Expert Analysis:
Human & Medicine

April 20, 2016

CRISPR made even more precise, used to correct mutations linked to disease risk

Researchers have developed a modified version of CRISPR-Cas9 that can edit single letters of DNA without breaking the double helix, according to a paper in Nature. The authors say their method is more efficient and has fewer off-target effects than previous methods. Continue reading

April 18, 2016

The first time: Genetic factors in early sexual activity

Looking at the genomes of over 125,000 British men and women, researchers identified 38 genetic variants which were statistically correlated with the age at which people first had sex. Continue reading

April 11, 2016

Search of over 500,000 genomes yields thirteen individuals apparently resistant to severe genetic diseases

Thirteen individuals with genetic mutations that cause severe diseases but whose medical records indicate they are healthy have been identified in a sample of over half a million genomes. Publishing in Nature Biotechnology, the study authors say such ‘resilient’ individuals … Continue reading

April 8, 2016

Second paper to report gene-editing in human embryos published

The second paper reporting gene-editing in nonviable human embryos from IVF clinics has been published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. Continue reading

April 5, 2016

Transplanted pig heart kept beating in a baboon for over two years

Transplanted pig hearts have been kept alive in baboons for longer than ever before, according to research in Nature Communications, with one heart lasting 945 days. Continue reading

March 31, 2016

Epigenetic changes in developing fetuses linked to smoking during pregnancy

Smoking while pregnant can cause epigenetic changes to the DNA of newborns, according to a large scale meta-analysis of thirteen previous studies. The authors say their results could help explain the higher risks of health problems such as birth defects and cancer in children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. Continue reading

March 29, 2016

‘Vegetarian’ gene variant, more common in India, makes up for fatty acids in meat

A genetic variant that helps the body make long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, found in meat and fish, is more common among traditionally vegetarian populations according to research published in Molecular Biology and Evolution. Continue reading

March 24, 2016

Venter Institute researchers reduce the genome of a synthetic cell down to genes essential for life

Craig Venter and colleagues have created a synthetic bacterial cell containing only the genes necessary for life, according to a paper in Science. The researchers say their method can be used to study the core functions of life and construct cells with desired properties. Continue reading

March 22, 2016

What we know about Elizabethkingia, the bacteria causing deaths in Wisconsin and Michigan

The CDC is investigating what it calls  ’the largest recorded outbreak’ of a rare bloodstream bacterial infection which has resulted in the death of seventeen patients in Wisconsin and one patient in Michigan since November 2015. The bacteria Elizabethkingia anopheles, is commonly … Continue reading

March 15, 2016

DNA tests don’t motivate healthy behavior, finds review of research

People are unlikely to change their behavior when told they have a genetic risk for common diseases like type 2 diabetes or heart disease, according to a systematic review in The BMJ. Continue reading

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