Scientists Decode Entire Genetic Code of Cancer

And cigarette smokers get a free mutation in every pack

In a major step toward understanding cancer, one of the biggest problems bedeviling modern medicine, scientists have now cracked the genetic code for two of the most common cancers. This marks just the beginning of an international effort to catalog all the genes that go wrong among the many types of human cancer, the BBC reports.

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Switching a Gene in Adult Mice Easily Transforms Females Into Males

The technology might allow for mid-life human sex changes with no surgery

Apparently men and women are not that different after all. In fact, the sexes are so similar that women have to fight their entire lives just to remain women -- at least on the genetic level.

A new study finds that turning off just one gene, shared by all mammals, turns ovarian cells into testosterone-producing cells found only in the testes -- and this is in adults.

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Stem Cells Can be Engineered into Genetic Vaccines Against HIV and More

While some viruses attack the lungs, and others the blood, HIV attacks the only system that could put up a fight: the immune system itself. The immune system mounts some defense, but after HIV launches its surprise attack, the body simply can't produce enough killer T blood cells to take out the virus.

Now, thanks to researchers at UCLA, it's payback time for the blood cells. A team of scientists have plucked T-cells out of someone infected with HIV, and used them as a template for creating an army of HIV-fighting immune cells out of stem cells. Essentially a genetic vaccine, this technique could be used to copy T-cells designed to fight any virus, opening up the possibility of universal vaccination via stem cell implantation.

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Thousands of Worms Headed to International Space Station For Muscle Tests

The perils of space flight number in the hundreds, from radiation exposure to the impact of micro-asteroids. But for astronauts who spend an extended amount of time floating weightlessly in the near-endless void of space, muscle atrophy remains the most common health problem. Thankfully, a shipment of RNA-treated worms may help scientists on the International Space Station solve that issue.

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Muscle-Linked Gene Therapy Pumps Up Monkeys

Will gigantic genetically modified legs become the next performance enhancer for athletes?

It's getting much harder to cheat at sports these days. Urine tests have been re-calibrated to look for the cream and the clear, blood tests check for the presence of excessive oxygen, and you spitballers? Yeah, they're on to you, too. But a new breakthrough in gene therapy may allow athletes to skip the steroids in favor of adding muscles from the DNA up.

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British Academy To Look Into Ethics of Human-Animal Genetic Hybrids

But are they locking the barn door after the horse-men have cantered out?

The Island of Dr. Moreau:
When former President Bush mentioned human-animal hybrids during a State of the Union speech in 2006, most of the audience probably sat scratching their heads for a second. However, in the years since then, transplanting human genes into animals, whether to make better milk or study human diseases, has become a bigger and bigger issue.

Now, a year after English scientists implanted human stem cells into bovine egg cells, Britain's Academy of Medical Sciences has launched a study to determine the ethics of creating human/animal hybrids.

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New Genomic Zoo to Collect DNA of 10,000 Vertebrate Species

The massive Genome 10K Project will help biologists watch evolution in action on the genetic level

A new "genomic zoo" has launched, with the goal of sequencing the genomes of 10,000 vertebrate species. The project aims to help researchers understand recent and rapid adaptive changes among the species. It could also allow predictions of how certain species might respond to climate change, pollution, new diseases and competitors.

The Genome 10K Project will scour zoos, museums and universities worldwide for thousands of specimens. An international coalition of more than 68 scientists has outlined their plans in a paper that will appear tomorrow in the Journal of Heredity.

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Italian Court Reduces Murderer's Sentence Due To Presence of Gene Linked To Violence

As Doctor Hibert so eloquently put, "only one in two million people has what we call the "evil gene". Hitler had it, Walt Disney had it, and Freddy Quimby has it." And while we understand that line as a joke, it seems that an Italian court has taken the idea far more seriously.

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Lawsuit Banning Human Gene Patents Continues, Court Rules

The ACLU is one step closer to getting patents on human genes banned after a federal court today ruled that its lawsuit can continue. The defendants (The US Patent and Trademark Office and the owners of the BRCA breast cancer gene patent) had asked the court to dismiss the case.

About 20 percent of the human genome is currently patented, including genes associated with many diseases such as breast cancer and Alzheimer's. The patents mean that outside researchers need permission to study the genes and that tests can be astronomically expensive. (The test for BRCA is about $3,000.)

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California Launching Massive Genetic Health Database

Researchers can access a treasure trove of genetic analyses from 100,000 elderly Californians

A new genetic database for 100,000 elderly Californians is slated to come online within two years, and marks the first time that genetic data becomes available for such a large and diverse group.

Health-care provider Kaiser Permanente will hand over patient data that includes electronic health records, lifestyle surveys, and info on air and water quality in patients' neighborhoods. The effort draws on $25 million from the National Institutes of Health, and also involves researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

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For the First Time, Geneticists Diagnose Disease Through Whole-Genome Analysis

For the first time, researchers have made a clinical diagnosis by sequencing the entire protein-coding parts of a person's genome.

"We have shown that one can use whole genome sequencing to make clinically meaningful diagnoses- it is technically feasible . . . and can provide new clinical insight that directs treatment," Richard Lifton, a geneticist at Yale who spearheaded the research, told

Protein-coding DNA only makes up about one percent of the human genome, but is responsible for about a large portion of diseases with a genetic component.

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How Your Body Packs Two Meters of DNA Into a Six-Micron Cell Nucleus

I can't seem to manage to keep my iPod in my bag for a day without creating an awful tangle of headphones, but my body's cells can work with two meters of stringy DNA into a tiny nucleus without making a knot. The secret is a structure called a fractal globule, according to a research paper to be published tomorrow in the journal Science.

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IBM Creates DNA-Sequencing Microchips In Race To The $1000 Genome

Like many other aspects of health care, the implementation of personal genetic medicine has run aground against the costs of producing an entire genome. Even now, a decade after the completion of the Human Genome Project, commercial whole genome sequencing can cost as much as $100,000. And at that price, the sequencing just isn't worth the benefits.

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New Aboriginal origin theory

Scientists find genetic link between Aborigines and modern Indians

Genetic research indicates that Australian Aborigines initially arrived via south Asia. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology have found telltale mutations in modern-day Indian populations that are exclusively shared by Aborigines.

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Tomatoes 2.0

Scientists have found the secret to better-tasting, longer-lasting tomatoes

University of Newcastle researchers have achieved a major scientific breakthrough in the quest to protect crop longevity, yield and quality.

Scientists at the University-based Australia-China Research Centre for Crop Improvement have identified a gene in tomatoes that can be 'knocked-out' to create sweeter fruit and longer-lasting leaves.

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