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Common Antiseptic Ingredients De-Energize Cells and Impair Hormone Response

Image result for toothpasteA new in-vitro study by University of California, Davis, researchers indicates that quaternary ammonium compounds, or “quats,” used as antimicrobial agents in common household products inhibit mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell, as well as estrogenic functions in cells. Their findings appear online today (Aug. 22) in Environmental Health Perspectives, a publication of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Quats are used as antiseptics in toothpastes, mouthwashes, lozenges, nasal sprays, eye drops, shampoos, lotions, intravaginal spermicidal sponges and household cleaners, to name a few. “Our study in cells provides a mechanism for their observations in laboratory animals,” said Sandipan Datta, a postdoctoral scholar in Cortopassi’s laboratory. “They demonstrated that quat exposure caused reproductive toxicity in both females and males. The anti-estrogenic effects we see in cells could explain the female reproductive toxicity they observed, such as less estrus cycles and lower breeding rates.”

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Study Reveals White Nationalists’ Reactions When Genetics Test Results Challenge Their Identity

DNA StrandA new study by UCLA researchers reveals the range of reactions — from rejection to reinterpretation to acceptance — after white nationalists learn that DNA ancestry test results indicate they may not be as white or European as they previously thought. The study, “When Genetics Challenges a Racist’s Identity: Genetic Ancestry Testing Among White Nationalists,” is the work of UCLA researchers Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association held Aug. 14, 2017, in Montreal, Canada. Panofsky points out that based on white nationalists’ responses to genetic information upon learning their test results, there is no reason to believe that they would give up their racial ideology, and, more importantly, that genetic information cannot be relied on to change the views of white nationalists. “Many of the responses to bad news are about how to repair the damage, rather than latching onto the ideology of Stormfront,” Panofsky said. “Even though they have that idea of purity, they help people explain away or dismiss the result.”

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2017 | Aaron Panofsky, et al – When Genetics Challenges a Racist’s Identity: Genetic Ancestry Testing among White Nationalists

Aaron Panofsky, ISG faculty, and Joan Donovan, former ISG postdoctoral fellow now at  Data & Society Research Institute, have published a paper titled “When Genetics Challenges a Racist’s Identity: Genetic Ancestry Testing among White Nationalists,” August 17, 2017.

Abstract:

This paper considers the emergence of new forms of race-making using a qualitative analysis of online discussions of individuals’ genetic ancestry test (GAT) results on the white nationalist website Stormfront. Seeking genetic confirmation of personal identities, white nationalists often confront information they consider evidence of non-white or nonEuropean ancestry. Despite their essentialist views of race, much less than using the information to police individuals’ membership, posters expend considerable energy to repair identities by rejecting or reinterpreting GAT results. Simultaneously, however, Stormfront posters use the particular relationships made visible by GATs to re-imagine the collective boundaries and constitution of white nationalism. Bricoleurs with genetic knowledge, white nationalists use a “racial realist” interpretive framework that departs from canons of genetic science but cannot be dismissed simply as ignorant.

Once Invincible Superbug Squashed by ‘Superteam’ of Antibiotics

Three medicine pills with lightening bolts on them surrounding by green bacteria. The golden age of antibiotics may be drawing to a close. The recent discovery of E. coli carrying mcr-1 and ndm-5 — genes that make the bacterium immune to last-resort antibiotics — has left clinicians without an effective means of treatment for the superbug. But in a new study, University at Buffalo researchers have assembled a team of three antibiotics that, together, are capable of eradicating the deadly bacterium. The groundbreaking research was recently published in mBio, a journal for the American Society of Microbiology. “This is the first study to propose therapeutic solutions with three drugs against superbugs harboring mcr-1 and ndm-5. The results will help prepare clinicians for future occurrences of these pathogens.”

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How The Genome Sets its Functional Micro-Architecture

The genes that are involved in the development of the fetus are activated in different tissues and at different times. Their expression is carefully regulated by so-called “enhancer sequences”, which are often located far from their target genes, and requires the DNA molecule to loop around and bring them in close proximity to their target genes. Such 3D changes of the DNA are in turn controlled by other sequences called topologically associating domains (TADs). EPFL scientists have now studied the TADs involved in digit development in the fetus and have gained insights in some of the big questions surrounding them. The work is published in Genome Biology.

Now, a study by the lab of Denis Duboule at EPFL, with their colleagues at the University of Geneva, provides significant insights about TADs and how they organize DNA. “We were looking at DNA architecture and function,” says researcher Pierre Fabre, who led the project. The data indicates that these TADs can host multiple associations between Hoxd  and up to three of their enhancers, and that disrupting the 3D structure of chromatin leads to the remodeling of TAD structure. Additionally, CTCF seems to mediate the gating of long-range DNA contacts in a boundary-selection mechanism. “The building of the recomposed TAD depends on both distinct functional and intrinsic parameters such as the genomic distance,” says Fabre.

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Geneticists Trace Humble Apple’s Exotic Lineage All the Way to the Silk Road

Image result for applesIt is a lunchbox staple so ubiquitous as to have become mundane. But the apple we know today is the fruit of an extraordinary journey, researchers have revealed. Scientists studying the genetics of the humble apple have unpicked how the cultivated species emerged as traders travelled back and forth along the Silk Road– ancient routes running from the far east to the Mediterranean sea. Published in the journal Nature Communications by researchers from the US and China, the study focuses on genetic data from 117 different varieties of apple. These encompassed 24 species ranging from wild apples found in North America and China to domestic apples including ancient, cultivated varieties as well as those found in our supermarkets.

“Our research is the first whole genome level analysis about apples’ evolutionary history,” said Yang Bai, co-author of the research from the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University.

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Kent State Researchers Help Find Pathologic Hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease in Aged Chimpanzee Brains

Kent State University researchers analyzed the brains of aged chimpanzees to show pathology similar to the human Alzheimer’s disease brain. This image shows tau-positive neuron (black) in proximity to amyloid deposits within blood vessels (red) in an aged chimpanzee brain.Dementia affects one-third of all people older than 65 years in the United States. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, irreversible brain disease that results in impaired cognitive functioning and other behavioral changes. Humans are considered uniquely susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, potentially due to genetic differences, changes in brain structure and function during evolution, and an increased lifespan. However, a new study published Aug. 1 in Neurobiology of Aging provides the most extensive evidence of Alzheimer’s disease brain pathology in a primate species to date. Researchers from Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, along with colleagues from the George Washington University, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Georgia State University, Barrow Neurological Institute and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, found that the brains of aged chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, show pathology similar to the human Alzheimer’s disease brain.

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Restless Development: Bad Sleep May Be Evolutionary Survival Tool, Study Finds

Poor sleep is often regarded as a modern affliction linked to our sedentary lifestyles, electric lighting and smartphones on the bedside table. However, new research suggests that fitful sleep could be an ancient survival mechanism designed to guard against nocturnal threats. The study, which tracked the sleep patterns of a modern-day hunter-gatherer tribe in northern Tanzania, found that frequent night-time waking and differing sleep schedules between the young and old ensured that there was nearly always at least one tribe member awake. “They tell an important part of the human evolutionary story because they live a lifestyle that is the most similar to our hunting and gathering past,” said Alyssa Crittenden, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and one of the study’s co-authors. “They sleep on the ground and have no synthetic lighting or controlled climate.” Of over 220 total hours of observation, there were just 18 minutes when all adults were sound asleep simultaneously. On average, more than a third of the group was alert, or dozing very lightly, at any given time.

The authors claim that the misalignment of sleep schedules of the young and elderly could be an evolutionary adaptation that kept our ancestors safe when sleeping in mixed-age groups.

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