Newly identified genetic errors may prevent heart attacks

A new study that included genetic data from more than 190,000 people has identified two genes that, when altered in specific ways, either promote or undermine cardiovascular health. The findings may help guide efforts to design new preventive drugs, similar to the way statins now are prescribed to lower “bad” cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Bees in a honeycomb

The secret life of bee genes

Genes inherited from mothers (matrigenes) and fathers (patrigenes) usually work harmoniously in the offspring. However, kin selection theory predicts these genes may be in conflict in interactions among relatives in which they are unequally represented (half-siblings). In honey bees, patrigenes are predicted to favor daughters that lay eggs themselves rather than remaining sterile and rearing their half-sisters’ offspring. An experimental test bears out this prediction.

Marathon winner Andrea Karl says running makes her a better scientist​​

Washington University in St. Louis graduate student Andrea Karl found herself thrust into the national spotlight this month at the St. Louis GO! Marathon when an imposter at the finish line denied Karl her first-place accolades. She got to recreate the finish at Busch Stadium. Karl is working towards a PhD in molecular genetics and genomics in the Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) at the School of Medicine. DBBS is in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Epigenome orchestrates embryonic development

Studying zebrafish embryos, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that the epigenome plays a significant part in guiding development in the first 24 hours after fertilization. The research may deepen understanding of congenital defects and miscarriage.

Mothers can pass traits to offspring through bacteria’s DNA

The DNA of bacteria that live in the body can pass a trait to offspring in a way similar to the parents’ own DNA, a new mouse study suggests. According to the authors, the discovery means scientists need to consider a significant new factor – microbial DNA– in their efforts to understand how genes influence illness and health.

Genetic errors linked to more ALS cases than scientists had thought

Genetic mutations may cause more cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) than scientists previously had realized, according to researchers. Shown are study authors Janet Cady, a PhD candidate, and Matthew Harms, MD, assistant professor of neurology at the School of Medicine.

Vaccines may make war on cancer personal

In the near future, physicians may treat some cancer patients with personalized vaccines that spur their immune systems to attack malignant tumors. New research led by scientists at the School of Medicine including senior author Robert Schreiber, PhD, has brought the approach one step closer to reality.
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