There are more than 275 million people that have moderate to profound hearing loss, and many are caused by a breach in the connection between the inner ear and the brain. Researchers have discovered that a key component in repairing the auditory nerve is human embryonic stem cells.
Researchers have been able to remotely activate genes inside mice, proving the concept that one day, there will be medical procedures in which patients’ genes are triggered from afar. The team led by Jeffrey Friedman, a molecular geneticist at the Rockefeller University in New York, states that in the short term, these results will lead to better tools to manipulate cells, in a non-invasive manner.
The famous Dutch impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh was obsessed with sunflowers, until he died in 1890. His iconic paintings of sunflowers fetch millions of dollars at auction. Scientists have been trying to solve the genetic origin of the mutant teddy bear sunflowers that are depicted in van Gogh’s canvases.
The rapidly disappearing glaciers are altering more than the physical landscape, as a recent analysis suggests. Species that live in streams and rivers that flow from melting glaciers could start disappearing when half of the glacial cover in a region is lost.
A team of scientists claim that they’ve revived a plant from the Pleistocene era, which lived 32,000 to 28,000 years ago. Silene stenophylla was revived after it had been ingested by an arctic ground squirrel roughly 32,000 years ago.
Syncytin is a gene that was found in the human genome, but is bears all of the hallmarks of originating from a virus. Back in 2000, a team of Bostonian scientists discovered it. The cells of syncytin were located only where the placenta made contact with the uterus. They fused together to form a single cellular layer, which is called the syncytiotrophoblast, essential for a fetus to draw nutrients from its mother.
The sounds that animals make are determined by their genes, but a new study published in the journal in Animal Behaviour shows that pygmy goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) can develop regional accents as they grow older. They join humans, bats, whales, songbirds and elephants, who all listen and learn vocal cues from their surroundings.
Researchers have published a series of three papers today in the journal Nature, explaining some of the mysteries of how the mutations in a gene called isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) cause brain cancer and leukemia. The mutations cause the production of an enzyme that can reconfigure on-off switches across the genome and stop cells from differentiating.
Neurocysticercosis is caused when people ingest pork that has gone bad and is the root cause of several types of seizures. In a new study that was published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine have discovered that Substance P is the culprit of neurocysticerosis.