Source: Nature via The Guardian
Source: Nature via The Guardian
Ever notice how those crazy people who workout all the time say they “feel great” afterwards, even though whenever you go to the gym for your once-yearly, new-year-new-me regimen you just feel like crap? Well turns out there just might be a genetic reason for that. Dutch researchers have identified a possible genetic inheritability aspect to whether you receive that endorphin rush after working out. We’re being a bit cagier than normal when describing the results of this study since the causal relationship hasn’t been verified yet–so maybe working out often changes how the body responds to that exercise. No results yet on how the hell those people were able to begin exercising regularly in the first place.
Ok, we may not exactly be at the point where we’re determining employment by genetic status, but CRISPR still gives some ethicists pause when it comes to human applications. However, a team of researchers led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov—whose greatest hits include creating “three-parent” monkeys and a technique for creating stem cells out of skin cells—decided they weren’t gonna let China have all the fun with pushing ethical boundaries. The team’s work culminated in the first gene-editing of a human embryo performed on US soil. They also did it better than their Chinese counterparts have been able to so far, with fewer unintended errors in portions of the DNA that weren’t being actively operated on.
Amazon is working tirelessly to find more and more pots to stick its Amazon Prime fingers in. The e-commerce goliath’s newest focus is healthcare, and it has two projects aimed at pushing in that direction. One is a secretive venture with the goal of (tell me if you’ve heard this one before) revolutionizing electronic medical records. The other is an investment that Amazon’s using to position itself as the solution for storing insane amounts of human genetic data. The company invested in Grail, a start-up planning to use its technology to flag the earliest signs of cancer. That requires a ton of data storage and processing, and if Amazon and Grail can pull it off here, you can bet it’ll be a huge market for them.
May be a real possibility… however, you may learn something you don’t want to know. Scientists have developed a new test based on 31 genetic markers that could be used to calculate yearly onset risk for Alzheimer’s. Patients who scored in the highest 10% on the test were three times as likely to develop the disease and did so a decade before patients who scored in the lowest 10%. The test was developed using genetic data from over 70,000 patients with Alzheimer’s as well as healthy elderly people. While it is known that genetics plays a large role in the development of the disease, knowing when someone could be at risk may help identify patients for trials to learn more about it moving forward.
It’s synonymous with illnesses and we all try to avoid it at Chipotle. Yep, it’s bacteria. But don’t break out the Purell just yet. It seems a startup has found another good use for E. coli, albeit genetically modified. This engineered strain of bacteria has an insatiable appetite for ammonia. When our bodies are unable to naturally process ammonia, it leads to urea cycle disorders which are estimated to cause up to 20% of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome cases and a myriad of other dangerous, fatal disorders. Luckily, treatment couldn’t be easier. Just one pill packed with 100 billion (with a B!) of the modified bacteria and your body will be eating ammonia like it’s turkey on Thanksgiving. Speaking of… for our US readers, this is how you carve a turkey. Gobble, gobble.