Genetic Dark Matter
Evidence is growing that your DNA sequence does not determine your entire genetic fate. Geneticist Joseph Nadeau is trying to find out what accounts for the rest.
What if the DNA sequence of an individual explains only part of the story of his or her inherited diseases and traits, and we need to know the DNA sequences of parents and perhaps even grandparents to understand what is truly going on? Before the Human Genome Project and the era of widespread DNA sequencing, those questions would have seemed ridiculous to researchers convinced they knew better. But modern genomics has run into a Mendelian wall.
Large-scale genomic studies over the past five years or so have mainly failed to turn up common genes that play a major role in complex human maladies.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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