A new “find-and-replace” genome editing method enables scientists to make large-scale changes to the genetic code of a living cell, faster than previous editing technology by a factor of two. The new method could be used to engineer cells that produce new proteins, or to design genetic “firewalls” that would prevent engineered cells from spreading their DNA.
A targeted snip through DNA’s double helix can take out a mutated gene that causes hemophilia, curing mice of the disease, a new study found. It’s the first study to use this form of genome editing in a living animal, and it could have implications for genetic treatment of other diseases, notably AIDS.
Scientists say the research is a major step forward for gene therapy, which has long promised to cure disease by editing genetic sequences.
Plant and human genome researchers have uncovered myriad pathways toward understanding health and longevity, determining genes that code for things like disease tolerance and nutrient needs. A new bug gene-sequencing project aims to do the same — only the goal is to find genomic Achilles’ heels, to help people kill insects more easily.
23andMe, a personal genomics company, offers a way for customers to learn about their DNA--and all the diseases to which they might be vulnerable. Named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a human cell, the company's testing kit was named Time's invention of the year in 2008, which makes this a bargain to the curious and the sufferers of hypochondria.
For the first time, scientists have discovered evidence of a human DNA fragment in the genome of bacteria, shedding light on why this particular bug is so adept at surviving in human hosts. The bacteria in question is Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea.
In 2003, scientists with the Human Genome Project announced the completion of their 13-year effort to identify the three billion base pairs that form the chemical rungs in DNA’s signature twisted-ladder shape. This first attempt to create a comprehensive map of a human biological system was more than just a breakthrough for geneticists, though. It also marked the launch of a new era of “-omic”-based research, in which biologists began shifting their attention from the individual parts within a system to studying the system itself.
A microscopic, see-through water flea is the most complex creature ever studied, genomically speaking. Daphnia pulex is the first crustacean to ever have its genome sequenced, and it turns out it has about 31,000 genes — 25 percent more than we humans.
Of all the invertebrate genomes sequenced so far, the water flea shares the most with us, and scientists hope these shared genes can help them understand how humans respond to environmental threats.
Updated: In a monumental step for chocolate lovers — ah, let’s be honest, the whole of humankind — scientists announced today they have completed a preliminary genome sequence for the cacao tree.
OK, maybe it’s not that monumental; new genomes are sequenced all the time. But this one is special — cacao is no ordinary plant. Who cares about the corn genome when you can study chocolate instead?
As scientists decode more and more genomes, the tree of life gets pretty complicated. It makes tough work for geneticists or other researchers who want to understand which organisms share which genes -- there are just so many comparisons. So there's a growing need for a better, easily searchable bioinformatics database.
A Chinese computer scientist has a suggestion: mimic the way search engines index Chinese characters.
When the J. Craig Venter Institute announced last week that it had created the first "synthetic cell," whose genome had been synthesized artificially one base pair at a time, Venter himself mentioned that the genetic code had been tagged throughout with watermarks that identify it as man-made rather than natural code. Now we're hearing that those watermarks weren't arbitrary.