The problem with using the usual method of diagnosing depression in teens just based on symptoms is that teens is that most teenagers have mood swing in this age period. It’s important to diagnose and treat it in teens because if untreated there is a higher chance of these teens getting into substance abuse, social maladjustment, physical illness and suicide.
The study subjects included 14 adolescents with major depression who had not been clinically treated and 14 non-depressed adolescents, all between 15 to 19 years old. The depressed and control subjects were matched by sex and race.
“Eva Redei’s, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead investigator of the study in her lab tested the adolescents’ blood for 26 genetic blood markers of depression which had discovered in her previous decades long research withwith depressed and anxious rats . She discovered 11 of the markers were able to differentiate between depressed and non-depressed adolescents. In addition, 18 of the 26 markers distinguished between patients that had only major depression and those who had major depression combined with anxiety disorder” (Science Daily).
The blood test will not only be able to test for depression but also the subtypes of depression and therefore raises hopes of treatments tailored to each individual needs. I think this is great because the depression symptoms are a kind of a vague way of diagnsing the symptom and especially the subtypes of it.
A team from Mayo Clinic and the University of Glasgow recently presented their findings on kidney stones in fruit flies at the Genetics Society of America annual meeting. According to physiologist Michael F. Romero, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn the kidney tubules of a fruit fly are transparent and accessible making them easy to study and not only that the researchers were able to see the new stones as they started to form. Dr. Romero says that the presence of kidney stones didn’t seem to affect the fruit flies.
Dr. Romero’s team was able to find a gene that encodes a protein that transports oxalate into the fly kidney which leads to kidney stones. Oxlata is also the cause of kidney stone formation in human. When the gene for that protein was modiefied, the fruit flies got fewer kidney stones. This shows that study of kidney stones in fruit flies can one day lead to treatments in humans.
Dr. Romero and his colleagues are now using this gene as a target for possible drug development. Following is a link to a video on kidney stone formation in Drosophila Fruit flies
In an issue of Cell, Snyder, molecular geneticist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and his team of 40 researchers published detailed results of Snyder’s blood tests which included biochemical data showing the status of his body’s immune system, metabolism and gene activity. Snyder analyzed his blood over a 14 month period 20 different times to find the links at different time points between the 3.2 billion nucleotides of DNA in his genome and more than 3 billion fluctuations in his blood molecules such as proteins, metabolites, microRNAs, cytokines, antibodies, glucose, and gene transcripts. Daniel MacArthur, a genomics researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, says the “fascinating study” is much more informative than simply looking at someone’s static genome sequence. (Snyder’s group decoded his at the beginning of the project.) “The nice feature of this study is that it profiles many of the dynamic molecular changes that our body experiences in response to environmental stresses.”
Snyder feels with the technology available today we are not practicing medicine at the level it should be. The blood tests done today can test for 20 things max, and he feels that inorder to get a better picture we should be able to test for thousands of things and he has proved it that it is possible with the technology out there.
At the first blood draw, Snyder had a cold and the scientists were able to track how the rhinovirus affect the human body biochemically in more detail than ever before. After the initial sequencing of his DNA, Snyder found that he had predisposition for type 2 diabetes, but since no one his family had diabetes and was at a healthy weight he didn’t take it too seriously. However, they started paying close attention to biomarkers related to diabetes, insulin and glucose pathways and when later he became infected with respiratory syncytial virus his glucose levels went up dramatically almost immediately. He believes that even though he had a predisposition to diabetes, the viral infection was the trigger. Currently there is no connection between viral infections and type 2 diabetes, but Snyder believes that this type of analysis will allow us to find many missing links and believes this to be the future of medicine. Last summer he co-founded a company in Palo Alto, Personalis, which aims to help clinicians make sense of genomic information.
I think with this study shows how genetics will be becoming an intergral part of medicine in both preventing and treating diseases.
To endure the cold, octupus living in the freezing cold waters o the Antarctica use a trick called RNA editing to produce proteins that work that work at low temperatures. The proteins excreted by the nervous sytem to send signals don’t work efficiently. After a nerve cell fires and the electrical charge across the cell membrane comes to normal, the potassium ions are shut out out of the ion channels but at cold temperatures the potassium channel’s closing can be delayed thus slowing down the neuron. Researchers thought that animals living in these cold temperatures might have modified their postassium channels so they work better in the cold.
Molecular neurophysiologist Joshua Rosenthal of the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus in San Juan and his graduate student Sandra Garrett figured they knew how that adjustment would occur. “We thought we were going to see changes at the level of the gene,” Rosenthal says. But instead they use RNA editing, to change a protein. During RNA editing, cells change the nucleotide sequence of the RNA which changes the sequence of amino acids in the resulting protein and change the protein’s function. The Antarctic octopus edits its RNA at nine sites that change the amino acid sequence of the potassium channel.
Other researchers praise the study for revealing a new way for organisms to adapt. “There’s this whole different molecular mechanism for increasing protein diversity,” says molecular neurobiologist Ronald Emeson of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Researchers looked at gene regulation in 49 female rhesus macaques kept at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta. Researchers led by Jenny Tung, PhD, said they can predict a rhesus macaque’s rank within a small group by examining gene expression levels in her immune cells.
“In the wild, macaques inherit their social rank from their mothers” Tung said. “But in our research, the order of introduction determines rank; the newcomer is generally lower status. When some macaques’ status changed after a newcomer arrived, so did their patterns of immune system gene activity.”
To test how gene expression would differ when a monkey’s rank changed, the scientists at Yerkes took the female macaques from their native groups and constructed 10 new social units, where rank was determined based on how early a female was added to her unit.
Tung and her collaborators then took blood samples from the monkeys and isolated the white blood cells. The results show that lower-ranking monkeys had lower levels of a certain kind of T cell and showed signs of exposure to chronic stress, two findings that helped explain why their genes turned on and off differently than high-ranking monkeys.
The researchers used microarrays to look at the macaques’ immune cells, a technology that allows them to scan thousands of genes and read the expression levels. The gene activity that changed the most depending on social rank was what controlled inflammation.
According to Dr. Tung the research is alarming in that a person’s social status can affect their immune system, but it also gives us hope in that we are not stuck at one place and that by making healthy changes we can change the expression of our genes and to healthier lives.
According to an article on the website of Science Daily, a group of researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center found that transposons are can affect gene expression even if they are thousands of base pairs away from premature stop site in the genomic DNA. Another factor that determined whether or not the transposons affected the expression of gene was gender of the parent that the transposon was inherited from.
Transposons are movable pieces of DNA, also called “jumping genes” as they can move from one location to another on a chromosome, but unlike viruses they can’t move from one cell to another. Transposons makeup half of the genomic DNA in humans and mice as they have accumulated in the genome over time.
The transposons studied in this research study were that of diverse mouse strains called endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). They found that ERVs disrupted the gene expression by halting gene transcription. If the gene containing an ERV came from the father it produced an incomplete form of mRNA but if it came from the mother a full length mRNA was produced from the gene.
According to an assistant professor of molecular virology, immunologyand medical genetics Dr.DavidE Symer, this an unusual example of DNA imprinting.They are in the process of determining how the transposon is able to trigger or halt the expression of the gene and also how the transposons affect the gene expression differently based on the gender of the parent that it came from. Dr. Symer says these finding are important in understanding mechanisms of natural variation and human biology also cancer and other diseases.