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.
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.
Opting for smaller rewards immediately instead of waiting for bigger payoffs later is associated with problems such as impulsivity and addiction to food, drugs and alcohol. School of Medicine researchers led by Andrey Anokhin, PhD, are reporting that such decision-making tendencies have a genetic link to brain pathways that underlie those disorders.
Genetic variation within the endocannabinoid system may explain why some survivors of childhood adversity go on to become dependent on marijuana, while others are able to use marijuana without problems, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that although a gene variant can prevent some young drinkers from developing alcohol problems, the gene’s protective effects can vanish in the presence of other teens who drink.