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Genes & cells.

10 to 1 | Ratio of bacterial cells in your body to your own cells

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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).

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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
Publication:Science News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 31, 2011
Words:587
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