011 — Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have found the first direct evidence that an acquired trait can be inherited without any DNA involvement. The findings suggest that Lamarck, whose theory of evolution was eclipsed by Darwin's, may not have been entirely wrong. The study is slated to appear in the Dec. 9 issue of Cell. "In our study, roundworms that developed resistance to a virus were able to pass along that immunity to their progeny for many consecutive generations," reported lead author Oded Rechavi, PhD, associate research scientist in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at CUMC. "The immunity was transferred in the form of small viral-silencing agents called viRNAs, working independently of the organism's genome." In an early theory of evolution, Jean Baptiste Larmarck (1744-1829) proposed that species evolve when individuals adapt to their environment and transmit those acquired traits to their offspring. Acquired traits can be inherited via small RNAs
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