Barbara McClintock (1902 – 1992)

While studying botany at Cornell University in the 1920s, Barbara McClintock got her first taste of genetics and was hooked. As she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees and moved into postdoctoral work, she pioneered the study of genetics of maize (corn) cells. She pursued her research at universities in California, Missouri and Germany before finding a permanent home at Cold Spring Harbor in New York. It was there that, after observing the patterns of coloration of maize kernels over generations of plants, she determined that genes could move within and between chromosomes. The finding didn’t fit in with conventional thinking on genetics, however, and was largely ignored; McClintock began studying the origins of maize in South America. But after improved molecular techniques that became available in the 1970s and early 1980s confirmed her theory and these “jumping genes” were found in microorganisms, insects and even humans, McClintock was awarded a Lasker Prize in 1981 and Nobel Prize in 1983.

Barbara McClintock (1902 – 1992)

While studying botany at Cornell University in the 1920s, Barbara McClintock got her first taste of genetics and was hooked. As she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees and moved into postdoctoral work, she pioneered the study of genetics of maize (corn) cells. She pursued her research at universities in California, Missouri and Germany before finding a permanent home at Cold Spring Harbor in New York. It was there that, after observing the patterns of coloration of maize kernels over generations of plants, she determined that genes could move within and between chromosomes. The finding didn’t fit in with conventional thinking on genetics, however, and was largely ignored; McClintock began studying the origins of maize in South America. But after improved molecular techniques that became available in the 1970s and early 1980s confirmed her theory and these “jumping genes” were found in microorganisms, insects and even humans, McClintock was awarded a Lasker Prize in 1981 and Nobel Prize in 1983.

Genetic Parkinson’s Disease Brain Cells Made in Lab
American scientists have successfully manufactured human neurons which are exact replica of genetically caused Parkinson’s disease.
This means that scientists have now gained the ability to visualize and test to for the reasons these mutations in the parkin gene cause the degenerative disease in about 10%  of patients with Parkinson’s. In addition, these manufactured cells provide an excellent and accurate way for testing new treatments, which had previously been essentially impossible.
In a statement, Dr. Julie Feng, who led the study, said:

This is the first time that human dopamine neurons have ever been generated from Parkinson’s disease patients with parkin mutations. Before this, we didn’t even think about being able to study the disease in human neurons. The brain is so fully integrated. It’s impossible to obtain live human neurons to study.

Genetic Parkinson’s Disease Brain Cells Made in Lab

American scientists have successfully manufactured human neurons which are exact replica of genetically caused Parkinson’s disease.

This means that scientists have now gained the ability to visualize and test to for the reasons these mutations in the parkin gene cause the degenerative disease in about 10%  of patients with Parkinson’s. In addition, these manufactured cells provide an excellent and accurate way for testing new treatments, which had previously been essentially impossible.

In a statement, Dr. Julie Feng, who led the study, said:

This is the first time that human dopamine neurons have ever been generated from Parkinson’s disease patients with parkin mutations. Before this, we didn’t even think about being able to study the disease in human neurons. The brain is so fully integrated. It’s impossible to obtain live human neurons to study.

Dripping Dendrites

While all cells in the body hold the same genome, only a particular set of its genes get turned on in various cells; each type of neuron switches on a gene set that defines its character.
In this picture, a gene called JAM-B had been switched on, which then turned on a fluorescent protein to reveal a small group of brain cells. The resulting image shows that all of the neurons’ projections called dendrites are aligned in the same direction; moreover, these retinal neurons are known to detect only objects moving in an upward direction.

Dripping Dendrites

While all cells in the body hold the same genome, only a particular set of its genes get turned on in various cells; each type of neuron switches on a gene set that defines its character.

In this picture, a gene called JAM-B had been switched on, which then turned on a fluorescent protein to reveal a small group of brain cells. The resulting image shows that all of the neurons’ projections called dendrites are aligned in the same direction; moreover, these retinal neurons are known to detect only objects moving in an upward direction.

DNA Sequencing Quickly Identifies Metabolic Diseases
Everyone has seen at least one episode of a medical mystery series. The doctors, having no real idea what the patient could be suffering from, are forced to treat patients based on hunches. Wouldn’t it just be so much easier if we could look through their DNA to see if there’s some form of weird code leading to an obscure disease, outlining their symptoms perfectly?
That’s actually not very far from the truth now. After the success of the Human Genome Project, many new mysteries have been solved and advancements have been made, the most recent of which being the diagnosis of patients with hard-to-pinpoint metabolic diseases being applied to the hospitals themselves.
This is particularly useful in mitochondrial diseases as these, according to New Scientist,  ”are notoriously difficult to diagnose. …the diseases often involve many genes, and symptoms vary across organs. Currently, diagnosing such disorders can take months or even years, and involves an invasive muscle biopsy. DNA sequencing technology may help to speed things up.”

DNA Sequencing Quickly Identifies Metabolic Diseases

Everyone has seen at least one episode of a medical mystery series. The doctors, having no real idea what the patient could be suffering from, are forced to treat patients based on hunches. Wouldn’t it just be so much easier if we could look through their DNA to see if there’s some form of weird code leading to an obscure disease, outlining their symptoms perfectly?

That’s actually not very far from the truth now. After the success of the Human Genome Project, many new mysteries have been solved and advancements have been made, the most recent of which being the diagnosis of patients with hard-to-pinpoint metabolic diseases being applied to the hospitals themselves.

This is particularly useful in mitochondrial diseases as these, according to New Scientist,  ”are notoriously difficult to diagnose. …the diseases often involve many genes, and symptoms vary across organs. Currently, diagnosing such disorders can take months or even years, and involves an invasive muscle biopsy. DNA sequencing technology may help to speed things up.”

These Cells Help Clear Your Lungs

Scientists recently identified the gene that instructs certain cells to develop hairlike structures called multiple cilia, which move mucus out of the lungs to prevent infection. Christopher Kintner and his team at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies made this discovery working with Xenopus laevis (African clawed frog) embryos. The scanning electric microscope image above, magnified at 7,000 times actual size, shows the gray surface of embryonic cells, which sprout hundreds of pink cilia that beat in one direction to push fluids along. These multiciliated cells form on the outside of the frog embryos, making the cells easy to study. 
Kintner says this research is a step toward a better understanding of how cilia form and function. His finding may be an important tool for creating multiciliate cells from embryonic stem cells. “In the lung, multiciliate cells are [of] major importance to cell population, and knowing how to generate these cells is the basis for producing the methods and therapies for tissue regeneration,” he says.

These Cells Help Clear Your Lungs

Scientists recently identified the gene that instructs certain cells to develop hairlike structures called multiple cilia, which move mucus out of the lungs to prevent infection. Christopher Kintner and his team at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies made this discovery working with Xenopus laevis (African clawed frog) embryos. The scanning electric microscope image above, magnified at 7,000 times actual size, shows the gray surface of embryonic cells, which sprout hundreds of pink cilia that beat in one direction to push fluids along. These multiciliated cells form on the outside of the frog embryos, making the cells easy to study. 

Kintner says this research is a step toward a better understanding of how cilia form and function. His finding may be an important tool for creating multiciliate cells from embryonic stem cells. “In the lung, multiciliate cells are [of] major importance to cell population, and knowing how to generate these cells is the basis for producing the methods and therapies for tissue regeneration,” he says.