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Genetics: Monogamouse

December 30, 2009
biotech

Genetically modified prairie voles may illuminate the human condition

LOVE, of course, is what makes the world go round, but what makes love go round? To aesthetes, such a question is imponderable. To scientists, it is not only ponderable but increasingly open to scrutiny—the more so now that Zoe Donaldson and her colleagues at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, have succeeded in creating a new kind of transgenic prairie vole. For, unlikely as it might seem, these tiny rodents could be the key to understanding bonding, trust and even decision-making in humans.

For those unfamiliar with the delightful prairie vole, it is a small rodent found in the grasslands of central North America. What makes it unusual among mammals is that it is both sociable and monogamous. Prairie voles groom each other, nest with one another, collaborate to guard their territory and are affectionate and attentive parents who form, for the most part, devoted couples. Their close relatives the meadow voles, by contrast, prefer a solitary, promiscuous existence. …


Defense Department to Support Fragile X Research

December 29, 2009
biotech

[NEWS]

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The National Fragile X Foundation applauds the United States Congress and President Barack Obama for including Fragile X Syndrome for the first time ever within a select group of conditions eligible for research funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. The new law, signed by President Obama on Dec. 19, designates $50 million through the FY 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). Fragil…


New research could advance research field critical to personalized medicine

December 29, 2009
biotech

[NEWS]

Contact: Karen Mallet km463@georgetown.edu 215-514-9751 Georgetown University Medical Center Washington, DC — It's the ultimate goal in the treatment of cancer: tailoring a person's therapy based on his or her genetic makeup. While a lofty goal, scientists are steadily moving forward, rapidly exploiting new technologies. Researc…


Scripps research team develops technique to determine ethnic origin of stem cell lines

December 29, 2009
biotech

[NEWS]

Contact: Keith McKeown kmckeown@scripps.edu 858-784-8134 Scripps Research Institute Cells more representative of the US and world populations could lead to more accurate research and safer, more effective therapies An international team of scientists led by researchers at The Scripps Research Institute has developed …


New RNA interference technique can silence up to 5 genes

December 28, 2009
biotech

[NEWS]

Contact: Jen Hirsch jfhirsch@mit.edu 617-253-1682 Massachusetts Institute of Technology CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Researchers at MIT and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals report this week that they have successfully used RNA interference to turn off multiple genes in the livers of mice, an advance that could lead to new treatments for diseases of the li…


Stanford scientists identify protein that keeps stem cells poised for action

December 24, 2009
biotech

[NEWS]

Contact: Krista Conger kristac@stanford.edu 650-725-5371 Stanford University Medical Center STANFORD, Calif. – Like a child awaiting the arrival of Christmas, embryonic stem cells exist in a state of permanent anticipation. They must balance the ability to quickly become more specialized cell types with the cellula…


Mobilizing the repair squad: Critical protein helps mend damaged DNA

December 24, 2009
biotech

[NEWS] Contact: Gina Kirchweger kirchweger@salk.edu 858-453-410-01340 Salk Institute La Jolla, CA – In order to preserve our DNA, cells have developed an intricate system for monitoring and repairing DNA damage. Yet precisely how the initial damage signal is converted into a repair response remains unclear. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biologi…


Citrus surprise: Vitamin C boosts the reprogramming of adult cells into stem cells

December 24, 2009
biotech

[NEWS]

Contact: Cathleen Genova cgenova@cell.com 617-397-2802 Cell Press Famous for its antioxidant properties and role in tissue repair, vitamin C is touted as beneficial for illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer and perhaps even for slowing the aging process. Now, a study published online on December 24th by Cell Press in the journal <em…


Scientists create world’s first molecular transistor

December 23, 2009
biotech

[NEWS] Contact: Suzanne Taylor Muzzin suzanne.taylormuzzin@yale.edu 203-403-8555 Yale University This release is available in Chinese. New Haven, Conn. – A group of scientists has succeeded in creating the firs…


Encyclopedia of microbe genomes: Chapter 1

December 23, 2009
biotech

[NEWS] Contact: Jonathan Eisen jaeisen@ucdavis.edu 530-752-3498 University of California – Davis Genome scientists from the US and Germany have assembled the first pages of a comprehensive encyclopedia of genomes of all the microbes on Earth. The results, published Dec. 24 in the journal Nature, will help biologists find new genes and fill …