Archive for the ‘genetics’ category

Aug 16, 2019

The transhumanists who want to live forever

Posted by in categories: genetics, life extension, transhumanism

For a core of longevity true believers, the time to intervene is now.

“How old are you?” James Clement wanted to know.

I turn 50 this year. There’s a new creaking in my bones; my skin doesn’t snap back the way it used to. It’s developed a dull thickness—you can’t tickle me at all. My gums are packing it in and retreating toward my jaw. These changes have been gradual or inexplicably sudden, like the day when I could no longer see the typed words that are my profession. Presbyopia, the ophthalmologist told me. Totally normal. You’re middle-aged.

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Aug 16, 2019

Tweaked CRISPR in neurons gives scientists new power to probe brain diseases

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health, neuroscience

A team of scientists at UC San Francisco and the National Institutes of Health have achieved another CRISPR first, one which may fundamentally alter the way scientists study brain diseases.

In a paper published August 15 in the journal Neuron, the researchers describe a technique that uses a special version of CRISPR developed at UCSF to systematically alter the activity of in human neurons generated from , the first successful merger of stem cell-derived cell types and CRISPR screening technologies.

Though mutations and other genetic variants are known to be associated with an increased risk for many , technological bottlenecks have thwarted the efforts of scientists working to understand exactly how these genes cause .

Aug 16, 2019

Inducing Pluripotency Through Multiple Routes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

A new study outlines multiple ways in which epiblast stem cells can be reprogrammed back into a fully pluripotent state, paving the way for a better understanding of epigenetics.

The role of epigenetics

Epigenetics are why our cells, which all have the same DNA, differ in function. A bone cell has the same genetics as a nerve cell, but its epigenetic switches instruct it to perform the functions of a bone cell and not a nerve cell. Epigenetic alterations, however, are one of the primary hallmarks of aging. As we age, harmful epigenetic switches are activated and beneficial ones are deactivated, causing age-related dysfunction. This may even lead to inflammation, which causes further epigenetic damage, leading to a dangerous feedback loop.

Aug 15, 2019

Swiss Scientists Upgrade CRISPR to Edit Many Genes at Once

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

A research group at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, has made it possible to edit hundreds of genes at once with CRISPR gene editing.

CRISPR gene editing has revolutionized the biotech industry by providing an easy and quick way to genetically modify organisms. So far, however, CRISPR techniques have only managed to edit a maximum of seven genes at once. This limits the potential of the technique in creating cell therapies, since whole networks of genes need to be reprogrammed to control each cell’s fate.

The Swiss research group devised a way to overcome this limitation with a CRISPR technique able to edit 25 genes in one go. This number could also be increased to up to hundreds of genes at a time. This method therefore makes it possible to edit gene networks, and reprogram stem cells to become cell therapies such as skin cells or insulin-producing pancreatic cells.

Aug 15, 2019

CRISPR enters its first human clinical trials

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

CUTTING ROOM Scientists will soon wield the molecular scissors CRISPR/Cas9 in the human body. Some people with a form of inherited blindness will have the gene editor injected into their eyes, where researchers hope it will snip out a mutation.

Aug 15, 2019

Dr. Denise Montell — UC Santa Barbara — Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology — Anastasis — ideaXme — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, bioengineering, biotech/medical, complex systems, cryonics, DNA, genetics, health, life extension, transhumanism

Aug 15, 2019

Dr. Michael West at Ending Age-Related Diseases 2018 — The Reversibility of Human Aging | LEAF

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension

Dr. Michael West, CEO of AgeX Therapeutics and Founder of Geron Corporation, discusses breakthroughs in the understanding of biological regeneration and in induced tissue regeneration, through his talk “Hayflick Rewound: Somatic Restriction, Epigenetics, and the Reversibility of Human Aging”. This talk was given at the Ending Age-Related Diseases conference in NYC. Join us at

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Aug 14, 2019

Using Genetic Genealogy To Identify Unknown Crime Victims, Sometimes Decades Later

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

DNA combined with the study of family history has been used to solve high-profile cold cases such as the Golden State Killer. Now, volunteers are using the technique to identify crime victims.

Aug 14, 2019

Future Bioweapons Could Kill People With Specific DNA

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, genetics, robotics/AI

In the future, we may have to deal with biological weapons that target specific groups of people, passing over everyone else.

That’s according to a new report out of Cambridge University’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk reviewed by The Telegraph. In it, the Cambridge researchers argue that world governments have failed to prepare for futuristic weapons based on advanced technology like artificial intelligence and genetic manipulation — or even a killer pathogen designed to kill only people of a particular race.

Aug 13, 2019

Gift Launches New UCSF Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health

Faculty engaged in microbiome research across campus have previously shown that our microbiome plays a key role in defining human health. For example, microbial dysfunction in the infant gut – characterized by the enrichment of particular microbial genes and their products – drive immune dysfunction and can be used to predict the development of allergy and asthma in childhood. Perturbed microbial ecosystems across the human body have been linked to autoimmune disease, metabolic syndromes such as obesity and diabetes, skin diseases, and even multiple sclerosis. Gut microbes can even contribute to metabolizing drugs and influence how much enters the circulation.

Leveraging this expertise and collaborations with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in Oakland and San Francisco and institutions nationwide, the UCSF Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine aims to develop a holistic understanding of our earliest interactions with microbes in utero, through birth, and in early life. These efforts aim to find ways of predicting and preventing not only asthma and allergy, but other childhood diseases – including dermatological, gastrointestinal, respiratory and neurological disorders.

“At the same time that we are developing therapeutic strategies to restore microbial ecosystems once they have been damaged,” Lynch said. “We also need to find ways to intervene in at-risk populations in very early life to prevent chronic diseases before they start.”

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