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Latest and Breaking Biology News

Arsenic stubbornly taints many US wells, say new reports
(The Earth Institute at Columbia University) Naturally occurring arsenic in private wells threatens people in many US states and parts of Canada, according to a package of a dozen scientific papers to be published next week. The studies, focused mainly on New England but applicable elsewhere, say private wells present continuing risks due to almost nonexistent regulation in most states, homeowner inaction and inadequate mitigation measures.

Sequencing genetic duplications could aid clinical interpretation
(Emory Health Sciences) To aid in the interpretation of CNVs, researchers have completed detailed maps of 184 duplications found in the genomes of individuals referred for genetic testing.

UTSW study links deficiency of cellular housekeeping gene with aggressive forms of breast cancer
(UT Southwestern Medical Center) UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have identified a strong link between the most aggressive type of breast cancer and a gene that regulates the body's natural cellular recycling process, called autophagy.

DNA nanoswitches reveal how life's molecules connect
(Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard) 'Bio-molecular interaction analysis, a cornerstone of biomedical research, is traditionally accomplished using equipment that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,' said Wyss Associate Faculty member Wesley P. Wong, Ph.D., senior author of study. 'Rather than develop a new instrument, we've created a nanoscale tool made from strands of DNA that can detect and report how molecules behave, enabling biological measurements to be made by almost anyone, using only common and inexpensive laboratory reagents.'

Scientists use knowledge from the food industry to understand mass extinction
(Geological Society of America) The close of the Permian Period around 250 million years ago saw Earth's biggest extinction ever. At this time large volcanic eruptions were occurring in what is now Siberia. The volcanoes pumped out gases that led to acid rain. Falling on the supercontinent Pangaea, the acid rain killed off end-Permian forests. The demise of forests led to soil erosion and the production of organic-rich sediments in shallow marine waters.

Population genomics unveil seahorse domain
(City College of New York) In a finding vital to effective species management, a team including City College of New York biologists has determined that the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is more a permanent resident of the western mid-Atlantic Ocean than a vagrant.

VG Life Sciences secures patent covering treatment of IDB with CLIP-inducing agent
(Viral Genetics, Inc.) VG Life Sciences, a biotechnology company developing therapies for autoimmune and infectious diseases, today announced the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued US Patent No. 8906846, covering a method of treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) through the administration of a CLIP-inducing agent.

New software analyzes human genomes faster than other available technologies
(Nationwide Children's Hospital) Investigators have developed an analysis 'pipeline' that slashes the time it takes to search a person's genome for disease-causing variations from weeks to hours. An article describing the ultra-fast, highly scalable software was published in the latest issue of Genome Biology.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation grants fellowship, Breakthrough Scientist awards
(Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation) The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on supporting innovative early career researchers, named 15 new Damon Runyon Fellows at its fall Fellowship Award Committee review. The recipients of this prestigious, four-year award are outstanding postdoctoral scientists conducting basic and translational cancer research in the laboratories of leading senior investigators across the country. The Committee also named six new recipients of the Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists.

LSU Health New Orleans makes discovery key to preventing blindness and stroke devastation
(Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center) Research conducted at the LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence has discovered gene interactions that determine whether cells live or die in such conditions as age-related macular degeneration and ischemic stroke. These common molecular mechanisms in vision and brain integrity can prevent blindness and also promote recovery from a stroke.

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