Flipping the “genetic paradox of invasions”

The green crab, Carcinus maenas, is considered a globally distributed invasive species, an organism introduced by humans that eventually becomes overpopulated, with increased potential to negatively alter its new environment. Traditionally, it’s been assumed that successful populations contain high genetic diversity, or a variety of characteristics allowing them to adapt and thrive. On the contrary, the green crab – like many successful invasive populations – has low genetic diversity, while still spreading rapidly in a new part of the world.

‘Molecular Twin’ Initiative Will Help Advance Precision Cancer Treatment

Cedars-Sinai Cancer and Tempus, a leader in artificial intelligence and precision medicine, are harnessing the power of big data and AI to design personalized cancer treatment options by creating virtual replicas of patients’ DNA, RNA, protein and other information to help identify the most effective approach to each individual’s disease.

Diverse DNA signatures linked to heart disease

Risk for heart disease does not look the same on the genetic level for different population groups, report an international team of researchers this month in the journal JAMA Cardiology. The study, led by Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, begins to outline gene activity patterns that could serve as early warning indicators for cardiovascular disease.

2021 Warren Alpert Prize Awarded to Two Scientists for RNA Discoveries

The 2021 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize has been awarded to scientists Lynne Maquat and Joan Steitz for seminal discoveries in the biology and function of RNA, the workhorse molecule of cells. Their discoveries have reshaped the understanding of RNA’s myriad roles in healthy cell function and in disease-causing dysfunction and have informed the conceptualization and design of RNA-based therapies in various stages of development.

Overfishing of Atlantic Cod Likely Did Not Cause Genetic Changes

Overfishing likely did not cause the Atlantic cod, an iconic species, to evolve genetically and mature earlier, according to a study led by Rutgers University and the University of Oslo – the first of its kind – with major implications for ocean conservation.

Researchers Develop New Method for Identifying Mutational Signatures in Cancer

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center used machine learning techniques to detect mutational signatures in cancer patients. Their algorithm outperformed the current standard of analysis and revealed new mutational signatures associated with obesity, which is believed by cancer prevention experts to be becoming the most significant lifestyle factor contributing to cancer in the U.S. and most of the Western world.

John Chaput can store the Declaration of Independence in a single molecule

Just how much space would you need to store all of the world’s data? A building? A block? A city? The amount of global data is estimated to be around 44 zettabytes. A 15-million-square-foot warehouse can hold 1 billion gigabytes, or .001 zettabyte. So you would need 44,000 such warehouses – which would cover nearly the entire state of West Virginia.

More than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Protein 3D Structures Available

New Brunswick, N.J. (March 3, 2021) – The 3D structures of more than 1,000 SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus proteins are freely available from the RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The data bank reached the milestone this week, with 1,018 proteins as…

Researchers watch anti-cancer drug release from DNA nanostructures in real time

A team of researchers from Finland and Germany have found a way to study the endonuclease-driven digestion of drug-loaded DNA nanostructures in real time. As the team investigated the binding of anti-cancer drug doxorubicin (Dox) to the DNA structures in great detail, they discovered that the majority of previous studies have vastly overestimated the Dox loading capacity of DNA origami.

Mount Sinai Researchers Identify Mechanisms That Are Essential for Proper Skin Development

Mount Sinai researchers have discovered that Polycomb complexes, groups of proteins that maintain gene expression patterns, are essential for proper skin development, according to a paper published in Genes & Development on February 18.

DNA Origami Enables Fabricating Superconducting Nanowires

In AIP Advances, researchers describe how to exploit DNA origami as a platform to build superconducting nanoarchitectures. The structures they built are addressable with nanometric precision that can be used as a template for 3D architectures that are not possible today via conventional fabrication techniques. Inspired by previous works using the DNA molecule as a template for superconducting nanowires, the group took advantage of a recent bioengineering advance known as DNA origami to fold DNA into arbitrary shapes.

UCI researchers use deep learning to identify gene regulation at single-cell level

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 5, 2021 — Scientists at the University of California, Irvine have developed a new deep-learning framework that predicts gene regulation at the single-cell level. Deep learning, a family of machine-learning methods based on artificial neural networks, has revolutionized applications such as image interpretation, natural language processing and autonomous driving.

Discovery: How Colorado Potato Beetles Beat Pesticides

New research shows that pesticide alter how Colorado potato beetles manage their DNA. These changes were passed down two generations suggesting that rapid resistance to pesticides may not require beetles to evolve their genetic code. Instead they may simply use existing genes to tolerate toxins already found in potatoes. The scientists were surprised that these epigenetic changes, triggered by a single tiny dose of pesticide, were maintained through multiple rounds of sexual reproduction.

Simulations Reveal Nature’s Design for Error Correction During DNA Replication

A Georgia State University team has used the nation’s fastest supercomputer, Summit at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to find the optimal transition path that one E. coli enzyme uses to switch between building and editing DNA to rapidly remove misincorporated pieces of DNA.

Errant DNA Boosts Immunotherapy Effectiveness

DALLAS – Dec. 17, 2020 – DNA that ends up where it doesn’t belong in cancer cells can unleash an immune response that makes tumors more susceptible to immunotherapy, the results of two UT Southwestern studies indicate. The findings, published online today in Cancer Cell, suggest that delivering radiation – which triggers DNA release from cells – before immunotherapy could be an effective way to fight cancers that are challenging to treat.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss AI Advances Linked to RCSB Protein Data Bank

New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 3, 2020) – Stephen K. Burley, director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, is available for interviews on how the bank’s 50 years of data on the 3D biomolecular structures of life and artificial intelligence can lead…

UNLV Immunologist on the Differences Between Two Leading COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates

Millions around the world have waited for news about a COVID-19 vaccine, regarding it as the beginning of the end for the global pandemic and a herald for the eventual return to “normal life.” Recent announcements from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna that their respective late-stage vaccine trials have shown a 90% or better effectiveness rate have received international applause, excitement furthered with estimates that doses could be ready as early as December.

Genetic Code Evolution and Darwin’s Evolution Theory Should Consider DNA an ‘Energy Code’

Darwin’s theory of evolution should be expanded to include consideration of a DNA stability “energy code” – so-called “molecular Darwinism” – to further account for the long-term survival of species’ characteristics on Earth, according to Rutgers scientists. The iconic genetic code can be viewed as an “energy code” that evolved by following the laws of thermodynamics (flow of energy), causing its evolution to culminate in a nearly singular code for all living species, according to the Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics.

ORNL researcher studies individualized isotopes’ impact by targeting cancer

A radioisotope researcher in the Radioisotope Science and Technology Division at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Davern is focusing on ways to use nanoparticles — particles 100 nanometers or smaller that can have special properties — to contain those radioisotopes and deliver them directly to cancer cells, where they can decay into different isotopes that irradiate those cells.

Ingo Mellinghoff Named Chair of MSK’s Department of Neurology

Neuro-oncologist and renowned physician-scientist Ingo Mellinghoff will lead MSK’s distinguished Department of Neurology after previously serving as Acting Co-Chair.

Researchers Show How Mutations in DNA Packaging Machines Cause Cancer

DALLAS – Sept. 7, 2020 – Like wrenches made of Legos, SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes tighten or loosen DNA in our cells to control how genes are turned on and made into proteins. When assembled correctly, these complexes play a crucial role in the development of normal tissues, and when broken, they can lead to the development of cancer. These complexes are commonly disrupted by mutations in the genes that encode them – but how this leads to cancer is poorly understood.

September Edition of SLAS Discovery Highlights “Applications of Functional Genomics for Drug Discovery”

September’s edition of SLAS Discovery features the cover article, “Applications of Functional Genomics for Drug Discovery” by Ami M. Kabadi, Ph.D., (Element Genomics), Eoin McDonnell, Ph.D. (Element Genomics), Christopher L. Frank, Ph.D., (Element Genomics), and Lauren Drowley, Ph.D., (UCB Biosciences). The article reviews how functional genomic tools are better able to understand the biological interplay between genes, improving disease modeling and identifying novel drug targets.

UAH collaboration with HudsonAlpha expands knowledge of how our cells work

In an effort to better understand how our cells work, scientists have studied the function of 208 proteins responsible for orchestrating the regulation genes in the human genome. A paper appearing in the journal “Nature” describes the collaborative effort.

Research News Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins Medicine

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins Medicine Media Relations is focused on disseminating current, accurate and useful information to the public via the media. As part of that effort, we are distributing our “COVID-19 Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins” every Tuesday throughout the duration of the outbreak.

Hackensack Meridian CDI Scientists Uncover Signposts in DNA that Pinpoint Risks for Cancers and other Diseases

The most strongly disease-relevant genetic variants can be hard to localize in widespread scanning of the genome – but by zooming in on key genetic locations associated with these DNA methylation imbalances in multiple normal and cancer tissues, the scientists report they have uncovered promising new leads beneath the broader statistical signals.

MSK Physician-Scientists Recognized with Top Honors by AACR, ASCO, and ASH Organizations

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) announces the following awards and honors to our staff, given by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) organizations.

First-of-its-Kind Personalized ‘COVID-19 Risk Score’ Launches to Enable Safer Re-opening and Return to Work Plans

Coriell Life Sciences is rolling out a new tool in the fight against COVID-19: personalized COVID-19 Risk Scores designed to enable safer re-opening and return to work plans (especially given the recent release of the CDC guidelines for re-opening).

FDA Approves First At-Home Saliva Collection Test for Coronavirus

Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics received an amended emergency use authorization from the FDA late Thursday for the first SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus test that will allow people to collect their own saliva at home and send to a lab for results. The decision follows the FDA’s recent emergency approval to RUCDR Infinite Biologics for the first saliva-based test, which involves health care workers collecting saliva from individuals at testing sites.