DNA and Genetics News - Science & Research Updates

Featuring news, research updates and current events on DNA and genetics from all over the world.

Malaria Mosquito

Scientists develop a new CRISPR-based approach to suppress female malaria-spreading mosquitoes

A breakthrough genetic method called Ifegenia holds promise in combating malaria by targeting the female mosquito population. By utilising CRISPR gene-editing technology to disrupt a key female-specific gene, researchers have achieved successful suppression of the deadly malaria vector. This innovative approach offers a controlled and safe means to reduce malaria transmission, potentially saving countless lives in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
Living in green spaces linked to slower ageing.

Living in green spaces linked to slower ageing

Researchers investigated the relationship between long-term exposure to green spaces and the process of epigenetic ageing, which involves changes in gene expression and cellular characteristics not related to DNA sequence changes. Their results suggest that spending time in green spaces may have a positive impact on the ageing process at a molecular level.
The minimal genome has been created and it evolves

The minimal cell and how it evolved

Researchers conducted a groundbreaking study on a bacterium with a minimal genome. They observed that despite a loss of fitness during genome minimisation, the minimal cell evolved and regained its lost fitness over 2,000 generations. The study revealed that evolution persisted even in the absence of backup genes, challenging previous assumptions. These findings have significant implications for understanding the adaptability of organisms with simplified genomes and their relevance to clinical pathogens, host-associated endosymbionts, engineered microorganisms, and the origins of life itself.
Autism is linked to the gut-brain axis and the microbiome

Autism and the microbiome

Researchers developed a new analysis method to explore the connection between the gut and brain in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), finding specific molecular and bacterial profiles associated with ASD-related characteristics, as well as their correlations with brain gene expression, dietary patterns, and inflammation markers.
Depiction of a young woman holding her chest due to a heart attack.

Geneticists identify new genes that are associated with heart attack that primarily affect women under the age of 60

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) is a specific type of heart attack where a bruise or bleed occurs in the wall of the coronary artery. This leads to cutting off the blood supply to some parts of the heart. As a result, heart attack or myocardial infarction ensues. SCAD is most common in women under the age of 60 and is a leading cause of heart attacks around the time of pregnancy. Now, scientists have identified genes that are associated with SCAD.
Illustration of DNA barcodes in urine that can be analysed using special paper strips to diagnose for cancer.

Engineers develop a quick urine test using CRISPR, barcoded DNA and nanoparticles to diagnose for cancer.

Rapid diagnosis of cancer can save lives. Now, engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new nanoparticle sensor that can detect cancer and other diseases with a simple urine test. Barcoded DNA administered to patients using nanoparticles is cleaved and excreted in urine where it is analysed.
April 26, 2023
Illustration of how DNA in our genome is compacted into a chromosomes by forming loops.

Scientists decode how our genome is functionally compacted

Our genome is large. It is compacted into domains in the nucleus of cell. These domains, called topologically associating domains (TADs) are important for gene regulation and recombination during development and disease. The DNA-binding protein CTCF and cohesin were known to regulate the compaction of our genome. Now, scientists have discovered that DNA tension plays a major role too.
April 25, 2023
Image depicting structure of the amino acid tyrosine and its increase leading to heart failure.

Elevated amino acid levels diminish the DNA Damage Response and increase the risk of heart failure 🫀

A new study shows that an increase in levels of the amino acid tyrosine in the blood plasma is associated with heart failure. Increased tyrosine levels induced DNA damage in cardiac cells. It also weakened the DNA Damage Response by reducing the activation of ATR, one of the key kinases. A weak DNA Damage Response leads to further accumulation of DNA Damage and cell death that eventually causes heart failure.
April 24, 2023
Image depicting the karyotype of humans with aneuploidy (trisomy) of chromosome 21.

Researchers can now investigate aneuploidy, a hallmark of cancer, using CRISPR

Scientists developed a new CRISPR-based system called KaryoCreate to study chromosome aneuploidy. Using guide RNAs, they could recruit mutant kinetochore proteins to chromosomes in cultured cells. This mutant protein results in improper segregation of chromosomes leading to aneuploidy. Researchers can use this as an experimental model to study aneuploidy in the context of cancer and beyond.
April 23, 2023