For the first time, scientists are able to study changes in the DNA of any human tissue, following the resolution of long-standing technical challenges. The new method, called nanorate sequencing (NanoSeq), makes it possible to study how genetic changes occur in human tissues with unprecedented accuracy.
Genetically engineered animals provide important insights into the molecular basis of health and disease. Research has focused mainly on genetically modified mice, although other species, such as pigs, are more similar to human physiology. Researchers have now generated chickens and pigs in which target genes in desired organs can be efficiently altered.
Coronavirus researchers under Prof. Rolf Hilgenfeld of the University of Lübeck and Dr. Albrecht von Brunn of the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich published a research breakthrough in the highly ranked “EMBO Journal”. They discovered how SARS viruses enhance the production of viral proteins in infected cells, so that many new copies of the virus can be generated. Other coronaviruses apart from SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 do not use this mechanism, thereby providing a possible explanation for the much higher pathogenicity of the SARS viruses.
The human scream signals more than fear of imminent danger or entanglement in social conflicts. Screaming can also express joy or excitement. For the first time, researchers at the University of Zurich have demonstrated that non-alarming screams are even perceived and processed by the brain more efficiently than their alarming counterparts.
Compared to most other primates, humans are characterized by a tight fit between the maternal birth canal and the fetal head, leading to a relatively high risk of neonatal and maternal mortality and morbidity. Why the human birth canal has not evolved to be larger and reduce these risks has long been a topic of debate. A new study, published in PNAS and co-led by Dr. Nicole Grunstra, affiliated scientist in the Mammal Collection at the Natural History Museum of Vienna, highlights the role of the pelvic floor in constraining human pelvic evolution.
Researchers found that H. pylori bacterial strains with low expression of a small RNA molecule called HPnc4160 are more likely to adapt to living in the human stomach. Gastric cancer patients have lower levels of HPnc4160, as well as higher levels of pathogenic bacterial proteins, than individuals without cancer. This work provides crucial knowledge for the development of new treatments for chronic H. pylori infections and gastric cancer.
New research has uncovered a surprising role for so-called ‘jumping’ genes that are a source of genetic mutations responsible for a number of human diseases. Scientists made the unexpected discovery that these DNA sequences, also known as transposons, can protect against certain blood cancers.
The human brain as we know it today is relatively young. It evolved about 1.7 million years ago when the culture of stone tools in Africa became increasingly complex. A short time later, the new Homo populations spread to Southeast Asia, researchers from the University of Zurich have now shown using computed tomography analyses of fossilized skulls.
Research finds that a specific strain of herpesvirus triggers cervical cancer affecting nearly 1 in 4 necropsied California sea lions. The findings show that sea lions are a critical model for understanding how cancer develops with important parallels to human cancer research.
Advancing research into how viruses penetrate and act on human cells requires powerful cell imaging approaches. Soft X-ray microscopy is particularly suitable but has so far not been widely available. A pan-European research project called “Compact Cell-Imaging Device” with Heidelberg participation seeks to develop this technology for extensive application in medical research.
When the human immunodeficiency virus infects cells, it can either exploit the cells to start making more copies of itself or remain dormant — a phenomenon called latency. Keeping these reservoirs latent is a challenge. A new paper has found a way to look for chemicals that can keep the virus suppressed into its dormant state.
Image analysis utilizing neural networks can help identify details in tissue samples which are difficult to discern by the human eye. A study demonstrated that the technique makes it possible to accurately determine genetic mutations in the cancer cells of patients suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, a malignant blood disorder.
An international team of researchers has found that A. virginicus extracts appear to be effective against several human diseases, including diabetes and cancer.
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine show that analysis of the proteomics, or all the protein data, from aggressive human cancers is a useful approach to identify potential novel therapeutic targets.
Bayreuth study on the activation of the enzyme sirtuin 6: Toward the development of drugs for aging-related diseases
In the search for ways to effectively combat age-related human disease, the enzyme sirtuin 6 (Sirt6) has recently become a focus of biochemical research. A targeted activation of Sirt6 could prevent or mitigate such diseases, for example some types of cancer. In a paper for the journal “Nature Chemical Biology”, biochemists from the University of Bayreuth have now shown how the small molecule MDL-801 binds to the enzyme Sirt6 and influences its activity. These findings stand to aid the development of new drugs.
A team of researchers has developed a new computational tool to help understand the function and regulation of human genes.
Exactly 20 years after the successful completion of the “Human Genome Project”, an international group of researchers, the Human Genome Structural Variation Consortium (HGSVC), has now sequenced 64 human genomes at high resolution. This reference data includes individuals from around the world, better capturing the genetic diversity of the human species. Among other applications, the work enables population-specific studies on genetic predispositions to human diseases as well as the discovery of more complex forms of genetic variation, as the 65 authors report in the current issue of the scientific journal Science.
Eine internationale Forschungsgruppe, das „Human Genome Structural Variation Consortium (HGSVC), hat 64 menschliche Genome hochauflösend sequenziert. Zur Erfassung der genetischen Vielfalt der menschlichen Spezies wurden dafür Individuen aus der ganzen Welt einbezogen. Diese neuen Referenzdaten ermöglichen unter anderem bevölkerungsspezifische Studien zu genetischen Prädispositionen für menschliche Krankheiten sowie die Entdeckung komplexerer Formen genetischer Variationen, wie die 65 Autorinnen und Autoren in der aktuellen Ausgabe der Fachzeitschrift Science berichten.
The use of antimicrobial drugs and the subsequent selection for antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a global health problem affecting humans, animals and the environment. A research team from Vetmeduni Vienna has examined a possible factor influencing this problem in more detail, namely the feeding of waste milk – milk that does not meet the legal requirements for human consumption – to calves. The researchers argue that more attention should be paid to the possible negative consequences of this feeding practice and that alternative strategies must be explored.
Researchers reveal transformation of colon organoids in vitro. Escherichia coli bacteria are constitutive members of the human gut microbiota. However, some strains produce a genotoxin called colibactin, which is implicated in the development of colorectal cancer.
Gliomas are common brain tumors that comprise about one third of all cancers of the nervous system. Researchers tested a novel combination treatment approach on mice with tumors with characteristics similar to human astrocytomas and found tumor regression in 60 percent of the mice treated. These encouraging results could be the first step toward developing a treatment for this type of brain cancer.
Extensive aquaculture areas along coasts are very common in Southeast Asia. A new study shows that human-produced nitrogen enters the adjacent coastal sea through the discharge of large amounts of untreated wastewater. There, it not only leads to eutrophication, but also ends up in the food chain.
In order for a drug to be effective at the right places in the body, it helps if scientists can predict as accurately as possible how the molecules of that drug will interact with human cells. In a joint research project, scientists from Leipzig University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai have succeeded in elucidating such a structure, namely that of the neuropeptide Y receptor Y2 with one of its ligands. This is the first time that a molecular blueprint for this receptor is available, which will enable the development of tailor-made new drugs, e.g. to treat epilepsy or cardiovascular diseases. The researchers’ findings have now been published in “Nature Communications”.
To evaluate the chemical composition of food from a physiological point of view, it is important to know the functions of the receptors that interact with food ingredients. These include receptors for bitter compounds, which first evolved during evolution in bony fishes such as the coelacanth. What 400 million years of evolutionary history reveal about the function of both fish and human bitter receptors was recently published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution by a team of researchers led by the Leibniz Institute for Food Systems Biology at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Cologne.