Tag Archives | DNA

Astronauts On Mars Would Risk DNA Damage

DeMonchaux30Sad news for hopes of future visits to the red planet — anyone who journeys to Mars could come back with their DNA adversely altered, Russian scientists warn. Mars Daily explains:

Future astronauts working on the Red Planet’s surface risk general changes in health at the DNA level because of increased radiation exposure, a prominent Russian academic said on Monday.

“According to our estimates, researchers on the surface of Mars can expect a number of adverse factors, such as cardiac arrhythmia, sensory impairments, changes at the DNA level, and demineralization of bone tissue,” Anatoly Grigoryev, the deputy head of Russia’s Academy of Sciences, told at a presentation at the International Symposium on the results of ground-based experiment Mars-500.

The unique Moscow-based Mars-500 experiment was completed on November 4. It attempted to recreate at least some of the conditions of a flight to the Red Planet by locking six men away in a mock spacecraft.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ancient Virus DNA Thrives Inside Us

BdnaYou may still have that dinosaur virus your ancestors caught millions of years ago. David Shukman explains for BBC News:

Traces of ancient viruses which infected our ancestors millions of years ago are more widespread in us than previously thought.

A study shows how extensively viruses from as far back as the dinosaur era still thrive in our genetic material.

It sheds light on the origins of a big proportion of our genetic material, much of which is still not understood.

The scientists investigated the genomes of 38 mammals including humans, mice, rats, elephants and dolphins.

The research was carried out at Oxford University, the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Centre in New York and the Rega Institute in Belgium.

It is reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

One of the viruses was found to have invaded the genome of a common ancestor around 100 million years ago with its remnants discovered in almost every mammal in the study.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

There Are Way More Blood Types Than You Think

Blood TypesDan Nosowitz reports on PopSci:

Researchers at the University of Vermont have discovered two new proteins on red blood cells that confirm the testable existence of two new blood types. It’s an important discovery, one that’ll greatly reduce the risk of incompatible blood transfusions among tens of thousands of people. But what we were more struck by in this press release was the fact that these two new blood types — named Junior and Langereis — bring the total number of recognized blood types up to 32. 32!

Turns out there’s much more than just A, B, AB, and O: there are now 28 other, rarer types, often named after the person in whom they were discovered. These rarer types are identified by the presence of a particular group of antigens (substances that tell your immune system to send out antibodies), and many, like the Kell and MNS blood types, can actually be concurrent with more common blood types like A or O …

Read More: PopSci

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Cave Art More Realist Than Abstract

Image of a horse from the Lascaux caves.

Image of a horse from the Lascaux caves.

If you thought that those ancient cave paintings at Lascaux and elsewhere were pretty abstract, think again. AP via Fox News reports that DNA studies suggest the cave painters were actually painting what they saw:

Cave painters during the Ice Age were more like da Vinci than Dali, sketching realistic depictions of horses they saw rather than dreaming them up, a study of ancient DNA finds.

It’s not just a matter of aesthetics: Paintings based on real life can give first-hand glimpses into the environment of tens of thousands of years ago. But scientists have wondered how much imagination went into animal drawings etched in caves around Europe.

The latest analysis published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences focused on horses since they appeared most frequently on rock walls. The famed Lascaux Cave in the Dordogne region of southwest France and the Chauvet Cave in southeast France feature numerous scenes of brown and black horses.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Scientists Seek To Turn Chickens Into Mini-Dinosaurs


Didn’t we learn anything from Jurassic Park? Scientists have created embryo’s with ‘alligator-like snouts’ and are hoping to be able to further ‘undo’ evolution with future trials. The New Zealand Herald reports:

Harvard scientists are hoping to turn chickens into mini-dinosaurs, according to the Daily Mail.

Scientists at the Ivy League university have ‘rewound’ evolution with chicken DNA to create embryos with alligator-like snouts instead of beaks.

By altering the DNA of chicken embryos in the early stage of their development, the team were able to ‘undo’ evolutionary progress and give the creatures snouts which are thought to have been lost in the cretaceous period millions of years ago.

Evolutionary biologist Arkhat Abzhanov developed the chickens with snouts by cutting a square hole in the shell of a chicken egg and dropping in a small gelatinous protein bead, before watching the embryo develop – stifling the development of certain molecules and preventing the birds from growing certain features.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

NASA: Building Blocks Of DNA Come From Space

delightfulsWill Mormonism’s creation theory of the seed of humanity arriving on Earth from a distant planet turn out to be proved totally true? Geekosystem writes:

NASA researchers studying meteorites have found that they contain several of the components needed to make DNA on Earth. The discovery provides support for the idea that the building blocks for DNA were likely created in space, and carried to Earth on objects, like meteorites, that crashed into the planet’s surface. According to the theory, the ready-made DNA parts could have then assembled under Earth’s early conditions to create the first DNA.

The researchers, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, found adenine and guanine — two of the nucleobases needed to make DNA (the other two are thymine and cytosine, which were not found) — on meteorite samples. Additionally, the samples showed the presence of three molecules that are similar to nucleobases, but do not have a biological role on Earth: Purine, 2.6-diaminopurine, and 6.8-diaminopurine.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Test Tube DNA Brain Gets Quiz Questions Right

Neuron-SEM-2A step closer to artificial intelligence? Discovery News reports:

A team of researchers lead by Lulu Qian from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have for the first developed an artificial neural network — that is, the beginnings of a brain — out of DNA molecules. And when quizzed, the brain answered the questions correctly.

They turned to molecules because they knew that before the neural-based brain evolved, single-celled organisms showed limited forms of intelligence. These microorganisms did not have brains, but instead had molecules that interacted with each other and spurred the creatures to search for food and avoid toxins. The bottom line is that molecules can act like circuits, processing and transmitting information and computing data.

The Caltech used DNA molecules specifically for the experiment, because these molecules interact in specific ways determined by the sequence of their four bases: adenine (abbreviated A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T).

Read the rest
Continue Reading

CIA Held Fake Vaccination Drive To Get Osama’s Children’s DNA

Osama-bin-Ladens-compound-007A-ha! For years I’ve been telling everyone that so-called “vaccinations” are a government scam to harvest our DNA (and render us autistic to boot). The Guardian reports on a beyond-bizarre CIA plot:

The CIA organised a fake vaccination program in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate attempt to obtain DNA from the fugitive al-Qaida leader’s family. A senior Pakistani doctor was recruited to organize the vaccine drive in Abbottabad, even starting the “project” in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic.

DNA from any of the Bin Laden children in the compound could be compared with a sample from his sister, who died in Boston in 2010, to provide evidence that the family was present. It is not known exactly how the doctor hoped to get DNA from the vaccinations, although nurses could have been trained to withdraw some blood in the needle after administrating the drug.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

American Parents Submit Kids To DNA Testing

A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism is a change of a nucleotide at a single base-pair location on DNA. Author: David Hall (CC)

A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism is a change of a nucleotide at a single base-pair location on DNA. Author: David Hall (CC)

Call me old-fashioned, but voluntarily submitting your children’s DNA for inclusion in a database seems foolhardy to me. Just how secure is that database? Is Gattica really so far in the future once this becomes the norm? From BBC News:

Parents believe the benefits of testing their children for the genetic risk of some diseases outweigh the negative consequences, according to US scientists.

In the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, parents who were offered a genetic test supported their children also being tested.

The authors say doctors and politicians need to be more aware of the issue. Genewatch UK said children should never be tested for adult conditions.

Genetic testing used to be confined to specialist clinics, but direct-to-consumer testing is now possible. People send a sample to a company in the post and are told if they have any genes which carry an increased risk of illness.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Next Gen Biological Computers Use Gold And DNA

DNAGold, DNA, Future Tech. Let the apocalypse/conspiracy theories fly. io9 reports via a Nature Materials article:

Researchers have fabricated a lattice out of gold and virus fragments. It could make your computer much faster. And turn it into a biological machine.

Optical computing technology, a growing field in the tech sector, involves computers that send data using beams of light. In order to expand the capabilities of optical computing, engineers are required to find materials that manipulate light very precisely. Photonic crystals are one such helpful material. A photonic crystal can block very precise wavelengths of light, making it a great optical tool. But creating such a crystal is a challenge. Now scientists have tested a new method for making them, and they have done using the coolest materials possible: Gold and virus parts.

Tiny gold nanospheres and pieces of virus were hooked together using strands of DNA. The DNA pieces were created specifically for the experiment.

Read the rest
Continue Reading