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Genome of deadly amoeba shows surprising complexity, evidence of lateral gene transfer

The genome sequence of the parasitic amoeba Entamoeba histolytica, a leading cause of severe diarrheal disease in developing countries, includes an unexpectedly complex repertoire of sensory genes as well as a variety of bacterial-like genes that contribute to the organism's unique biology. .. . The analysis reveals the degradation of the E. histolytica genome in its tr...

Introduced foxes transformed vegetation on Aleutian Islands from lush grasslands to tundra

Huge colonies of seabirds accustomed to nesting on islands free of predators began disappearing when fur traders started introducing foxes onto islands in the Aleutian archipelago in the 18th century. The ground-nesting birds made easy meals for the foxes. A study published this week in the journal Science now shows that the effects of the introduced foxes rippled through entire island ecosystems...

UCLA scientists transform HIV into cancer-seeking missile

Camouflaging an impotent AIDS virus in new clothes enables it to hunt down metastasized melanoma cells in living mice, reports a UCLA AIDS Institute study in the Feb. 13 online edition of Nature Medicine. The scientists added the protein that makes fireflies glow to the virus in order to track its journey from the bloodstream to new tumors in the animals' lungs. .. "For the past 20 years, gene th...

Stem cells from brain transformed to produce insulin at Stanford

With careful coaxing, stem cells from the brain can form insulin-producing cells that mimic those missing in people with diabetes, according to a paper published in the April 26 issue of PLoS Medicine. . .. In past work, Kim and members of his lab enticed mo...

Researcher gets NSF grant to create mutant maize lines

A Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) researcher at Cornell University has received a grant to help assemble a unique database of DNA mutations in maize (corn). .. . .. Fu...

IBM Transforms the Art of Scientific Expeditions

Scientists have shown they can dramatically enhance radiation's cancer-killing effects by blocking a "master switch" in cancer cells that promotes cancer growth. Blocking a protein called HIF-1 after radiation therapy doubled the length of time it took for human cancers to begin growing again in mice, said the radiation biologists from the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. . Each therapy alone ha...

Virtual animal shelters ?How the Internet is transforming the experience of pet adoptions

Across the United States, independent pet rescue organizations are growing in number, working to place abandoned animals in loving new homes. Although the majority of these organizations operate out of clusters of private foster homes, they're successfully winning high visibility for placing their pooches. . In a presentation at the 100th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (A...

Scientists use gene transfer technology and common virus to block neuropathic pain in animals

Remember how it felt the last time you burned your finger on a hot stove? Imagine what it's like to have that burning pain in your hands or feet all the time and know there's virtually nothing you can do about it. .. . Now, scientists at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the Univ...

Scientists use gene transfer technology and common virus to block neuropathic pain

Remember how it felt the last time you burned your finger on a hot stove? Imagine what it's like to have that burning pain in your hands or feet all the time and know there's virtually nothing you can do about it. . .. Now, scientists at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the University of Michig...

Study uncovers placental microtransfusions lead to transmission of AIDS virus during childbirth

Transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from pregnant women to their infants sometime during childbirth is a huge international problem, studies have shown. Between 25 percent and 35 percent of babies born to untreated HIV-infected mothers become infected themselves. . .. "The question has always been how does the virus get from the mothers to the babies?" said principal investigator Dr....

Researchers offer proof-of-concept for Altered Nuclear Transfer

Scientists at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have successfully demonstrated that a theoretical--and controversial--technique for generating embryonic stem cells is indeed possible, at least in mice. . The theory, called altered nuclear transfer (ANT), proposes that researchers first create genetically altered embryos that are unable to implant in a uterus, and then extract stem cel...

Carnegie Mellon U. transforms DNA microarrays with standard Internet communications tool

A standard Internet protocol that checks errors made during email transmissions has now inspired a revolutionary method to transform DNA microarray analysis, a common technology used to understand gene activation. The new method, which blends experiment and computation, strengthens DNA microarray analysis, according to its Carnegie Mellon University inventor, who is publishing his findings in the...

Gene needed for butterfly transformation also key for insects like grasshoppers

It is a marvel of nature that a creature such as a caterpillar changes into something quite different, a butterfly. Contrast that with a grasshopper, which looks largely the same from the time it hatches through its adult stage. . New University of Washington research shows that a regulatory gene named broad, known to be necessary for development of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, a...

Amazonian terra preta can transform poor soil into fertile

The search for El Dorado in the Amazonian rainforest might not have yielded pots of gold, but it has led to unearthing a different type of gold mine: some of the globe's richest soil that can transform poor soil into highly fertile ground. . That's not all. Scientists have a method to reproduce this soil -- known as terra preta, or Amazonian dark earths -- and say it can pull substantial amounts...

Completed genome set to transform the cow

The ability of scientists to improve health and disease management of cattle and enhance the nutritional value of beef and dairy products has received a major boost with the release this week of the most complete sequence of the cow genome ever assembled. . .. Differences in just one of these base pairs (known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNP...

Microbes transform 'safest' PBDEs into more harmful compounds

Bacteria in the soil can transform the most commonly used flame retardant compound in the United States into more toxic forms that could be harmful to humans, according to a new laboratory study published today on the Web site of the American Chemical Society journal, . The finding, by a team of environmental engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggests these transformations cou...

Gene transfer using mutant form of good cholesterol cuts vascular plaque and inflammation

Transfer of a gene that produces a mutant form of good cholesterol provides significantly better anti-plaque and anti-inflammation benefits than therapy using the "normal" HDL gene, according to a mouse study conducted by cardiology researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and reported in the Oct. 3 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. . Apolipoprotein A-I is a naturally...

Blood transfusion-transmitted infections: A global perspective

Thanks to the many blood-safety interventions introduced since 1984, the overall risk for most transfusion-transmitted infections has become exceedingly small. . In the September 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Morris Blajchman, professor of Medicine at McMaster University, and medical director, Canadian Blood Services (Hamilton Centre), with co-author Dr. Eleftherios Vamvak...

Study of gene transfer for erectile dysfunction shows promise

The first human study using gene transfer to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) shows promising results and suggests the potential for using the technology to treat overactive bladder, irritable bowel syndrome and asthma, according to the researchers. . "In the small pilot study, this new therapy was well tolerated and safe," said George Christ, Ph.D., senior researcher and a professor at the Instit...

Five new technologies that promise to transform medicine

Fat zapping to shed excess weight, miniature telescopes to restore vision, and smart nappies to detect common childhood infections: these are some of the new technologies that promise to transform medicine, according to this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ. . .. His vision for the future includes airport x-ray style devices that "fry" excess fat with a laser. An overweight...

Carnegie Mellon scientists use 'green' approach to transform plastics manufacturing

Using environmentally safe compounds like sugars and vitamin C, scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have vastly improved a popular technology used to generate a diverse range of industrial plastics for applications ranging from targeted drug delivery systems to resilient paint coatings. . The revolutionary improvement in atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) now enables large-scale pro...

Science researchers genetically transform immune cells into tumor fighters

A team of researchers has genetically engineered normal immune cells to become specialized tumor fighters, demonstrating for the first time that these engineered cells can persist in the body and shrink large tumors in humans. . Two of the 17 people with advanced melanoma who received the experimental treatment saw their tumors shrink and were declared clinically free of disease more than a yea...

New science of metagenomics 'will transform modern microbiology'

The emerging field of metagenomics, where the DNA of entire communities of microbes is studied simultaneously, presents the greatest opportunity -- perhaps since the invention of the microscope -- to revolutionize understanding of the microbial world, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report calls for a new Global Metagenomics Initiative to drive advances in the field in...

Better assessment of transfusions could save blood

Nearly 95 percent of patients admitted to hospital intensive care units are affected by anemia. Consequently, these patients receive a large number of red blood cell (RBC) transfusions in order to restore proper hemoglobin levels. New research shows that alternative treatments may lead to fewer transfusions, conserving critical blood supplies in hospitals. The report is published in Seminars in D...

Transfusion expert urges wider use of filtered blood

Filtering white cells from donor blood before a transfusion is much safer for patients and long overdue as a national standard for all surgical procedures, according to University of Rochester researchers who present their analysis in the April journal, Transfusion. . The practice of removing the white cells from blood is called leukoreduction. But despite the recommendations of two national advi...
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