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Submitted by rmmcdonald on Fri, 11/22/2019 - 10:17

Crotamine likely evolved from beta defensin genes through a combination of gene duplication, regulatory mutation, and coding sequence mutation. Gene duplication must have occurred first because the initial gene, beta defensin, is a gene critical to an organism's function therefore that gene must be conserved. When an ancestor had two copies of the beta defensin gene, one of the copies then had a spontaneous mutation in the regulatory sequence, expressing beta defensin in the fangs at higher concentration. This evolutionary step might have happened before, after, or at the same time as a series of mutations in the coding sequence of the copied beta defensin gene in order to code for a poisonous protein instead.


conclusion and impact of the study

Submitted by ziweiwang on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 23:37

The conclusion of the study is that the method of AAV9-PHPB delivery and CRISPR/Cas9 treatment combination resulted in the most effective disruption of the mutant gene, indicating that this method of the treatment may be the most effective and is likely to be successful in human studies. The study also indicates that the treatment was done successfully in a human cell, with high efficiency using the CRISPR/CAS9 treatment. The researchers also tested the method in mice, which indicates that not only does the treatment works on human cells, but it also works at a larger scale and is unlikely to affect other organ systems.  Specifically, of all of the treatments and delivery, it has been noted by the scientists that the mice that were given treatment through an injection into the eye, had a higher level of damage compared to the untreated eye, but had less damage compared to other methods of delivering the AAV virus. By indicating that a method of treatment that has worked in the human cell and mice. If the treatment has worked in both human cells and mice it is an indication that it is also likely to work in a human patient. Using data that is published in this paper it would be possible to go to human trial, which if it works, will be able to have permanent treatment for the retinitis prigmentosa, which takes away the sight of those that are affected. 


Submitted by damianszyk on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 21:51

(from the paper)

The transcription factor hairy/E(spl)-related 2 induces proliferation of neural progenitors and regulates neurogenesis and gliogenesis

Figure 2A shows that her2 is regulated by the delta-notch pathway. The authors came up with this conclusion by seeing what the figure was showing them. The figure shows her2 was significantly downregulated in mibta52bembryos compared with the wild-type embryos. They were also able to conduct another experiment to further analyze their results. In this experiment, they either treated embryos with DAPT at 6 hpf and harvested at 8 hpf, 8 hpf and harvested at 10 hpf, or at 10 hpf and harvested at 24 hpf. They analyzed the embryos and found the embryos treated with DAPT at 8 hpf and harvested at 10 hpf experienced a downregulation of her2 expression, which was what they found in the mibta52bmutant embryos. With this experiment and results from Figure 2A, the authors were able to determine that her2 is regulated by the delta-notch pathway.

Perfect Paragraph 10

Submitted by dfmiller on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:51

Alcohol-related liver disease can result in alcoholic hepatitis, a diseased and inflamed state of the liver. In mice, the gut microbiome produces toxins that contribute to liver damage in response to ethanol. Duan et al. identified a two-unit exotoxin cytolysin, excreted by Enterococcus faecalis as a cause of injury to the liver1. In patients with alcohol-related liver disease, Duan et al. also found increased numbers of E. faecalis in these patients' microbiomes1. Analyzing this further, Duan et al. used E. faecalis targeting bacteriophages in humanized mice with ethanol-induced liver disease1. They found that through this treatment, ethanol-induced liver disease was abolished in these test subjects, though more comprehensive testing must be performed to determine the true efficacy of this treatment.

(1) Duan, Y., Llorente, C., Lang, S. et al. Bacteriophage targeting of gut bacterium attenuates alcoholic liver disease. Nature (2019) doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1742-x

AQ 11/22 Perfect Paragraph

Submitted by atquang on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 16:59

The overall objective of our proposal is to create a phylogenetic tree to determine the reliability of HOXC genes as an indicator of phylogeny. By aligning the sequence, the genes will become easy to compare and allow for the creation of a phylogenetic tree, as proposed. The sequencing data can also be used to determine how conserved the HOXC gene is. By understanding the evolutionary and genetic differences of HOXC genes between different species, the function of HOXC genes, which are currently unknown, can be better understood. The creation of a phylogenetic tree will allow for the determination of reliability to use HOXC genes as an indicator of phylogeny. If the phylogenetic tree proves to be reliable, this would be a phylogenetic tree of vertebrates that can be used in order to trace the evolutionary history of vertebrates. If new species were to be found, its HOXC gene can be sequenced to determine its phylogeny accurately.

Embryosis PP

Submitted by smomalley on Thu, 11/21/2019 - 16:36

Embryosis is the formation of an embryo. There are two main steps to this process: blastulation, and gastrolation. To begin, the sperm and egg cell must fuse to form a zygote. The fusion of sperm and egg allow the genetic material to merge, all cells are pluripotent at this point. Next there is clevage, compaction, and differentiation forming the blastocyte. The overall size of the blastocyte is not much bigger than the zygote, due to compaction. There are many more cells in the blastocyte because of clevage, with some differentiation between the inner cell mass and surrounding cells. Gastrolation is the formation of three distinct layers in the blastocyte which will differentiate into different tissues in the bdoy. The top layer is the ectoderm, the middle layer is the mesoderm, and the bottom layer is the endoderm. The ectoderm differentiates into the nervous system and the skin. The mesoderm differentiates into the muscles; the endoderm differentiates into the internal organs. This process is virtually the same for all mamals. The outcome is very different because of the genetic information fused, resulting in a wide range of organisms.

more seaweed

Submitted by rbudnick on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 01:39

Carbon sequestering is the process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and oceans and allocating it to long-term storages called reservoirs. Photosynthesis of ocean aquatic plants drives the oceanic biological CO2 pump, where CO2 from the atmosphere enters the ocean from the atmosphere. Greater than one-third of human-produced CO2 ends up in the ocean where it is introduced to the aquatic photosynthetic cycle. Locations with large collections of seaweed and algae act as carbon sinks, particularly in coastal regions where it is ideal for seaweed aquaculture. These coastal vegetation hot-spots represent less than 2% of the ocean surface, yet contribute close to half of the carbon burial in the coastal and global ocean however, more than 25% of the CO2 sink capacity of these ecosystems has been lost and the overall spread of these habitats is decreasing due to climate change and development.  These places are naturally proficient at carbon sequestering, so increase in seaweed farming on coastal regions would only increase the sequestering potential. Seaweeds are the most productive macrophytes, especially in relatively shallow, high light, coastal environments such as aquaculture farms. Their astounding ability to take in CO2 and convert it through photosynthesis results in forms of carbon which are far easier to sequester and break down, unlike the harmful buildup of carbonic acid. 

Heart PP

Submitted by zalam on Mon, 11/18/2019 - 00:08

When an embryo is 2 weeks old, the heart muscles know their fate and they rearrange themselves in a crescent shape. Cells go to specific places and act as progenitors to form different parts like the atria, ventricles. By the third week, a tube forms that starts beating that later becomes the right ventricle. Other cells become the left ventricle. As time goes by the cells become more specific in terms of location. Newborns usually present problem only in a localized area, example, they could be born with all the chambers completely intact, but missing the right ventricle. They must have had a mutation in the cells responsible for the right ventricle that caused such a phenotype. Animal models such as chick, mouse, zebrafish embryos etc have been used to understand this process on a molecular level. However, animal models were difficult to study for very early stages. Thus, induced pluripotent stem cells became handy in order to study such preliminary phases. These cells mimic the cardiomyocytes in vivo. Together with stem cells in a dish and animal models, it was possible to understand the gene networks that chalk out the map for cardiac fate. His team was able to figure out the key components in the gene network: the Notch1, Gata4, Tbx5, Nkx2.5 and Ptnp11 are genes that are responsible for the creation of the chambers. Heterozygous mutations (mutation of a single allele) in these genes can cause the defect. It is not necessary for the mutation to be a loss of function mutation; even when the dosage of the gene was reduced, they observed the same phenotype. So this suggested that by raising the dosage of the genes, it would be possible to reverse the defect. 


Submitted by damianszyk on Sun, 11/17/2019 - 20:34

Scientists have discovered two new species of electric eels and one of them can deliver a shock greater than the highest recorded shock from eels at 650 volts. This new species can deliver a zap at 860 volts. This discovery of a new species of electric eel is the first in over 250 years. These eels are found mostly in the Amazon rainforest. It is in this region where the scientists were able to discover these two new species of eels. To determine if the two eels were the same species, the scientists had to look at the bone structure. Doing so, they were able to determine differences in the bones and were able to accureately confirm that the two eels were different species. 

Domestication PP

Submitted by bpmccarthy on Sun, 11/17/2019 - 19:26

The domestication of animals for human use/companionship was a very long process. Since humans began forming civilizations and societies, many animals chose to stay close to human settlements to feed on food scraps that were left behind or carelessly placed. This recruited unwanted rodents to settlements that would not only eat people's food supplies, but bring disease with them. People started to notice that cats were very good at catching and killing bothersome rodents, and would entice them with food into living with or near them. Most domestication processes begin like this, with the animal in question providing a benefit for humans and in turn being rewarded with food or shelter. 


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