Cryopreservation method could expand access to organ transplants | Genetic bias might lead to brain disorders | Modified red blood cells prevent MS, diabetes in preclinical studies
March 8, 2017
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Cryopreservation method could expand access to organ transplants
Animal arteries and heart valves frozen in a solution containing iron oxide nanoparticles warmed uniformly without damage when activated by an external magnetic field, bringing scientists a step closer to cryopreservation of organs for transplant. The study is published in Science Translational Medicine.
Reuters (3/1) 
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Research Breakthroughs
Genetic bias might lead to brain disorders
University of Utah scientists found 200 genes in mouse brains that always activate DNA from only one parent, and similarly biased cells exist in nonhuman primates, according to a report published in Neuron. Some cells favor mutated alleles and silence the healthy copy from the disfavored parent, potentially contributing to brain disorders, says study leader Christopher Gregg.
The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) (3/3) 
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Modified red blood cells prevent MS, diabetes in preclinical studies
Red blood cells genetically engineered to attach to antigens suppressed autoimmune activity in mice, preventing multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes and reversing existing disease progression, researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists were also able to modify human red blood cells without genetic engineering in less than an hour.
The San Diego Union-Tribune (tiered subscription model) (3/6) 
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Researchers create mouse embryo in a lab dish
Embryonic and trophoblast stem cells placed in an extracellular matrix communicated with each other and organized into a structure that looked and behaved like an embryo. The study, published in Science, is a step toward understanding the basic biology of development and why problems occur early on in up to 70% of human pregnancies, lead researcher Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz said.
CNN (3/2),  HealthDay News (3/2) 
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Scientists ID possible Alzheimer's disease drug target
Scientists ID possible Alzheimer's disease drug target.
(Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images)
Blocking Keap1 to activate the neuroprotective protein Nrf2 prevented damage from beta-amyloid peptides in fruit fly brains and mouse nerve cells, researchers reported in PLOS Genetics. "The humble fruit fly is a powerful tool to identify new genetic causes of human diseases, including neuronal degeneration, and our study demonstrates that these findings have the potential to lead to the development of new compounds that are effective in mammalian systems," researcher Fiona Kerr said.
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (3/3) 
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Other News
Animal Health
America's dogs and cats are too fat
America's dogs and cats are too fat.
(Express Newspapers/Getty Images)
With 54% of dogs and 60% of cats overweight or obese, pets are increasingly treated for obesity-related conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, much like their owners. Veterinarian Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, says obesity affects pets' attitudes, too, contributing to lethargy and inactivity, but feeding appropriate portions, choosing healthy snacks and adding regular exercise can prevent health problems that obesity sets off.
The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (3/7) 
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Avian influenza detected on US farms in Wis., Tenn.
The USDA confirmed an outbreak of low-pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza on a Wisconsin farm housing 84,000 turkeys after some birds showed signs of infection. The news follows an outbreak on a commercial chicken farm in Tennessee affected by highly pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza, a virus also causing havoc in China, but the version circulating there is genetically distinct from the Tennessee virus.
Reuters (3/7),  Bloomberg (3/7) 
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Mutations might have doomed woolly mammoths, could endanger other species
The last of the woolly mammoths had gene mutations that affected their coats and their sense of smell, among other changes, possibly accelerating their demise, according to findings published in PLOS Genetics. The findings could guide future conservation efforts by "telling us something very important about what happens in populations already under severe threat because of diminished range and numbers," said paleontologist Ross MacPhee.
Nature (free content) (3/2) 
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