Expert Analysis:
Human & Medicine

March 14, 2016

SARS-like virus engineered in the lab gives insight into possible disease threat

Researchers have assessed the threat of a SARS-like virus, found naturally in bats, by ‘reverse engineering’ the virus in the lab. The authors, found that human airway cells were easily infected in the lab and conclude that the virus, WIV1 poses a threat to emerge as a human disease. Continue reading

March 4, 2016

Zika virus infects lab-grown brain cells, suggests link to birth defects

New research finds the Zika virus can infect neural cells crucial for brain development in embryos, suggesting a potential biological explanation for the cases of microcephaly seen in Latin America during the Zika outbreak. Continue reading

February 25, 2016

World first: Mouse stem cells used to make sperm-like cells which produce fertile offspring

Researchers have coaxed mouse embryonic stem cells into sperm-like cells which were then used to create fertile offspring. The authors, who describe their technique in Cell Stem Cell, say it could hold “tremendous promise” for treating male infertility in humans. Continue reading

February 25, 2016

Abnormal gene activity in Down syndrome affects lifelong brain development

The faulty activity of genes controlling the development of white matter in the brain may underlie cognitive symptoms of people with Down syndrome, according to a study in Neuron. The researchers suggest their results could open up new possibilities for treatment. Continue reading

February 11, 2016

Medical records help shed light on how Neanderthal DNA may impact health

Researchers have begun to unpick how the remnants of Neanderthal DNA resulting from ancient interbreeding might impact the physical and psychiatric health of modern humans. Continue reading

February 3, 2016

Ethics panel: US should allow embryos with mitochondrial DNA from a third person

A panel of scientists and ethicists have said the US should allow clinical research into preventing genetic diseases by mitochondrial replacement, a technique which involves substituting the faulty mitochondria in a mother’s eggs with healthy mitochondria from a donor. Continue reading

February 1, 2016

Zika outbreak: How can viruses cause birth defects and Guillain–Barré syndrome?

Spread of the Zika virus has been linked to the increases in the occurrence of the birth defect microcephaly and the neurological disorder Guillain–Barré syndrome. GENeS reached out to experts to find out how viruses like Zika may cause these conditions. Continue reading

February 1, 2016

UK fertility regulator approves research project to gene-edit human embryos

A research project to gene-edit human embryos has been given the go-ahead by the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The approval has been granted to the Francis Crick Institute for research into the genes needed for embryos to develop successfully. Continue reading

January 27, 2016

Researchers may have found a genetic reason for differences in schizophrenic brains

A rare biological link between a gene associated with schizophrenia and differences in the brains of people with the psychiatric disorder has been reported in Nature. Continue reading

January 25, 2016

Genetically modified monkeys created for study of autism spectrum disorders

Researchers have genetically engineered monkeys to show autism-like behaviors, in order to further understand autism spectrum disorders and work towards treatments. Continue reading

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