Genetics, News

Study that looked at 409 pairs of Gay Brothers confirms Chromosome X link to Homosexuality

homosexuality_1390638c

A massive independent genetic survey sought to replicate the findings of a 20 year old controversial study which identified a stretch on the X chromosome as being linked with homosexuality. The latest findings, which took into account the genetic makeup of a staggering 409 pairs of gay siblings, confirm the initial reports and further boost the idea that homosexuality is also influenced by…

Feature Post, Genetics, Psychology

In the face of Adversity and War, Bonds among Soldiers are as Strong as Kinship

Libyan fighters chants slogans as they take control of Moammar Gadhafi loyalists' villages in the desert some 750 km south of Tripoli, at Gohta, north of the southern city of Sahba on Sunday. Credit: Francois Mori / AP

It’s no surprise for anyone to find that soldiers fighting together on the front-line are tied together by a special relationship. They have to be. Soldiers need to know they can wholeheartedly depend on each other, put faith in the other’s ability. It’s not just about survival. It’s about comfort; knowing there’s someone close to you that can perfectly relate…

Biology, Genetics

Scientists find antibiotic-like substance in mushroom that grows on horse dung

mushroom antibiotic copsin

You just have to applaud the researcher that study mushrooms growing on horse dung to see what medicinal properties they have. Microbiologists molecular biologists at ETH Zurich and the University of Bonn have discovered a new agent in fungi that kills bacteria. The substance they found in the mushroom is called copsin. Copsin has a similar effect to antibiotics, but belongs…

Diseases, Genetics, Health & Medicine, News

HIV: Genetic Mutation Leads to Two Men Being ‘Spontaneously Cured’ of Virus

Scanning electron micrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell. Credit: NIAID

French scientists described the mechanism through which two HIV-infected individuals have become “spontaneously cured” of the virus, explaining that this can lead to new, novel treatments in the fight against AIDS. The “apparent spontaneous cure” has opened up previously closed doors for drug engineers, they note. “The work opens up therapeutic avenues for a cure, using or stimulating this enzyme,” they…

Diseases, Genetics, News

Scientists revive 700 year old virus to see if it still “works”

An image of frozen caribou feces. Image credits: Brian Moorman.

Scientists have resurrected a 700 year old virus form Canadian permafrost and showed that even after several centuries of lumbering, viruses can remain… well. virulent. This could have significant implications, because as global warming continues melt more and more permafrost, unknown viruses could be released into the environment – and there’s currently no way of telling what the effects will be…

Anthropology, Genetics, News

Researchers find early connection between Easter Island and America inhabitants

Easter island is famous for its large human head statues, called moai. A total of 887 monolithic stone statues have been inventoried on the island and in museum collections so far

People from the Americas may have been making their way to the Easter Island way before Dutch commander Jakob Roggeveen arrived in 1722, according to new genomic evidence; this new evidence showed that the isolated Rapanui people shared a strong connection with Native American populations hundreds of years earlier. This evidence shows that early Americans undertook the 4000 kilometer route to Easter…

Biology, Genetics, Health & Medicine, News

A Rogue gone Good: Mitochondria was initially an Energy Parasite

Image: knowingneurons.com

A new milestone study found that mitochondria – the energy factories in animal and plant cells – were initially very similar to parasitic bacteria some two billion years ago, and only later did they become energy sources. Very little is known about the origins of mitochondria, but by probing the genomes of bacteria closely related to the energy cell scientists at University…

Biology, Genetics, News

Genes that Define How Tall You Grow Identified

height_gene

It’s common knowledge that babies born out of tall parents will most likely grow to be just as tall, but it’s only recently that scientists report finding most of the genes responsible for height. Information like this could prove to be useful in diagnosing genetic growth deficiencies or, in the not so distant future, genetic manipulation to enhance growth in height. Short…

Genetics, News

What really causes aging? Study suggests “parasitic DNA fragments”

Sirt6 has many functions to play in the body. Image via Nature.

Most organisms, including humans, have parasitic DNA fragments called ‘jumping genes’ that insert themselves into DNA molecules, disrupting genetic instructions in the process. This phenomenon can interfere with the good health of the individual, causing numerous conditions, including cancer. Now, a new study has documented how a protein called Sirt6 keeps these fragments (technically called retrotransposons) at bay. Better understanding this mechanism…

Biology, Genetics, News

Tobacco plants borrowing bacteria genes achieve more efficient photosynthesis

This plant may look like an ordinary tobacco plant, but on the inside it was engineered to express bacteria proteins which helps it perform more efficient photosynthesis. Photo: Rothamsted Research

It wouldn’t be an understatement to say we owe all the wonders of life to photosynthesis – the ability of plants and certain bacteria to convert CO2 into energy (sugars) and food. Scientists have for some time attempted to enhance photosynthesis through genetic manipulation, but it’s only recently that we’re beginning to see these efforts take form. The most recent…