Category archives: Genetics

A blinding mutation that might increase intelligence

A blinding mutation that might increase intelligence

GeneticsNeuroscience

By Rosa García-Verdugo

How to breed more intelligent humans? This is a difficult question, one which raises numerous issues, both ethical and scientific. Would you give your eyesight away to become brighter? As crazy as this question may sound, a blinding mutation might increase intelligence. The CORD7 (cone-rod dystrophy 7) mutation of the RIMS1 gene produces progressive blindness […]

Unexpected effects of gene editing: aggressive hamsters

Unexpected effects of gene editing: aggressive hamsters

Genetics

By Rosa García-Verdugo

In the last years, CRISPR-Cas9 technology has revolutionized gene editing, having enormous research and clinical potential. However, gene editing can be tricky and have unexpected effects, like recently reported in the journal PNAS , where tweaking a gene produced aggressive hamsters instead of the calm, Zen animals the researchers were aiming for. Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) and […]

Healing from the skin: the first topical gene therapy is out

Healing from the skin: the first topical gene therapy is out

BiomedicineGenetics

By Rosa García-Verdugo

One of the biggest difficulties of bringing new therapeutic methods into clinical practice is targeted delivery. A recent study shows the potential of using a gel for topical gene therapy. Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is a genetic disease that affects proper skin formation. The affected people have an extremely fragile skin, which often suffers from […]

Cod ‘supergenes’ reveal how they are evolving in response to overfishing

Cod ‘supergenes’ reveal how they are evolving in response to overfishing

BiologyEvolutionGenetics

By Invited Researcher

Cod “supergenes” have shed light on how they respond to overfishing, and these supergenes could make them more resilient to other environmental changes. That’s according to a new study published by scientists in Norway. This could be good news, in that cod have genetic architecture in place that will permit them to respond to climate […]

New gene variants associated with increased COVID-19 risk

New gene variants associated with increased COVID-19 risk

BiomedicineGenetics

By Rosa García-Verdugo

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were hints at particular genes which increased some people’s susceptibility to get infected and the severity of illness once infected. Now, an international study (nearly 3500 researchers from 25 countries) on more than 45000 people infected with SARS-CoV-2, showed a link between 13 genetic variants and the […]

Mutations in the non-coding genome contribute to autism

Mutations in the non-coding genome contribute to autism

GeneticsNeurobiology

By José Ramón Alonso

A significant portion of an organism’s genome is non-coding; that is, it does not carry information to make proteins. Part of the non-coding DNA is transcribed into functional non-coding RNA molecules (e.g., transfer RNA, ribosomal RNA and regulatory RNA). Other functions of non-coding DNA include transcriptional and translational regulation of protein coding sequences, nuclear scaffold […]

Gene editing could help reverse fast ageing in progeria

Gene editing could help reverse fast ageing in progeria

BiomedicineGenetics

By Rosa García-Verdugo

Gene editing could be the solution to progeria, a genetic disease, characterized by extremely fast ageing. Progeria causes fast ageing and premature death in people carrying a single-point mutation in the LMNA gene, which basically leads to the production of a toxic protein which slowly damages the cells, ageing the bodies. This simple misspelling of […]

Mitochondrial gene editing is now possible, thanks to a bacterium

Mitochondrial gene editing is now possible, thanks to a bacterium

Genetics

By Rosa García-Verdugo

Mitochondria are the energy-making machines in the cell. Also, since evolutionarily they are thought to evolve from symbiotic bacteria, they have their own little genomes, which are mainly evolved through the maternal side, and also maybe because of their important function, mutations in genes affecting them are very damaging, and even lethal. However, mitochondrial DNA […]