Research into nicotine addiction includes the use of molecular biology analysis and animal models. Genetically engineered mice that lack certain genes involved in nicotine physiology have greatly aided this area of research.
The Cancer Genome Atlas Project is a grand undertaking designed to not only understand cancer, but develop methods to effectively treat it. Funded by the NIH and NHGRI, the Cancer Genome Atlas Project is a massive collaboration of scientists from across the country.
Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancers. It arises not from nerve cells, but the supporting glial cells. Little is known about the causes, but a number of risk factors have been identified and they include exposure to radiation and genetics.
A cannibalistic ritual could hold the key to tackling brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and the human form of mad cow disease, as well as providing scientists with a fantastic example of natural selection at work.
Kuru is a progressive and fatal neurological disorder which reached epidemic proportions amongst the Fore People of Papua New Guinea in the 1950s. It is a prion disease that was caused by eating the brains of recently deceased people.
Plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome is a condition in which the back or one side of a baby’s head is flattened. Trying to find its cause has occupied the minds of many scientists for years and according to one large study in 2009 the environment is more important than genes.
A web is an efficient means for a spider to catch its prey. The arachnid does not have to search too far for a meal as readymade dinners get trapped in the web’s sticky stands. What helps to keep them there is an aqueous solution that is one of the most strongest biological glues on the planet.
Adrenoleukodystrophy or ALD is a rare sex-linked brain disease that primarily affects boys. It was the subject of the film Lorenzo’s Oil which was about the search for an effective treatment for the condition. One possible adrenoleukodystrophy treatment that’s showing potential is gene therapy.
A murderer with a ‘gene for aggression’ had his sentence cut short by a judge in Italy, even though the link between genes and bad behaviour is not well understood, least of all by the courts. It poses a tricky question; should genetics ever absolve criminals of blame for their actions?
Funguses are plant-like organisms that lack chlorophyll and can cause a large number diseases and problems for humans. But what makes people get fungal infections? Some scientists think the answers may lie in our genes.
Cheetahs are endangered animals and found in small numbers in the wild. They show an astonishing lack of genetic diversity, with different animals having almost identical sets of genes. Many researchers feel that this is the reason behind their dwindling numbers.
Theodosius Dobzhansky is known for his work on the population genetics of fruit flies. He studied the evolution of different fruit fly species and demonstrated the role that genetics played in evolution. His work gave rise to the modern evolutionary synthesis.
South Korea’s Hwang Woo-Suk is one of the most famous genetic scientists in the world. However, this fame is now largely due to his fall from grace for faking his stem cell research rather than any of his genuine achievements.
Chytrid is a fungus that has been decimating frog populations around the world and has driven a few species to extinction. Amphibians in captivity can be cured with antifungal chemicals, but there isn’t any help for animals in the wild. So scientists are trying to work out how the fungus operates.
Typhoid fever is an illness caught by consuming food or drink contaminated with the bacteria Salmonella typhi. Finding out exactly which genes the organism needs to survive could speed up the development of new ways to tackle one of the major causes of disease in the developing world.
Science is beginning to discover that high fructose corn syrup may have negative effects on the human protein leptin. Too much HFCS can lead to a condition known as leptin resistance, which prevents the human brain from properly controlling hunger. Leptin resistance is associated with weight gain.