Body

Corvallis, Oregon – October 29, 2008 -- Vitamin E has been heralded for its ability to reduce the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and sudden death. Yet in some people, vitamin E causes bleeding. Scientists have known for more than 50 years that excess vitamin E promotes bleeding by interfering with vitamin K, which is essential in blood clotting. However, they haven't been able to pinpoint how the two vitamins interact.

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — In trying to find out why HER2-positive breast cancer can be more aggressive than other forms of the disease, UC Davis Cancer Center researchers have surprisingly discovered that HER2 itself is the culprit. By shutting down its own regulator gene, HER2 creates a permissive environment for tumor growth.

Building on recent research showing that the regulator — labeled LRIG1 and commonly called "Lig-1" — limits the growth-promoting signals of HER2, the research team set out to clarify the role of Lig-1 in breast cancer.

Researchers have revealed the complete mitochondrial genome of one of the world's most celebrated mummies, known as the Tyrolean Iceman or Ötzi. The sequence represents the oldest complete DNA sequence of modern humans' mitochondria, according to the report published online on October 30th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

Mitochondria are subcellular organelles that generate all of the body's energy and house their own DNA, which is passed down from mother to child each generation. Mitochondrial DNA thus offers a window into our evolutionary past.

A new study uses a sophisticated genetic strategy to reveal new roads past an apparent dead end in the historical record of a distinctive civilization that dominated the Mediterranean Sea during the first millennium BC. The research from National Geographic and IBM's Genographic Project, published by Cell Press in the November 14th issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, describes a methodology that may prove to be useful for discovering previously undetected signals left by migrations for any historically documented expansion.

The 5,300 year old human mummy – dubbed Öetzi or 'the Tyrolean Iceman' – is highly unlikely to have modern day relatives, according to new research published today.

A team comprising scientists from Italy and the UK has sequenced Öetzi's entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome - which is passed down through the maternal line – and found that he belonged to a genetic lineage that is either extremely rare, or that has died out.

DURHAM, N.C.— A fungus called microsporidia that causes chronic diarrhea in AIDS patients, organ transplant recipients and travelers has been identified as a member of the family of fungi that have been discovered to reproduce sexually. A team at Duke University Medical Center has proven that microsporidia are true fungi and that this species most likely undergoes a form of sexual reproduction during infection of humans and other host animals.

The first family-based genome-wide association study in Alzheimer's disease has identified the sites of four novel genes that may significantly influence risk for the most common late-onset form of the devastating neurological disorder. In their report in the November 7 American Journal of Human Genetics, being released online today, a team led by researchers from the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MGH-MIND) describes how newly available technology is improving understanding of genetic mechanisms underlying the disease.

Researchers studying neurofibromatosis type 1 – a rare disease in which tumors grow within nerves – have found that the tumors are triggered by crosstalk between cells in the nerves and cells in the blood. The researchers, who were funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense (DOD), also found that a drug on the market for treating certain kinds of blood cancer curbs tumor growth in a mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1. A clinical trial of the drug is underway in people with the disease.

INDIANAPOLIS — Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine report that the anti-cancer drug Gleevec holds out promise to become the first effective treatment for neurofibromatosis, a genetic disease that has resisted treatments until now.

The research team is conducting clinical tests of the drug following successful laboratory tests and a "compassionate use" of the drug that showed dramatic results in a three-year-old girl at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

WASHINGTON (October 30, 2008)—The Phoenicians gave the world the alphabet and a love of the color purple, and a research study published today by Genographic scientists in the American Journal of Human Genetics (AJHG-D-08-00725R2) shows that they left some people their genes as well. The study finds that as many as one in 17 men in the Mediterranean basin may have a Phoenician as a direct male-line ancestor.

DALLAS – Oct. 30, 2008 – Tumors that grow around nerves in a rare genetic disease need cooperation from cells from the immune system in order to grow, reports a team of scientists, including researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Treating mice with a drug that attacks the immune cells – not the tumor – greatly reduced the size and metabolism of the tumors, the scientists reported. A clinical trial of the treatment in humans has begun.

The deadly Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, which claimed more than 200,000 lives, was not the first of its size to hit the region, according to new research by an international research team led by Dr. Karin Monecke, a former post-doctoral geologist at Kent State University.

NEW YORK (October 30, 2008) – The world's rarest big cat is alive and well. At least one of them, that is, according to researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) who captured and released a female Far Eastern leopard in Russia last week.

October 30, 2008 -- A study initiated by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands suggests that prenatal exposure to famine can lead to epigenetic changes that may affect a person's health into midlife. The findings show a trickle-down effect from pregnant women to the DNA of their unborn children and the timeframe over which such early damage can operate.

University of Adelaide scientists are part of an international research team that has uncovered the first example of a bacterium causing disease in humans by targeting a molecule that is incorporated into our bodies from our diet. The discovery has been published in the prestigious international journal Nature.

Microbiologists Dr Adrienne Paton and Professor James Paton, and their collaborators, have shown that a potent bacterial toxin, Subtilase cytotoxin, specifically targets human cells that express a sugar called Neu5Gc on their surface.