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Scientists Identify Gene Required for Nerve Regeneration

Scientists Identify Gene Required for Nerve Regeneration
A gene that is associated with regeneration of injured nerve cells has been identified by a team of researchers led by Prof Melissa Rolls of Penn State University. In fruit flies with two normal copies of the spastin gene, a team of scientists led by Prof Melissa Rolls of Penn State University found that severed axons were able to regenerate. However, in fruit flies with two or even only one abnormal spastin gene, the severed axons were not able to regenerate (Melissa Rolls / Penn State University) The team has found that a mutation in a single gene can entirely shut down the process by which axons – the parts of the nerve cell that are responsible for sending signals to other cells – regrow themselves after being cut or damaged. “We are hopeful that this discovery will open the door to new research related to spinal-cord and other neurological disorders in humans,” said Prof Rolls, who co-authored a paper published online in the journal Cell Reports. Related:  science and beyond

New wonder drug matches and kills all kinds of cancer — human testing starts 2014 Stanford researchers are on track to begin human trials of a potentially potent new weapon against cancer, and would-be participants are flooding in following the Post’s initial report on the discovery. The progress comes just two months after the groundbreaking study by Dr Irv Weissman, who developed an antibody that breaks down a cancer’s defense mechanisms in the body. A protein called CD47 tells the body not to “eat” the cancer, but the antibody developed by Dr Weissman blocks CD47 and frees up immune cells called macrophages — which can then engulf the deadly cells. The new research shows the miraculous macrophages effectively act as intelligence gatherers for the body, pointing out cancerous cells to cancer-fighting “killer T” cells. The T cells then “learn” to hunt down and attack the cancer, the researchers claim. The clinical implications of the process could be profound in the war on cancer. This turns them into a personalized cancer vaccine.

Effect of parity on fetal and maternal microchimerism: interaction of grafts within a host? | Blood | American Society of Hematology Individuals harbor small amounts of foreign cells or DNA, referred to as microchimerism (Mc). Acquisition of Mc naturally occurs primarily during pregnancy, through transplacental cell trafficking between mother and fetus. An adult woman acquired Mc from her own mother (maternal Mc, or MMc) when she herself was a fetus. This “graft,” acquired during fetal immune system development, can remain in her system into adulthood1 and represents a pre-existing inhabitant as she experiences pregnancy herself. During subsequent pregnancies, new fetal sources of microchimerism (fetal Mc, or FMc) are acquired. As a therapeutic parallel to this natural process, the arena of stem cell transplantation can provide some insights into the host response to Mc and the interaction between acquired grafts. We asked whether there is a relationship between increasing parity and the prevalence of Mc. Peripheral blood samples were obtained from all probands (primary participants). Table 2 Figure 1 Table 3 Figure 2

UCI, fellow chemists find a way to unboil eggs Irvine, Calif., Jan. 23, 2015 – UC Irvine and Australian chemists have figured out how to unboil egg whites – an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, food production and other segments of the $160 billion global biotechnology industry, according to findings published today in the journal ChemBioChem. “Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.” Like many researchers, he has struggled to efficiently produce or recycle valuable molecular proteins that have a wide range of applications but which frequently “misfold” into structurally incorrect shapes when they are formed, rendering them useless.

Only a tiny fraction of our DNA is uniquely human The genetic tweaks that make humans uniquely human may come in small parcels interspersed with DNA inherited from extinct ancestors and cousins. Only 1.5 percent to 7 percent of the collective human genetic instruction book, or genome, contains uniquely human DNA, researchers report July 16 in Science Advances. That humans-only DNA, scattered throughout the genome, tends to contain genes involved in brain development and function, hinting that brain evolution was important in making humans human. But the researchers don’t yet know exactly what the genes do and how the exclusively human tweaks to DNA near those genes may have affected brain evolution. “I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to say what makes us uniquely human,” says Emilia Huerta-Sanchez, a population geneticist at Brown University in Providence, R.I., who was not involved in the study. “We don’t know whether that makes us think in a specific way or have specific behaviors.” Sign Up For the Latest from Science News

7 Incredible Inventions by Teenage Wunderkinds When many of us were in our teens, work for science fairs comprised cut and paste displays on colorful presentation boards, and our hobbies weren't exactly about to change the world. But across the globe, teenagers with creative, scientific minds are already devising extraordinary devices, revolutionary materials and renewable technologies that might just change our planet for the greener. Click through to see some of their most incredible inventions - from bioplastics made from bananas to pee-powered energy generators and an ocean cleanup array to rid the world's oceans of waste. An Ocean Clean Up Array to Remove 7,250,000 Tons of Plastic From the World’s Oceans When we first covered Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Array it generated a phenomenal amount of excitement, as well as debate. A Way to Turn Plastic Waste into $78 Million of Biofuel 16-year-old Egyptian student Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad, meanwhile, was at work finding a way to make use of waste plastic.

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains The link between a mother and child is profound, and new research suggests a physical connection even deeper than anyone thought. The profound psychological and physical bonds shared by the mother and her child begin during gestation when the mother is everything for the developing fetus, supplying warmth and sustenance, while her heartbeat provides a soothing constant rhythm. The physical connection between mother and fetus is provided by the placenta, an organ, built of cells from both the mother and fetus, which serves as a conduit for the exchange of nutrients, gasses, and wastes. Cells may migrate through the placenta between the mother and the fetus, taking up residence in many organs of the body including the lung, thyroid, muscle, liver, heart, kidney and skin. These may have a broad range of impacts, from tissue repair and cancer prevention to sparking immune disorders. Microchimerism is the persistent presence of a few genetically distinct cells in an organism.

Does DNA Emit Light? Dan Eden for An incredible story! I get lots of suggestions for stories, and I really appreciate them. But some of them are too good to be true. An example of this was a story of a giant human skeleton -- maybe 40 feet tall -- that was discovered by a Russian archaeological team. The story had photos and links accompanying it and looked promising. I had this same experience this week when I was sent an article where a Russian (again) scientist, Pjotr Garjajev, had managed to intercept communication from a DNA molecule in the form of ultraviolet photons -- light! But this was just the beginning. Dr. I tried to find a scientific journal that had this experiment. Fritz-Albert Popp thought he had discovered a cure for cancer. It was 1970, and Popp, a theoretical biophysicist at the University of Marburg in Germany, had been teaching radiology -- the interaction of electromagnetic (EM) radiation on biological systems. Why Ultra-violet light? Photorepair Light inside the body John B.

'Quadruple helix' DNA seen in human cells 20 January 2013Last updated at 14:19 ET By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News A representation of the four-stranded structure (L) with fluorescent markers revealing its presence inside cells (R) Cambridge University scientists say they have seen four-stranded DNA at work in human cells for the first time. The famous "molecule of life", which carries our genetic code, is more familiar to us as a double helix. But researchers tell the journal Nature Chemistry that the "quadruple helix" is also present in our cells, and in ways that might possibly relate to cancer. They suggest that control of the structures could provide novel ways to fight the disease. "The existence of these structures may be loaded when the cell has a certain genotype or a certain dysfunctional state," said Prof Shankar Balasubramanian from Cambridge's department of chemistry. Tag and track Today, the pair's modern counterparts in the university city continue to work on DNA's complexities. 'Funny target'