Stem cell researchers reactivate ‘back-up genes’ in the lab: Researchers in Belgium present new findings on X chromosome reactivation

Vincent Pasque and his team at KU Leuven have unravelled parts of a mechanism that may one day help to treat Rett syndrome and other genetic disorders linked to the X chromosome. Women and most female mammals have two X chromosomes, but only one of these is active in any given cell. This active X chromosome is selected through a […]

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A simpler way to choose the sex of offspring by separating X and Y sperm: Differential gene activity by the two sex chromosomes allows X-bearing sperm to be slowed down

A simple, reversible chemical treatment can segregate X-bearing sperm from Y-bearing sperm, allowing dramatic alteration of the normal 50/50 male/female offspring ratio, according to a new study by Masayuki Shimada and colleagues at Hiroshima University, published on August 13 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. The study was performed in mice, but the technique is likely to be widely applicable […]

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Novel school improvement program can raise teaching quality while reducing inequality

A multi-national European study, looking at over 5,500 students, has found that a novel school intervention program can not only improve the mathematics scores of primary school children from disadvantaged areas, but can also lessen the achievement gap caused by socioeconomic status. Known as the Dynamic Approach to School Improvement (DASI), the program is based on the latest findings in […]

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A treasure map to understanding the epigenetic causes of disease

More than 15 years after scientists first mapped the human genome, most diseases still cannot be predicted based on one’s genes, leading researchers to explore epigenetic causes of disease. But the study of epigenetics cannot be approached the same way as genetics, so progress has been slow. Now, researchers at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of […]

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Chemical modifiers tag-team to regulate essential mechanism of life: Basic science discovery explains a fundamental way human cells differ from yeast cells

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have made a key observation about one of the most fundamental biological processes: gene transcription. A gene’s job is to provide a cell with the instructions to create a specific protein. The first step of this process is called transcription, during which the DNA is copied into RNA. The scribe is an enzyme called RNA […]

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Placenta-on-a-chip created to study caffeine transport from mother to fetus

Engineers have used microfluidic technology to create a “placenta-on-a-chip” that models how compounds can be passed from a mother to a fetus. “I am interested in microfluidics and I’ve been excited about using the technology to understand what happens in the cellular environment and within the body,” said Nicole Hashemi, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State University […]

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