For every 300 Muscovites, there's a stray dog wandering the streets of Russia's capital. And according to Andrei Poyarkov, a researcher at the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the fierce pressure of urban living has driven the dogs to evolve wolf-like traits, increased intelligence, and even the ability to navigate the subway.
Simply put, pills are stupid. They don't know what's going on in your body when you take them, they don't know the optimal time to release their medication, and they certainly can't vary their own dosage levels on the fly. But thanks to the blinking E. coli created by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, that's all about to change.
The problem with needles is that nobody likes them. Aside from that, injection sites can become inflamed, and repeated injections into the same area can damage vascular tissue (see Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream for more graphic evidence of this). With that in mind, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have successfully created synthetic skin patches that can deliver gene therapies without the need for injections.
The rise of psychopharmacology has led doctors to not only treat mental illnesses like regular diseases, but think of them as such as well. Turns out, schizophrenia may be more than just a disease in concept, but actually a virus itself. According to new research, as much as eight percent of the human genome consists of viruses that inserted themselves into our DNA for replication, including the gene that causes schizophrenia.
DNA genome sequencing has the potential to unlock a lot of secrets of our biology, but the process of DNA amplification -- making billions of molecular copies of a DNA strand in order to create a large enough sample to analyze -- takes a lot of time and money. So a Boston University team came up with a novel solution: avoid amplification altogether.
Apparently men and women are not that different after all. In fact, the sexes are so similar that women have to fight their entire lives just to remain women -- at least on the genetic level.
A new study finds that turning off just one gene, shared by all mammals, turns ovarian cells into testosterone-producing cells found only in the testes -- and this is in adults.
While some viruses attack the lungs, and others the blood, HIV attacks the only system that could put up a fight: the immune system itself. The immune system mounts some defense, but after HIV launches its surprise attack, the body simply can't produce enough killer T blood cells to take out the virus.
Now, thanks to researchers at UCLA, it's payback time for the blood cells. A team of scientists have plucked T-cells out of someone infected with HIV, and used them as a template for creating an army of HIV-fighting immune cells out of stem cells. Essentially a genetic vaccine, this technique could be used to copy T-cells designed to fight any virus, opening up the possibility of universal vaccination via stem cell implantation.
Zoe Donaldson, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, via Science Daily
Man, those scientists just love their glowing lab subjects. First came mice, and then recently the first primates got some jellyfish genes implanted into their DNA. Now, scientists at Emory University have implanted the gene for jellyfish fluorescent protein in prairie voles.
The perils of space flight number in the hundreds, from radiation exposure to the impact of micro-asteroids. But for astronauts who spend an extended amount of time floating weightlessly in the near-endless void of space, muscle atrophy remains the most common health problem. Thankfully, a shipment of RNA-treated worms may help scientists on the International Space Station solve that issue.
Even though the combination of affluence and fertility drugs has raised the age at which many women give birth, children born to older women continue to suffer a disproportionately high rate of birth defects and genetic disease. Many of these problems result from the degradation of the area of the region of the egg around the nucleus.
To correct for those problems, a team of Japanese researchers has implanted the nucleus of an older woman's egg into the egg cell of a younger donor. This may fix the problem, but it also moves medicine closer to the ethically challenging creation of a person with three biological parents.