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Preventing chromosomal chaos: Protein-based genome-stabilizing mechanism discovered

2015-09-09
Most people are familiar with the double-helix shape that allows genetic information to be packed into a molecule of human DNA. Less well-known is how all this information - which, if laid end-to-end, would stretch some three meters - is packed into the cellular nucleus. The secret of how this crush of genetic code avoids chaos - remaining untangled, correctly compartmentalized, and available for accurate DNA replication - has recently been revealed. By tracking and analyzing the movement of fluorescently-tagged genomic regions within the nuclei of live cells, an international ...

Epicolactones -- the 8-step path

2015-09-09
In the latest issue of the journal Nature Chemistry researchers led by Dirk Trauner, Professor of Chemical Biology and Genetics at LMU Munich, describe the biomimetic synthesis of epicolactone, a compound which was first isolated from an endophytic fungus. "What we have accomplished is one of the shortest and most elegant total syntheses of a natural product ever reported," says Trauner, as he and his colleagues have indeed succeeded in producing a highly complex molecular structure in a minimal number of steps. "This is actually very close to being an ideal synthesis - ...

Capturing introns: Targeting rapidly evolving regions of the genome for phylogenetics

2015-09-09
Understanding the evolutionary history of organisms is important for myriad reasons. To name a few, information about relationships between species can be used to guide the classification of biodiversity, inform conservation policies aimed at protecting threatened species, aid in tracking the spread of pathogens, and can even play a role in the discovery of new medicines. Scientists depict the relationships between species with evolutionary trees, also called phylogenies. A phylogeny shows the accumulation of species through time and the relationships between these species, ...

Study points to a possible new pathway toward a vaccine against MRSA

2015-09-09
New research led by NYU Langone Medical Center has uncovered why a particular strain of Staphylococcus aureus -- known as HA-MRSA -- becomes more deadly than other variations. These new findings open up possible new pathways to vaccine development against this bacterium, which the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions says accounts for over 10,000 deaths annually, mostly among hospital patients. In a series of experiments in mice and in human immune cells in the lab, recently published in the journal Nature Communications online Sept. 2, the NYU Langone team found ...

Nearly half of testicular cancer risk comes from inherited genetic faults

2015-09-09
Almost half of the risk of developing testicular cancer comes from the DNA passed down from our parents, a new study reports. The research suggests genetic inheritance is much more important in testicular cancer than in most other cancer types, where genetics typically accounts for less than 20 per cent of risk. The findings suggest testing for a range of genetic variants linked to testicular cancer could be effective in picking out patients who are at substantially increased risk - potentially opening up ways of preventing the disease. Scientists at The Institute ...

Switzerland best place in the world for older people to live

Switzerland best place in the world for older people to live
2015-09-09
UK enters top ten All regions of world represented in lower rankings Experts call for more age specific data about older people's lives Switzerland is the best place in the world for older people to live, closely followed by Norway and Sweden, according to a new report from HelpAge International, working in partnership with the University of Southampton. The Global AgeWatch Index assesses the social and economic wellbeing of the older population in 96 countries around the world. The Index represents 91 per cent of the world's population aged 60 and over, amounting ...

Southern California wildfires show split personalities

2015-09-08
Wildfires have ravaged regions of Southern California at an increasing rate over the past few decades, and scientists from three University of California campuses and partner institutions are predicting that by mid-century, a lot more will go up in flames. In research published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the scientists discuss the split-personality nature of Southern California wildfires. They describe two distinct wildfire regimes, those driven by offshore Santa Ana winds that kick up in the fall and non-Santa Ana fires that result primarily ...

Southern California wildfires exhibit split personalities

2015-09-08
Irvine, Calif., Sept. 8, 2015 - Wildfires have ravaged both populated and unpopulated regions of Southern California at an increasing rate over the past few decades, and scientists from three University of California campuses and partner institutions are predicting that by midcentury, as a consequence of climate change causing hotter and drier summers, a lot more will go up in flames. In a paper published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the scientists discuss the split-personality nature of Southern California wildfires. They describe two distinct ...

Freebies won't bribe most bloggers into positive reviews

2015-09-08
Bloggers may accept compensation and free products for reviews, but freebies do not necessarily lead to positive endorsements, according to a group of researchers. In a study, most technology bloggers who have accepted compensation, including free products, for reviews actually reported that they feel more empowered in their relationships with companies that pitched them products, rather than feeling indebted to them. "We were concerned with how accepting compensation or products impacted how control mutuality -- where both groups feel that they are winning from the ...

Artificial 'plants' could fuel the future

2015-09-08
Imagine creating artificial plants that make gasoline and natural gas using only sunlight. And imagine using those fuels to heat our homes or run our cars without adding any greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. By combining nanoscience and biology, researchers led by scientists at University of California, Berkeley, have taken a big step in that direction. Peidong Yang, a professor of chemistry at Berkeley and co-director of the school's Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute, leads a team that has created an artificial leaf that produces methane, the primary component of ...

Shouldering the burden of evolution

2015-09-08
As early humans increasingly left forests and utilized tools, they took an evolutionary step away from apes. But what this last common ancestor with apes looked like has remained unclear. A new study led by researchers at UC San Francisco shows that important clues lie in the shoulder. Humans split from our closest African ape relatives in the genus Pan - including chimpanzees and bonobos - 6 to 7 million years ago. Yet certain human traits resemble the more distantly related orangutan or even monkeys. This combination of characteristics calls into question whether the ...

Ozone can reduce a flower's scent that's critical for attracting pollinators

2015-09-08
New research shows that high levels of ozone, which are predicted to increase in the atmosphere in the future, can dampen the scents of flowers that attract bees and other pollinators. High ozone concentrations in ambient air caused fast degradation of the scent emitted from Brassica nigra flowers, reducing the range over which flowers could be identified by pollinators. Behavioral tests conducted with the buff-tailed bumblebee confirmed that ozone concentrations commonly occurring near large urban areas can strongly inhibit pollinators' attraction to flowers. ?"The ...

Drugs behave as predicted in computer model of key protein, enabling cancer drug discovery

Drugs behave as predicted in computer model of key protein, enabling cancer drug discovery
2015-09-08
Drugs important in the battle against cancer responded the way they do in real life and behaved according to predictions when tested in a computer-generated model of one of the cell's key molecular pumps -- the protein P-glycoprotein, or P-gp. Biologists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, developed the computer generated model to overcome the problem of relying on only static images for the structure of P-gp, said biologist John G. Wise, lead author on the journal article announcing the advancement. The new SMU model allows researchers to dock nearly any drug ...

As demand for African timber soars, birds pay the ultimate price

As demand for African timber soars, birds pay the ultimate price
2015-09-08
Tropical forests are home to more of the world's terrestrial biodiversity than any other habitat, but are increasingly threatened by the impact of human activities. Illegal logging, in particular, poses a severe and increasing threat to tropical forests worldwide. But, until now, its impact on tropical wildlife has not been quantified. A new study co-authored by scientists at Drexel University, published in the most recent issue of Biological Conservation, reveals the devastating impact of illegal logging on bird communities in the understory layer of Ghana's Upper Guinea ...

Arthritis may be a major driver of poverty

2015-09-08
Developing arthritis increases the risk of falling into poverty, especially for women, new research shows. In a study of more than 4,000 Australian adults, females who developed arthritis were 51% more likely to fall into income poverty than nonarthritic women. In men, arthritis was linked with a 22% increased risk. Also, women with arthritis were 87% more likely to fall into "multidimensional poverty," which includes income, health, and education attainment, while the arthritis-related risk in men was 29%. The investigators noted that given the high prevalence of ...

New findings shed light on fundamental process of DNA repair

2015-09-08
Inside the trillions of cells that make up the human body, things are rarely silent. Molecules are constantly being made, moved, and modified--and during these processes, mistakes are sometimes made. Strands of DNA, for instance, can break for any number of reasons, such as exposure to UV radiation, or mechanical stress on the chromosomes into which our genetic material is packaged. To make sure cells stay alive and multiply properly, the body relies on a number of mechanisms to fix such damage. Although researchers have been studying DNA repair for decades, much remains ...

Advanced treatment and prognosis data available for TNM classification

2015-09-08
DENVER, Colo. - The publication of the Eighth Edition of the Tumor, Node and Metastasis (TNM) Classification of Lung Cancer will provide physicians around the world access to new data to more precisely stage and treat cases of lung cancer. That data, collected by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) Staging and Prognostic Factors Committee and presented at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Denver on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015 at the Colorado Convention Center, will be published in 2016. In 1998, IASLC established its Lung Cancer ...

Study defines criteria for MET-driven lung cancer suitable for crizotinib treatment

2015-09-08
Many cancers include increased copies of the gene MET. But in which cases is MET driving the cancer and in which do these increased copies happen to "ride along" with other molecular abnormalities that are the true cause of the disease? The answer influences whether a tumor will respond to drugs that inhibit MET, like crizotinib. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study being presented today at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Denver, Colorado sheds light on the best method to determine the threshold at which MET amplification becomes clinically relevant. "Generally, ...

Flu vaccine reduces hospitalizations and deaths among nursing home residents

2015-09-08
When the influenza vaccine is well matched to the prevailing strains of flu in a given season, patients in nursing homes are significantly less likely to be hospitalized or to die of pneumonia and other influenza related causes. The finding comes from a study of more than 1 million Medicare fee-for-service long-stay nursing home residents. When the vaccine's match with A/H3N2--the influenza strain typically responsible for severe symptoms--was excellent (75%) during an A/H3N2 predominant season, there was an estimated 2.0% reduction in deaths and a 4.2% reduction in ...

Personalized medicine's success needs accurate classification of tumors

2015-09-08
DENVER, Colo. - If cancer patients are to receive optimal treatment, clinicians must have an accurate histologic classification of the tumor and know its genetic characteristics, said William D. Travis, M.D., attending thoracic pathologist, Department of Pathology, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Travis made his remarks today at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) hosted by the International Association of the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). Dr. Travis said the pathology and oncology professions made a big step towards this goal ...

Study's findings could help expand the donor pool for liver transplantation

2015-09-08
Organ donation after circulatory death (DCD), in which transplant organs are taken from donors after ay period of no blood circulation or oxygenation, is often considered inferior to donation after brain death, in which circulation and oxygenation are maintained until organs are removed for transplantation. Currently, the use of livers from DCD donors remains controversial, particularly with donors with advanced age. A new study of DCD liver transplantations conducted at the Cleveland Clinic from 2005 to 2014 found no significant correlation between donor age and organ ...

Many childhood brain tumor survivors experience seizures

2015-09-08
New research reveals that seizures are frequent in childhood brain tumor survivors. Among 298 children who were diagnosed with a brain tumor at least 2 years earlier and were followed for an average of 7.6 years, 24% of patients experienced seizures at the start of the study and 14% continued to experience them on an ongoing basis. Certain factors such as the type of tumor, its location, and the extent of surgery predispose patients to ongoing seizures. "This information will allow clinicians to understand better who needs to stay on antiseizure medications and who ...

Exposure to wildfire smoke linked to increased ER visits for asthma

2015-09-08
Researchers who analyzed data from the 2006-2007 wildfires in Australia found that exposure to wildfire smoke was linked to increased visits to hospital emergency departments for asthma. The findings reveal the adverse health impacts due to wildfire particulate pollution in communities. These fine particulates are harmful because they are easily inhaled and remain present deep in the lungs. "Given the increase in frequency and intensity of wildfires experienced worldwide in recent years, it's important to understand the impact of wildfire smoke exposure on acute health ...

Experts examine ways to address anemia and blood loss in surgery patients

2015-09-08
Anemia is common, and in surgical patients can increase various risks associated with operations. While blood transfusion can be a lifesaver for patients in these situations, it may not be always be appropriate and can even increase risks. A new review presents a 'patient blood management' program to help clinicians make decisions relating to anemia and blood transfusion. The approach relies on 3 pillars of care: detecting and treating anemia before surgery, reducing blood loss during surgery, and optimizing management of anemia after surgery. The program can be used ...

Study identifies psychological traits associated with homophobia

2015-09-08
A new study that investigated the potential of certain psychological traits for predisposing heterosexuals to have negative attitudes towards homosexual people found that psychoticism--which is present in severe psychopathological conditions but may also contribute to less severe states of hostility and anger--and immature defense mechanisms may be important risk factors for homophobia, while depression and neurotic defense mechanisms appear to lower the risk of being homophobic. "After discussing for centuries if homosexuality is to be considered a disease, for the first ...
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