human biology

The Genes and Neural Circuits Behind Autism’s Impaired Sociability

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have gained new insight into the genetic and neuronal circuit mechanisms that may contribute to impaired sociability in some forms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Led by Matthew P. Anderson, MD, PhD, Director of Neuropathology at BIDMC, the scientists determined how a gene linked to one common form of autism works in a…

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Biochemists Develop New Way To Control Cell Biology With Light

Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed a new method of controlling biology at the cellular level using light. The tool—called a photocleavable protein—breaks into two pieces when exposed to light, allowing scientists to study and manipulate activity inside cells in new and different ways. “By shining light into the cell, we can cause the photocleavable protein to break,…

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UC San Diego Biologists Unlock Code Regulating Most Human Genes

Molecular biologists at UC San Diego have unlocked the code that initiates transcription and regulates the activity of more than half of all human genes, an achievement that should provide scientists with a better understanding of how human genes are turned on and off. The discovery of this critical DNA sequence code—what molecular biologists term the “human Initiator”—is detailed in a…

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Zika-linked Birth Defects More Extensive Than Previously Thought, UCLA-led Research Finds

New UCLA-led research finds that Zika-linked abnormalities that occur in human fetuses are more extensive — and severe — than previously thought, with 46 percent of 125 pregnancies among Zika-infected women resulting in birth defects in newborns or ending in fetal death. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that damage during fetal development from the…

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Penn Scientists Use CRISPR for First Time to Correct Clotting in Newborn and Adult Mice

CRISPR/Cas9, a powerful genome editing tool, is showing promise for efficient correction of disease-causing mutations. For the first time, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have developed a dual gene therapy approach to deliver key components of a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene targeting system to mice to treat hemophilia B. This disorder is also called factor…

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Our Brains Have A Basic Algorithm That Enables Our Intelligence, Scientists Say

Our brains have a basic algorithm that enables us to not just recognize a traditional Thanksgiving meal, but the intelligence to ponder the broader implications of a bountiful harvest as well as good family and friends. “A relatively simple mathematical logic underlies our complex brain computations,” said Dr. Joe Z. Tsien, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University,…

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