DNA molecular scissors

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats) gene editing technology allows permanent modification of genes within organisms. It is considered a breakthrough in biotechnology ever since its discovery.  Researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), led by Spanish researcher Guillermo Montoya, now went one step further. They discovered how Cpf1, a new type of molecular scissors, unzip and cleave DNA. Read more

The largest genome-wide study of baldness identified over 250 novel genetic variants involved in its onset. Male pattern baldness is a major source of anxiety and depression among men and has been linked to serious cardiovascular diseases and prostate cancer. Read more

The Francis Crick Institute of London was granted permission for genome editing in human embryos in order to study the complex processes involved in early miscarriage. This is the first time a research team has ever been exempt from the ban on human testing and represents an important step forward for science. Read more

Researchers from Harvard University announced their plan to bring the woolly mammoth back to life using CRISPR/Cas9 within two years’ time. This would not only allow us to learn more about the prehistoric behemoth, but would also represent a first step towards preservation of endangered species.

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An international collaboration of scientists successfully produced a stable artificial strain of bacteria with an extended “genetic alphabet”. The microbe encompasses two additional “X” and “Y” nucleotides, which enable it to store increased information within its genome, laying foundations for new forms of life. Read more

A unique viral strain deemed Pandoravirus was discovered that spans a staggering 1 µm in diameter, beating the previous record holder by two-fold. The viral giant also possesses the largest viral genome ever discovered, most of which cannot be traced back to any of the existing domains of life. Read more

A thrilling report has surfaced about the first baby being born as a result of a controversial fertilization technique, the spindle nuclear transfer. The procedure incorporates DNA from three “biological parents” to serve as the embryo’s genomic base, and is used to prevent mitochondrial diseases in infants. Read more

There are people living among us, with capabilities we could easily call superpowers, and in most cases, they are not even aware of it. It turns out a tiny percentage of women actually develop a genetic condition called “tetrachromacy“, enabling them to see the world in hundred times more colors than the rest of us. Read more

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act? What exactly is that? To make the story short, this makes the use of people’s genetic information in the workplace and health insurance decisions illegal. It is an important aspect in the age of emerging personalised genetic tests and analyses.

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Humans have many phenotypic variations in eye color which is determined by multiple genes. So far, up to 16 genes have been associated with eye color inheritance. However, scientists from the Institute of Forensic Genetics at the University of Copenhagen discovered that the reason for blue eyes mainly lies in two genes: OCA2 and HERC2. This way they have shown that the earlier belief that blue eye color is a simple recessive trait is incorrect.

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