Top 12 Genetics News In 2017

Genetics News 2017
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The year 2017 has seen ground-breaking advancements in the field of genetics. Genetics is the biological study of genes, genetic variation, mutations, and heredity in living organisms. In this article, we will explore top 12 genetics news in 2017.

Top Genetics News In 2017

CRISPR-CAS9 Gene Editing Technique

CRISPR-CAS9 Mode of Action
CRISPR-CAS9 Mode of Action (Source: Wikimedia)

The year 2017’s biggest breakthrough was undoubtedly the development of the CRISPR-CAS9 gene editing technique. This technique allows genetic material to be edited (added, removed or altered) at particular locations in the genome, providing faster, cheaper, accurate and better results than any other technique used before.

Reference: “Development and applications of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering – PubMed – NCBI”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Scientists Find Genes That Cause Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's Disease

Scientists at the Boston University school of medicine have identified new genes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Three genes, SRRM4, MTUS1, and GRIN2B are known to cause structural and functional changes leading to building up of AD proteins found elevated in the CSF of AD patients.

Reference: “Genome-wide association study of Alzheimer’s disease endophenotypes at prediagnosis stages”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Research on DNA’s Base-Pairing Rules

DNA Base Pairing

Researchers at the Arizona state university have elucidated DNA’s base-pairing rules further. Complementary base pairing rules suggest that G pairs with C and A pairs with C, thereby providing an organism with a specific G-C and A-T content. This content varies widely over species, and this study showed that natural selection favors higher G-C contents. Most mutations are found to occur in DNA’s G-C regions.

Reference: “Evolutionary determinants of genome-wide nucleotide composition | Nature Ecology & Evolution”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Study Shows Dodder Plant Can Silence Gene Expression in Crops

Dodder Plant

A recent study shed new light on the behavior of the parasitic plant, Dodder. This plant Is known to cause major damage to crops by attaching to its host and deriving water and nutrients from it. The findings from this study suggest that Dodder can silence gene expression in the host plant, leading to cross-species gene regulation.

Reference: “MicroRNAs from the parasitic plant Cuscuta campestris target host messenger RNAs | Nature”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Scientists Find Protein Responsible For Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia

Scientists at John Hopkins identified mutations in a protein linked with Schizophrenia. This protein attacks receptors at junctions between neurons. The findings of this study showed a successful reversal of certain schizophrenia symptoms in mice by targeting this protein.

Reference: “Thorase variants are associated with defects in glutamatergic neurotransmission that can be rescued by Perampanel | Science Translational Medicine”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Research Finds Alcohol Damages DNA In Stem Cells

Alcohol stem cell damage

A recent study published in nature, conducted by Cancer Research UK has further elucidated how alcohol damages DNA in stem cells, increasing the risk of seven types cancer. The study also explains how the cells attempt to defend themselves from DNA damage.

Reference: “Alcohol and endogenous aldehydes damage chromosomes and mutate stem cells | Nature”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

New Treatment Strategy For X-Chromosome Related Disorders

X-Chromosome

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered a new strategy for treating X-chromosome linked disorders. The technique was used to reactivate the inactivated portion of the X-chromosome thereby increasing the expression of a healthy protein to treat Rett syndrome.

Reference: “A mixed modality approach towards Xi reactivation for Rett syndrome and other X-linked disorders”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Gene Swapping To Control Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Anopheles Mosquito

Scientists at the University of California studied genetic changes that equip the Anopheles mosquito with pesticide resistance. Pesticide target sites in mosquito DNA were found to be mutated, thus conferring insecticide resistance. The ability to swap genes further enhances the mosquito’s insecticide resistance.

Reference: “Human Interventions: Driving Forces of Mosquito Evolution”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Creative Solution To Solve World’s Food Shortage Challenge

Cereal

A recent study conducted at the Donald Danforth Plant Center has aimed to solve the world’s food shortage challenge. The study identifies certain mechanisms that are responsible for developmental traits of cereal grains. By studying and employing this mechanism, scientists may be able to enhance the yield of cereal grains.

Reference: “Brassinosteroids Modulate Meristem Fate and Differentiation of Unique Inflorescence Morphology in Setaria viridis | Plant Cell”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Breakthrough Study of Protein (Slient Code)

Amino Acid

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered the reason why proteins with nearly the same amino acid code can perform separate, and distinct functions. The answer lies, not in the amino acid code but the nucleotide code of the DNA that coded the protein – also called “silent code. ” Researchers found that difference in the nucleotide code causes the differing density of ribosomes to be assembled for each protein translation.

Reference: “Diverse functions of homologous actin isoforms are defined by their nucleotide, rather than their amino acid sequence | eLife”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Researchers Discover PRPS1 Gene’s Role in Hear Loss in Young Boys

University of Miami

A team of researchers at the University of Miami that the development of the middle ear is governed by expression of the PRPS1 gene. This gene is associated with a progressive hearing loss in males aged between 5 and 15.

Reference: “Loss-of-Function Mutations in the PRPS1 Gene Cause a Type of Nonsyndromic X-linked Sensorineural Deafness, DFN2”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Interesting Genetic Variants Discovery of Skin Color Diversity

Skin Color Diversity
Skin Color Diversity (Source: Wikimedia)

Scientists have discovered the genetic variants underlying skin color diversity in the African population. This piece of research studies the evolution of these genes, leading to the finding that the genetic variants that contribute to skin color diversity have traveled from all over the world.

Reference: “Loci associated with skin pigmentation identified in African populations | Science”. Accessed January 09, 2018. Link.

Cite this article as: "Top 12 Genetics News In 2017," in Bio Explorer by Jack Kirsten, January 10, 2018, https://www.bioexplorer.net/genetics-news-2017.html/.
Top 12 Genetics News In 2017
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