Yo, nice genes

We all have them. Tall genes. Skinny jeans. No not those kinds of jeans. Genes! The Garvan Institute in Australia has finally opened the first ever clinical whole genome testing service available to the public, a luxury only previously available to researchers. This presents a host of new options available to people with rare genetic diseases or people who want to test their genes for potential problems. With roughly 20,000 genes in human DNA, that’s a huge amount of information. Now let’s all go find out who we’re related to! Spoiler alert: It’s everyone. Participate in the related FastPoll™ below!

No more dyeing to get to the root of the problem

Sometimes the best discoveries are made by accident, just look at penicillin, the microwave, and Viagra. Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center made their own discovery of this nature while researching the role of a protein in tumor formation. To quote the researchers: “Serendipitously, we found that the mice without SCF in Krox20 lineage cells developed hair graying and, early in life, lost all hair pigmentation.” Basically, they think this SCF gene is in some way responsible for telling hair cells, “hey let’s not look old yet.” It may not be the discovery they were initially looking for, but if we’re being honest it’s probably a much plumper cash cow.

That’s one small gene in mice, one giant leap in curing HIV

If Neil Armstrong were a scientist, we’re pretty sure he would’ve said that about this breakthrough study. For the first time ever, the spread of the HIV virus was stopped in its tracks in a living animal, including in a humanized model. Kudos to Dr. Wenhui Hu and his team at LKSOM. This was done by using the gene editing technology CRISPR/Cas9. After replicating the findings from their previous proof-of-concept study, the team tested mice infected with EcoHIV (mouse equivalent to human HIV-1) and mice that were engrafted with human immune and T cells (i.e., “humanized”) then HIV-1. In both tests they were able to successfully excise and block further infection. Take that, HIV.

Who needs sleep?

Turns out there might be somebody to blame when you can’t sleep at night. Snoring partner? Crying baby? Game of Thrones creators for making us wait forever for season 7? Nope, nope, and nope. Your parents. But not because they inflicted irreparable emotional damage by never buying you Legos. It’s because you may have genes that cause sleep issues. Scientists have recently linked two genes with sleeping problems. Research subjects with a mutant FABP7 gene sleep more fitfully at night and those with a CRY1 variant are found to have abnormal circadian rhythms. With more research, hopefully more effective sleep disorder treatments can be developed. Barenaked Ladies asked, “Who Needs Sleep?” Not this guy. He’s good.