Category: DNA

  • Inevitable life. Inevitable death…

    Inevitable life. Inevitable death…

    To help answer one of the great existential questions — how did life begin? — a study combines biological and cosmological models. Professor Tomonori Totani from the Department of Astronomy looked at how life’s building blocks could spontaneously form in the universe — a process known as abiogenesis. As the only life we know of […]

  • Evolution. Dark DNA.

    Evolution. Dark DNA.

    Scientists long assumed that new genes appear when evolution tinkers with old ones. There are studies suggesting that genes do not always evolve from existing ones, as biologists long supposed. Instead, some are fashioned from desolate stretches of the genome that do not code for any functional molecules. For example in the fish genomes, there […]

  • Father. Mother. Cosmos…

    It was long thought that during an embryo’s first cell division, one spindle is responsible for segregating the embryo’s chromosomes into two cells. Scientists now show that there are actually two spindles, one for each set of parental chromosomes, meaning that the genetic information from each parent is kept apart throughout the first division. (1) […]

  • Deadly life…

    A once-maligned genetic parasite may actually be essential for survival. Mouse embryos need that genetic freeloader — a type of jumping gene causing mutations, or transposon, called LINE-1 — to continue developing past the two-cell stage, researchers reported in Cell. Transposons certainly can hop into and break genes, and cells deploy numerous tools to prevent […]

  • Killing humans. By analyzing rocks. [Brake that rock!]

    University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response to a perception. Recording the electrical activity of neurons directly from the surface of the brain, the scientists found that […]