Posts Tagged ‘dna’


In ALL ARTICLES, genetic, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on March 5, 2017 at 1:40 pm
“The folding mechanism of DNA is believed to play a large role in how genes are read by the rest of the cell…The results confirm that this second layer of information exists. This led them to conclude that genetic mutations are not just caused by a change in the sequence of codes but also by a change in the way the strands are folded


EVERY time I have a conversation with someone who is 100% sure, I laugh inside and remember that everything we know for sure will be disproved within our lifetimes.

Medical science was 100% sure:
the heart doesn’t regenerate…wrong
the brain and central nervous system doesn’t regenerate…wrong
all of the ligaments have been found…wrong
butter is healthier, margarine is healthier, butter, margarine…wrong
stem cells don’t work…wrong
cholesterol is bad…wrong
our DNA doesn’t change and is absolute…wrong
and now…
Physicists Confirm There’s a Second Layer of Information Hidden in Our DNA
IN BRIEF: Theoretical physicists have confirmed that it’s not just the information coded in our DNA that shapes who we are—it’s also the way DNA folds itself that controls which genes are expressed inside our bodies.
 This changes everything.

We all learned in high school how Watson and Crick pieced together the findings of many scientists to come up with a model of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Information in DNA is stored as code sequences made up of nitrogenous bases. Each cell has the same sequence of codes but executes a different function. Code sequences determine the type of protein to be produced in a certain cell, but it is hypothesized that the mechanical properties of the DNA acts as a second layer of information.

Each cell in our body contains around 2 meters of DNA. But since our cells are so tiny, DNA strands have to be tightly wrapped into bundles called nucleosomes in order to fit.

Learn more about DNA and nucleosomes in the video below:

The folding mechanism of DNA is believed to play a large role in how genes are read by the rest of the cell. Biologists have started to isolate mechanical cues that determine how DNA is folded. Now, theoretical physicists from Leiden University in the Netherlands confirmed through computer simulations that these cues are actually coded into our DNA.

Physicist Helmut Schiessel and his group simulated the folding of DNA strands with randomly assigned cues. The team used genomes of baker’s yeast and fission yeast to find correlations between the mechanics and the actual folding structure of DNA in the two organisms.

The results confirm that this second layer of information exists. This led them to conclude that genetic mutations are not just caused by a change in the sequence of codes but also by a change in the way the strands are folded. This simulation may be helpful in hiding unwanted sequences like those that cause diseases.


In ALL ARTICLES, DISEASE INFO, HEALTH AND WELLNESS on November 26, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Science has poo-pooed the effect of environmental toxins for years citing that the miniscule concentrations of toxins couldn’t possibly cause harm to the human body. Everything from GMOs to toxins in vaccines were ignored based on this premise. New science reveals though that the environment can not only effect the human body but it can change DNA and contribute to diseases. Now that there’s proof, it’s time to get the crap out of our lives. -David Granovsky toxin-problem HOW ENVIRONMENT CONTRIBUTES TO SEVERAL HUMAN DISEASES National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Using a new imaging technique, researchers have found that the biological machinery that builds DNA can insert molecules into the DNA strand that are damaged as a result of environmental exposures. These damaged molecules trigger cell death that produces some human diseases, according to the researchers. The work provides a possible explanation for how one type of DNA damage may lead to cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular and lung disease, and Alzheimer’s disease… Samuel Wilson, M.D., senior NIEHS researcher on the team, explained that the damage is caused by oxidative stress, or the generation of free oxygen molecules, in response to environmental factors, such as ultraviolet exposure, diet, and chemical compounds in paints, plastics, and other consumer products… “When one of these oxidized nucleotides is placed into the DNA strand, it can’t pair with the opposing nucleotide as usual, which leaves a gap in the DNA,” Wilson said. “Until this paper, no one had actually seen how the polymerase did it or understood the downstream implications.” http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsroom/releases/2014/november25/index.cfm http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141125101703.htm




I Wish I Was Part Salamander

Author: Sarah Hoffman

“The secret of how salamanders successfully regrow body parts is being unravelled by UCL researchers in a bid to apply it to humans.

For the first time, researchers have found that the ‘ERK pathway’ must be constantly active for salamander cells to be reprogrammed, and hence able to contribute to the regeneration of different body parts.” –Limb Regeneration: Do Salamanders Hold the Key?‘ ucl.ac.uk

Mystery no more! Scientists now know why us humans are unable to regrow limbs when we lose one, unlike salamanders who are able to regenerate cells and limbs very successfully. The reason has been linked to something called the ERK Pathway, which is basically like one of those tubes you use to pass documents between yourself and the teller at the bank drive-through– except this biological “tube”  is made up of proteins which pass information from the surface of the cell to the DNA at the nucleus. The difference between our ERK Pathway and the salamanders’ is that ours has bank hours, while the salamander has 24/7 fast-food-chain hours. Our pathway is open for a limited time, while the ERK Pathway of a salamander is capable of working all day every day which results in constant cell growth and ultimate limb regeneration. Pretty cool, right?! What’s even cooler is that researchers are trying to figure out if we can force this in humans and other mammals. And so far so good! While we are unable at this point to regrow our limbs like a salamander, these researchers have found out that when our ERK Pathway is forced open our bodies are capable of continuing to grow these cells with the intention of regeneration. But here’s where it takes a turn– our cells become dedifferentiated, meaning that these cells lack the blueprint to turn into a limb, but could potentially be programmed and manipulated into one. In other words, we can get the process going but the process requires further manipulation in order to complete it.

Imagine not having to worry about shutting your fingers in the car door, or accidentally putting your hand in the garbage disposal… pretty neat!

Tens to hundreds of thousands of patients have already been treated with stem cells and the treatments have a high ratio of success but stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine is a relatively new science.  We know a great deal more about WHAT stem cells can fix than we know HOW they fix things on the molecular level…but we are learning very quickly and the therapeutic and healing potential is incredible! 





In ALL ARTICLES, OFF THE BEATEN PATH on April 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm
Why New Atoms Aren’t a Fountain of Youth

by Shannon Fowler

July 14, 2007 2:58 PM
Photo of Atomic Model

Even though our atoms are replaced each year, the cells that carry the atoms eventually become damaged and stop working as efficiently.

Three Lions/Getty Images

If our atoms are being replaced every day, why do we age?

In a study published in the Annual Report for Smithsonian Institution in 1953, scientists found that 98 percent of our atoms are replaced each year. Atoms make up molecules, which make up cells, which make up tissues, which make up organs.

So with all these new atoms in our bodies every year, why do we get old?

Lawrence Brody, Ph.D., a physicist at the National Human Genome Research Institute, says the problem isn’t that the atoms are getting old, but that the structure is.

“Imagine building a sand castle. Four walls, some nice turrets, central spire, a moat—you gotta have a moat,” Dr. Brody says. “Now start replacing 100 percent of the sand with nice new sand.”

Think about what would happen to the structures of the walls and the turrets. How well would the moat continue to function after all that sand was replaced?

Carbon Copy

Every day, our bodies take in new atoms from the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the liquids we drink. These atoms are incorporated into our cells and fuel the chemical processes that keep us alive.

But our cells are constantly being regenerated. The DNA in each cell copies itself over and over again. Eventually, mistakes creep in and cells develop faults which get copied and passed on.

Suppose a chain mail goes out by fax — it goes to a friend, who faxes it to a friend, and so on. Over time, spots and wrinkles on the paper appear, and these turn up in subsequent copies.

Environmental Damage

Some cells, like red blood cells, white cells or skin cells, have short life spans of weeks to months. Because they replace themselves so often, there is a higher chance a copying mistake will arise.

Cells in our brains, heart, and bones last longer. Although these cells are less vulnerable to copying mistakes, they are more susceptible to damage caused by environmental factors such as radiation or toxins. Either way, cells stop working as well and we grow old.

Oxygen Damage

We need oxygen to survive. But during the normal chemical processes that take place in our bodies, oxygen can produce free radicals. These are highly unstable molecules that can set off chemical reactions that interfere with DNA and damage cells.

Free radicals are thought to play a key role in aging. So what can we do about oxygen?

“Avoid it, and you’d stay young forever,” Dr. Brody advises.



In ALL ARTICLES, OFF THE BEATEN PATH on April 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm
Atomic Tune-Up: How the Body Rejuvenates Itself


July 14, 2007 6:49 PM
Image of Star Trek actor DeForest Kelley

On Star Trek, Dr. Leonard McCoy, played by actor DeForest Kelley, never wanted to be beamed anywhere because he worried it would scatter his atoms across the universe.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

For most people, a makeover means losing weight and getting new clothes, hair and makeup.

But what they may not know is that the body does its own extreme makeover regularly. In fact, 98 percent of the atoms in the body are replaced yearly.

Researchers in the 1950s made the discovery by feeding their subjects radioactive atoms. Using radiation detectors, the researchers watched the atoms move all over the body. They found that the new atoms replaced old ones and ended up in all tissues of the human body.

But these atomic makeovers prompt a more philosophical question: Are people really themselves if their atoms are always new, or are they new people each year? David Kestenbaum tackled that philosophical question — and discussed atomic makeovers — with the experts.


Embryonic Pluripotency May Give Up Secrets – But So What?

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on July 20, 2012 at 4:07 am

More forward looking statements (without any of the standard legalese on risks, assumptions and uncertainty) regarding the great mystery of embryonic stem cells maybe, sort of, perhaps, soon to give up it’s secrets.

So what’s the deal? 

“Pluripotency is defined as the capacity of individual cells to initiate all lineages of the mature organism in response to signals from the embryo or cell culture environment.”1

Embryonic stem cells have pluripotency.  Discovery of the methods and aspects which allow for pluripotency in embryonic stem cells are definitely a research milestone and one which will advance many lines of inquiry in various fields of medicine…but…there are a few major issues, particularly in the USA.

  • There are already ADULT stem cells which ARE PLURIPOTENT and can be used for treatment. 
  • The US is in a bitter tug of war in both accurate media coverage of stem cells and research and use of adult versus embryonic stem cells. 
  • Pharma is trying to make drugs out of this stuff and get patents on it.
  • In most cases, your own body can supply the necessary stem cells for your own treatment. 
  • And of course, the controversy issues of utilizing embryonic stem cells which will cause the religious right to exert huge resistance on any advancement of embryonic stem cell research in the US.

While the US is still playing a game of catch up in adult and embryonic research and especially treatment; please remember, embryonic stem cell research was fully funded with government backing in many countries around the world for over a decade resulting in…


So don’t get your hopes up for embryonic treatment anytime soon, but then again,


ADULT stem cells are here, now, powerful, safe and effective.  What are you waiting for?

Mechanisms That Allow Embryonic Stem Cells to Become Any Cell in the Human Body Identified

ScienceDaily (July 18, 2012) — New research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem sheds light on pluripotency — the ability of embryonic stem cells to renew themselves indefinitely and to differentiate into all types of mature cells. Solving this problem, which is a major challenge in modern biology, could expedite the use of embryonic stem cells in cell therapy and regenerative medicine.

If scientists can replicate the mechanisms that make pluripotency possible, they could create cells in the laboratory which could be implanted in humans to cure diseases characterized by cell death, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and other degenerative diseases.

To shed light on these processes, researchers in the lab of Dr. Eran Meshorer, in the Department of Genetics at the Hebrew University’s Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, are combining molecular, microscopic and genomic approaches. Meshorer’s team is focusing on epigenetic pathways — which cause biological changes without a corresponding change in the DNA sequence — that are specific to embryonic stem cells.

The molecular basis for epigenetic mechanisms is chromatin, which is comprised of a cell’s DNA and structural and regulatory proteins. In groundbreaking research performed by Shai Melcer, a PhD student in the Meshorer lab, the mechanisms which support an “open” chromatin conformation in embryonic stem cells were examined. The researchers found that chromatin is less condensed in embryonic stem cells, allowing them the flexibility or “functional plasticity” to turn into any kind of cell.

A distinct pattern of chemical modifications of chromatin structural proteins (referred to as the acetylation and methylation of histones) enables a looser chromatin configuration in embryonic stem cells. During the early stages of differentiation, this pattern changes to facilitate chromatin compaction.

But even more interestingly, the authors found that a nuclear lamina protein, lamin A, is also a part of the secret. In all differentiated cell types, lamin A binds compacted domains of chromatin and anchors them to the cell’s nuclear envelope. Lamin A is absent from embryonic stem cells and this may enable the freer, more dynamic chromatin state in the cell nucleus. The authors believe that chromatin plasticity is tantamount to functional plasticity since chromatin is made up of DNA that includes all genes and codes for all proteins in any living cell. Understanding the mechanisms that regulate chromatin function will enable intelligent manipulations of embryonic stem cells in the future.

“If we can apply this new understanding about the mechanisms that give embryonic stem cells their plasticity, then we can increase or decrease the dynamics of the proteins that bind DNA and thereby increase or decrease the cells’ differentiation potential,” concludes Dr. Meshorer. “This could expedite the use of embryonic stem cells in cell therapy and regenerative medicine, by enabling the creation of cells in the laboratory which could be implanted in humans to cure diseases characterized by cell death, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and other degenerative diseases.”


In ALL ARTICLES on March 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Recent research has shown once again that only adult stem cells are capable of treating humans.  Embryonic stem cells generate cysts and tumors and Induced Pluripotent stem cells develop genetic abnormalities when they are used.  (Induced Pluripotent stem cells are those stem cells created by scientist who take simple adult skin cells and then regress them to an embryonic like state – see article below) – dg


Genetic Abnormalities Discovered After Creation of (induced pluripotent) Stem Cells


Discovery sheds new light on the process of stem cell generation, and will help promote safer stem-cell based studies and future clinical trials
Thursday, 10 March 2011

Dr. Andras Nagy’s laboratory at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and Dr. Timo Otonkoski’s laboratory at Biomedicum Stem Cell Center, University of Helsinki, as well as collaborators in Europe and Canada have identified genetic abnormalities associated with reprogramming adult cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The findings give researchers new insights into the reprogramming process, and will help make future applications of stem cell creation and subsequent use safer.

The study was published in Nature.

The team showed that the reprogramming process for generating iPS cells (i.e., cells that can then be ‘coaxed’ to become a variety of cell types for use in regenerative medicine) is associated with inherent DNA damage.

This damage is detected in the form of genetic rearrangements and ‘copy number variations,’ which are alterations of DNA in which a region of the genome is either deleted or amplified on certain chromosomes. The variability may either be inherited, or caused by de novo mutation.

“Our analysis shows that these genetic changes are a result of the reprogramming process itself, which raises the concern that the resultant cell lines are mutant or defective,” said Dr. Nagy, a Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld.

“These mutations could alter the properties of the stem cells, affecting their applications in studying degenerative conditions and screening for drugs to treat diseases. In the longer term, this discovery has important implications in the use of these cells for replacement therapies in regenerative medicine.”

“Our study also highlights the need for rigorous characterization of generated iPS lines, especially since several groups are currently trying to enhance reprogramming efficiency,” said Dr. Samer Hussein, a McEwen post-doctoral scientist who initiated these studies with Dr. Otonkoski, before completing them with Dr. Nagy.

“For example, increasing the efficiency of reprogramming may actually reduce the quality of the cells in the long run, if genomic integrity is not accurately assessed.”

The researchers used a molecular technique called single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis to study stem cell lines, and specifically to compare the number of copy number variations in both early and intermediate-stage human iPS cells with their respective parental, originating cells.

Drs. Nagy and Otonkoski and their teams found that iPS cells had more genetic abnormalities than their originating cells and embryonic stem cells. Interestingly, however, the simple process of growing the freshly generated iPS cells for a few weeks selected against the highly mutant cell lines, and thus most of the genetic abnormalities were eventually ‘weeded out.’

“However, some of the mutations are beneficial for the cells and they may survive during continued growth,” said Dr. Otonkoski, Director and Senior Scientist at the Biomedicum Stem Cell Center.

Stem cells have been widely touted as a source of great hope for use in regenerative medicine, as well as in the development of new drugs to prevent and treat illnesses including Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and macular degeneration. But techniques for generating these uniquely malleable cells have also opened a Pandora’s Box of concerns and ethical quandaries. Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Union consider stem cells to be drugs under federal legislation, and as such, subject to the same regulations.

“Our results suggest that whole genome analysis should be included as part of quality control of iPS cell lines to ensure that these cells are genetically normal after the reprogramming process, and then use them for disease studies and/or clinical applications,” said Dr. Nagy.

“Rapid development of the technologies in genome-wide analyses will make this more feasible in the future,” said Dr. Otonkoski.

“In addition, there is a need to further explore if other methods might mitigate the amount of DNA damage generated during the generation of stem cells,” both investigators agreed.

Taunton Elks Lodge the host of marrow drive to save a 5-year-old girl – Taunton, MA – The Taunton Gazette

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 11, 2011 at 1:11 am

For three hours on Thursday, the main room of the Elks Lodge 150 on High Street was the scene of an effort to help save the life of a 5-year-old girl.

Unless she receives a successful bone marrow transplant, doctors say Katelyn Bailey won’t survive.


Katelyn, who had been living at home in Middletown, R.I. with her parents Michelle and Larry, and her now 9-month-old sister Meghan, has recently undergone chemotherapy at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.

Her parents have taken temporary, partial leaves from their jobs to be by her bedside, and relatives are helping out by taking turns baby-sitting baby Meghan, said Taunton Police Patrolman Ernie Chretien.

Chretien, a first cousin of Meghan’s mom Michelle, organized and arranged the “Be The Match Registry” drive, in conjunction with Rhode Island Blood Center, to be held at the Elks Lodge.

To say Katelyn is facing an uphill battle is putting it lightly, Chretien said.

When she was 9 months old, she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer known as AT/RT, or atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor. She responded to chemo and radiation, and the cancer went into remission, he said.

But she also suffered side effects as a result. Chretien said her speech development was delayed and she relied on a feeding tube; it wasn’t until she was 4, he said, that she began eating solid food.

Chretien said the last time he saw Katelyn was Christmas week when he visited at her home.

“She seemed healthy and cheerful,” he said.

But by early February she was exhibiting flu-like symptoms and was taken to Hasbro, where she was diagnosed with an advanced form of leukemia…

Read more: Taunton Elks Lodge the host of marrow drive to save a 5-year-old girl – Taunton, MA – The Taunton Gazette http://www.tauntongazette.com/archive/x13267752/Taunton-Elks-Lodge-the-host-of-marrow-drive-to-save-a-5-year-old-girl#ixzz1GGSxUGZR

Taunton Elks Lodge the host of marrow drive to save a 5-year-old girl – Taunton, MA – The Taunton Gazette.

Genta Incorporated (OTC:GNTA) Is The Top Traded OTC Stock

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS on August 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm

(OTC:GNTA) Is The Top Traded OTC Stock

Paradigm Medical Industries, Inc. (OTC:PDMI) and IDO Security, Inc. (OTC:IDOI) Ro

Dallas, TX 7/06/2009 02:42 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Penny Stock Pick Alert is a penny stock newsletter that is pleased to alert investors of top stocks on the move.

stemcells_money1Genta Incorporated (OTC:GNTA) is one of the few stocks which is up marginally on huge volume. In an early session, it surged over 20% on massive volume of over 17 million shares. Genta Incorporated (Genta), is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in pharmaceutical (drug) research and development. The Company focuses on the identification, development and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of cancer and related diseases. Genta’s research portfolio consists of two major programs: Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)/Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) Medicines and Small Molecules. The DNA/RNA Medicines program includes drugs that are based on using modifications of either DNA or RNA as drugs that can be used to treat disease. This program includes technologies, such as antisense, decoys and small interfering or micro RNAs. Genta’s drug from this program is an investigational antisense compound known as Genasense (oblimersen sodium injection).

via Genta Incorporated (OTC:GNTA) Is The Top Traded OTC Stock.

Laboratory Equipment – Sixth Nucleotide in DNA Discovered

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on April 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Sixth Nucleotide in DNA Discovered

April 17, 2009

Chemical structure of cytosine, one of the four nucleotide bases that make up DNA. New research shows that two additional nucleotides — 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine — can sometimes replace cytosine in the DNA double helix to regulate which genes are expressed.

The rise of epigenetics in the past decade has drawn attention to a fifth nucleotide, 5-methylcytosine (5-mC), that sometimes replaces cytosine in the famous DNA double helix to regulate which genes are expressed.

And now there’s a sixth: 5-hydroxymethylcytosine.

In experiments published online by Science, researchers reveal an additional character in the mammalian DNA code, opening an entirely new front in epigenetic research.

The work, conducted in the Nathaniel Heintz Laboratory of Molecular Biology at The Rockefeller University, suggests that a new layer of complexity exists between our basic genetic blueprints and the creatures that grow out of them.

“This is another mechanism for regulation of gene expression and nuclear structure that no one has had any insight into,” says Heintz, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “The results are discrete and crystalline and clear; there is no uncertainty. I think this finding will electrify the field of epigenetics.”

via Laboratory Equipment – Sixth Nucleotide in DNA Discovered.

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