Genes & cells.
Bright cats Kittens are engineered with a gene for an antiviral protein that scientists hope will help combat feline immunodeficiency virus (SN: 10/22/11, p. 9). The cats also get a gene that makes them glow (above).
Beneficial liaisons Humans may have acquired important immune system genes via liaisons with extinct hominid cousins, the Neandertals and Denisovans (SN: 10/8/11, p. 13).
Healthy aging After mining the DNA of a woman who lived to age 115, researchers conclude that she did not lack genetic variants predisposing her to heart disease and other aging-related illnesses (SN: 11/5/11 p. 9).
Genetic loophole The occasional switch of a chemical unit in RNA to a slightly different form can cause a cell's protein-building machinery to roll right through a molecular stop sign, a find that violates the central dogma of genetics (SN: 7/16/11, p. 8).
More than squirm A new system, named COLBERT for "Controlling Locomotion and Behavior in Real Time," allows researchers to commandeer tiny worms and pick apart behavior cell by cell (SN: 2/12/11, p. 14).
Missing DNA, bigger brains Humans may have developed bigger brains, spineless penises and other traits after losing 510 chunks of DNA, a study suggests (SN: 4/9/11 p. 15).
Gene fix A new gene therapy allows direct fixing of DNA. With molecular editors called zinc finger nucleases, scientists correct a mutation in mice that leads to hemophilia (SN: 7/30/11 p. 9).
Superbug from drugs Antibiotics and vaccines helped shape the evolution of a nasty strain of pneumonia-causing bacteria, scientists find (SN: 2/26/11, p. 16).
Lager mystery Scientists identify a missing ancestor of yeast used in cold-brewed beer (SN: 9/24/11, p. 16).
Stem cell steps The body's immune system may attack lab-made stem cells, a study in mice finds, a possible hurdle to using such cells to replace damaged tissue (SN: 6/4/11, p. 13). Another study uses human eggs to reprogram adult cells to a primitive embryonic-like state, but they have extra chromosome sets (SN: 11/5/11, p. 8).
Burn that fat Mice lacking a protein that responds to the hunger-promoting hormone ghrelin burn more energy in their brown fat than other mice, hinting at a way to fight obesity (SN: 1/15/11 p. 9).
To the heart With a little help from cellular reprogramming factors, skin cells are converted into beating heart cells (SN: 2/26/11 p. 16). With some prodding, stem cells lining the outside of the heart can also form new heart cells (red, below) (SN: 7/16/11, p. 9).
Pylori trouble A bacterial bad guy responsible for causing ulcers and stomach cancer, ttelicobacter pylori, may help trigger Parkinson's disease (SN: 6/18/11 p. 18).
Brain healing Blocking newborn nerve cell formation in mice prevents the animals from learning and remembering in a maze after brain injury, suggesting the newborn cells may help the brain heal (SN: 4/23/11, p. 10).
Gland growth Japanese researchers grow for the first time a mouse pituitary gland from embryonic stem ceils in a lab dish, a first step toward replacement glands for people (SN: 12f131/lL p. 15).
Electric eye Cells in a tadpole's gut manipulated to take on specific electrical properties develop into an eye, a major advance toward regenerating complex organs and limbs (SN: 12/31/11, p. 5).
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|Title Annotation:||2011 SCIENCE NEWS OF THE YEAR; cat and human genes|
|Date:||Dec 31, 2011|
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