Archive | Genetics

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Can nicotine transmit disease through multiple generations?

Nicotine creates heritable epigenetic marks on the genome, say Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute scientists who contend that a grandparent’s smoking habits may be responsible for asthma and other respiratory conditions in grandchildren. Their controversial take onepigenetics (where an environmental factor causes a genetic change), appearing in the Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology, further suggests […]

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Quadruple helix DNA discovered in human cells




Cambridge University researchers have published a paper in Nature Chemistry showing that four-stranded “quadruple helix” DNA structures exist within the human genome. The new discovery coincides with the 60th anniversary of Watson and Crick’s first description of the interweaving double helix DNA structure – the chemical code for all life. Studies over the last couple […]




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Leadership can be an inherited trait, study finds




Using a large twin sample, an international research team found that a quarter of the observed variation in leadership behaviors between individuals can be explained by genes passed down from their parents. The researchers, from University College London, Harvard, NYU, and the University of California, say they are the first to identify a specific DNA […]




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Evidence for HIV in humans in distant past




HIV may have affected humans for much longer than is currently believed, according to a scientist who says that the genomes of an isolated West African human population provide important clues about how the disease has evolved. HIV-1 Type M, which accounts for 90 percent of human infections, is thought to have crossed the species […]




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Epigenetics might explain evolutionary puzzle of homosexuality




Epigenetics – how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches, called epi-marks – appears to be a critical and overlooked factor in the long-standing evolutionary puzzle of why homosexuality occurs. That’s according to a study published in The Quarterly Review of Biology that provides evidence that sex-specific epi-marks can lead to homosexuality when they are […]




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DNA fluidity has “profound implications” for genetic screening, say Yale scientists




The idea that every cell in our body contains identical DNA is incorrect, with scientists discovering that genetic variations are widespread throughout the body’s tissues. The findings, say the researchers, have profound implications for genetic screening as they directly challenge the longstanding belief that the cells which govern our body’s functions have the same DNA […]




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Twin-study shows eating disorders influenced by genetics




Genetics may make some women more vulnerable to the pressure of being thin, say Michigan State University researchers who also found media exposure to idealized body size plays a less significant role than previously thought. For the study, the researchers focused on the psychological impact of women buying into the perceived ideal of thinness, which […]




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Semen protein acts as “master regulator” in females




Working with fruit-flies (Drosophila melanogaster), University of East Anglia scientists have observed “remarkable” changes in female gene expression after exposure to a protein in semen. The researchers say the effects, which may also exist in other species, include altered fertility, immunity, libido, eating and sleep patterns. Published in the journalProceedings of the Royal Society B, […]




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Nicotine receptor gets blame for Internet addiction




Internet addiction has a physiological basis, according to German researchers who say a variant of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor makes women particularly vulnerable. The researchers, from the University of Bonn, first carried out an analysis of the Internet-related behaviors and habits of a group of nearly 1,000 men and women. Specifically, they looked at how […]




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First genetically evolved semiconductors created




By directing the evolution of silicateins, the proteins responsible for the formation of silica skeletons in marine sponges, scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara have synthesized novel semiconducting materials. “In the realm of human technologies it would be a new method, but it’s an ancient approach in nature,” said Lukmaan Bawazer, the first […]




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