An article in science daily references a journal from Nature 2013. This journal explores the part the gene Meis1 plays in regeneration of heart cells in mammals.
Dr. Hesham Sadek observed that this gene is present in the heart cells after birth about when the heart tissue is finished dividing. This is why a heart cannot repair itself after damage caused by things like heart attacks. Through research with mice he discovered that if this gene is removed then the cells can continue to divide.
His research in mice verified that taking out the Meis1 gene, which is a transcription factor, prolongs the time in which newborn mice heart cells divide. When the Meis1 gene was taken out of adult mice the heart began regeneration processes which did not have any negative effects on cardiac function. This new discovery could possible steer research away from the controversial issue of stem cells.
An article in Science Daily talked about a new study where researchers have the ability to predict life expectancy with patients with heart disease based on the length of the DNA strands found on the telomeres, which are at the end of the chromosomes. The longer the telomeres the longer life for the patient. In the past the telomere length has been used to determine age and now the new study tells us that the telomere length can be used predict the life expectancy of people with heart disease. Telomeres protect the end of the chromosomes from becoming damaged, and as people age the telomere gets shorter, until the cell cannot divide no longer. An article in the LA Times explains that, short telomeres are connected to old age diseases like heart disease, dementia or cancer, and tells us a person have has exposure to oxidative damage like smoking, stress, or air pollution.
The study tested the DNA from 3,500 stroke and heart attack patients. Dr. John Carlquist the director of the Intermountain Heart Institute Genetics Lab, who conducted the study, said, “if we statistically adjust for age, patients with longer telomeres live longer, suggesting that telomere length is more than just a measure of age, but may also indicate the probability for survival. Longer telomere length directly correlate with the likelihood for a longer life – even for patients with heart disease.”
The study used two unique resources that presented unparalleled opportunity for researcher to study the effects of the telomere length and survival rates of heart patients. An archive of blood DNA samples there were collected for about 30,000 heart patients, that included followed-up and survival data, allowed researchers to measure the rate of change in length of the telomere over a longer period of time, rather than a shorter trial. The other opportunity was to work with international telomere experts. Dr. Carlquist “believes telomere length could be used in the future as a way to measure the effectiveness of heart care treatment.” The telomere could give us a deeper knowledge into how treatments are affecting the body.
There has been research done at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology on how an enzyme in the brain can interact with a compound for Huntington’s Disease. It is said that it actually inhibits the its activity. This means that it can be used as a possible treatment method. They first identified the molecular structure of the enzyme KMO, which is found in the brain. The found that a compound called UPF 648 was able to bind incredibly well to the enzyme thus acting like an inhibitor. The only problem was that it was not a molecule that would make it past the blood brain barrier. They are now on a search for other compounds that can act as great inhibitors but also make it into the brain through the blood.
Even though they did not find this compound, I believe this is a huge achievement in itself. They were able to map the structure of KMO which is such a huge deal because it was not done before, and took a great deal of time. Also, I believe that even though UPF 648 was not an ideal compound, it is a step in the right direction. I think that it is a huge accomplishment knowing that one day they could possibly find a compound to suppress Huntington’s.
Studies have shown that intelligence is a heritable trait with heritablility between 60% and 80%. Intelligence is also slightly biased in favor of the boys. In the top 3% of intellectually gifted children there are 12-times more boys than girls. The main endocrine difference between sexes is the different concentration of sex hormones with especially high testosterone levels in men. Testosterone and its effects on cognitive ability have been studied, but the association has not been clear. In this study, over 280 boy between the ages 6 and 9 provided saliva samples that were tested for testosterone with 107 of the boys being intelligently gifted, 77 being mentally challenged, and the rest of average intelligence. The results have shown that mentally challenged and intelligently gifted boys had lower levels of testosterone when compared to the boys of average intelligence. A later study shows that three polymorphisms of genes related to testosterone metabolism in association with intellectual giftedness in boys. Polymorphisms of interests were chosen in genes including androgen and estrogen receptors, 5-alpha reductase, aromatase and sex hormone binding globulin. Significant differences between control and gifted boys in genotype. The higher trans-activational activity of the androgen receptor in gifted boys might explain the finding of lower testosterone levels in these children in a previous study.
The results of a new study on Alzheimer’s disease in African-Americans has revealed that African-Americans are not more likely to have the disease than whites due to the possession of a particular gene. An article in the New York Times has revealed that the gene APoE4, which has long been linked to the increase of Alzheimer’s risk in those of European ancestry, is equally present in older African-Americans. Originally, researchers believed the gene ABCA7 was more likely to be present in African-Americans. However, the new study, which included over 6,000 African-American participants over the age of 60, showed otherwise.
The gene APoE4 was found in equal amounts of African-Americans as those who descended from European ancestry.
And ABCA7 was not very common, still leaving most Alzheimer’s risk unexplained. About 9 of every 100 African-Americans with Alzheimer’s had the gene, compared with 6 out of 100 who did not have the disease.
This shows that many questions about the disease are still left unanswered. The research paper on the subject was published online on the Journal of the American Medical Association. There is clearly much more research to be done before we truly understand the causes behind this horrible disease.
This article explains the possibility of a gene that can determine if an individual will commit a crime. Scientists do say that there isn’t really a crime gene, but there are genes that when are accompanied by stress makes the chances of the person committing a crime increases greatly. Even though this could help with identifying criminals and law breakers it raises the flags for racism and discrimination. Stress that can flip the switch on these genes are usually found in low income neighborhoods of the inner city. This puts the target on many minorities backs which can lead to more racism and discrimination. Although the science has good numbers and results experts seeing this technique entering our justice system because of the racism issue.
Survey by John Paul Wright which discovered that not a single study on the biology-crime link has been published in dissertation form in the last 20 years
And article on Science Daily referencing a journal published in sciencemag explains how the protein causing isolated congenital asplenia (ICA) causes this disorder. This condition is very rare and has be officially documented in less than 100 cases in medical literature. These scientists sequenced 23 exomes (the part of the genome formed by exons that get transformed into proteins). After proper testing and filtering, researchers narrowed down to 4,200 possible genes. Next, researchers hypothesized which exomes would be more likely to house these gene therefore, deciding to focus on ICA exomes. The gene RPSA responsible for coding for a protein found in the cell’s protein-synthesizing ribosome was found to be the culprit. Every individual with a coding mutation in this gene is developed with out a spleen. These results are puzzling because this ribosome is present in every organ in the body but only seems to effect the spleen.
This discovery may make it possible to develop new diagnostic test for ICA and lead to more research on this specific protein-making machinery.
In the article In
Blacks, Alzheimer’s Study Finds Same Variant Genes as in Whites, it is explained
that a certain gene in African Americans contributes to the likelihood of
getting Alzheimer’s disease. The gene is called ABCA7. Although both white
people and African Americans can have the gene, ABCA7, it only significantly increases
the likelihood of Alzheimer’s for African Americans. ABCA7 is also found to
contribute to heart disease, which helps explain why some people get both
Alzheimer’s and heart disease. This article shows the significance of learning
how certain genes increase likelihood of certain diseases. I believe it is
important to focus more research on the connection between genes and diseases. A
related article posted by CNN, First
genes linked to higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease among African Americans,
More studies are needed to confirm the role that these
genetic variants play in contributing to Alzheimer’s in the African American
population, but if the associations are confirmed, they could lead to more
refined ways of diagnosing and treating the disease in this group.
Knowing how to best diagnose a disease based on the patient’s
genes, would greatly benefit doctors and patients. It would save money and help
the patient in the most efficient way possible.
This article showed the issues that arise when patents are persued for genes and gene isolation. In March, Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled Myriad Genegtics and the University of Utah’s patent for two genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2, and an analysis performed on the genes to see if women carry mutations that predispose them to breast and ovarian cancers was invalid. It was ruled this way because genes are a part of nature and patents can not be placed on nature. It was argued that the patent was for isolated genes and it is still an ongoing case. Professors and government official do not see a positive future for patents on genes
the link below gives the roles and duties of the National Institute of Health
Scientists from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center report in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found that teas, coffee, and “Smokey” flavored drink can be damaging to your DNA. The gene p53 protects cells from becoming cancerous and is being activated to protect DNA and genes by these foods which share in common some chemicals — pyrogallol and gallic acid. Scientists still don’t know how these chemicals affect your body. Researchers are saying that there is cause for alarm right now because this study has not answered if the body can repair this damage by itself or not.