Category Archives: Genetics Articles

How Genes are Related to “Baldness”

According to the new study published in United Kingdom, 200 new genetic markers linked with male pattern baldness, which is a great number comparing to the previous study that revealed only eight of the genes. The researchers also found a new mechanism that is efficient in predicting chance of a portion of a population to get a severe hair loss.

In the experiment, the researchers collected baldness linked characteristics from more than 52,000 men ages 40 to 69 years in United Kingdom. Of these men, about 32 percent said they had no hair loss, 23 percent said they had slight hair loss, 27 percent said they had moderate hair loss and 18 percent said they had severe hair loss.

Then, the researchers analyzed the genetic variation known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of participant’s genome and revealed 287genetic variations, which are located on 100 different genes, that are linked to severe hair loss of men. Most of the variations were located on the genes that are related to formation and growth of hair, and some genes were on the X chromosome that was inherited from their mother.

Based on the result of the experiment, the researchers created a formula that calculates the “genetic risk score” of individuals to have moderate or severe hair loss. However, the researchers note that in the study, information on the age of participants started to loss hair, and if more information were available, it would have been possible to make more accurate prediction of a men’s chance to have severe baldness.

This research has revealed many new information about baldness-linked genes, but it is still hard to make accurate prediction and further researches would be needed to prevent and predict individuals’ hair loss pattern, the researchers noted.




Role of Genetics in Immunity

According to a research from King’s College London, nearly 75 percent of immune traits are influenced by genes. The study adds to a developing body of evidence that our genetics significantly influence our immune system. The researchers, with the support of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’, analysed 23,000 immune characteristics in 497 adult female twins.

The researchers found that adaptive immune characteristics are mainly influenced by genetics. They also highlighted the importance of environmental factors such as diet, on determining the inmate immunity in adult life. The findings could result in a better understanding of the immune system and how it interacts with environmental factors. In addition, it could form the foundation of more research in a treatment of many diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

Dr Massimo Mansion, chief scientist from King’s College London said that adaptive immune responses appear to be more controlled by genome variations than he had previously thought. This means that people are likely to respond in an individualised way to an allergen or infection. This may have significant consequences for future personalised therapy.


Tooth Decay and Gum Disease May Be Linked to Genes

Do you know people who are diligent about their health but still prone to gum diseases or tooth decay? It might not be their fault. Their condition may be linked to their genes.

According to scientists from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine, certain genes variations are the cause of aggressive periodontitis and tooth decay. Dr. Alexandre Vieira, one of the researchers, said that the rate of dental caries is influenced by individual variations in a gene known as defensin 1 (DEFB1). This gene plays a major role in response against germs.

By analysing about 300 dental records and saliva samples from registry of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, the researchers gave each case a DMFT score (based on number of teeth that are missing, filled and decayed) and DMFS score (based on the number of teeth that missing, filled and decayed) Generally, people with fewer carriers boast of lower DMFT and DMFS scores. Also, the researcher found that all saliva samples had one of the three variants, dubbed C-44G, G-52A and G-20A, of and the DEFB1 gene.

The G-52A polymorphism was linked with lower DMFT scores. People with a G-20A copy had DMFS and DMFT scores that were five-times higher compared to individuals who had other variants.


Is the Likelihood of Conceiving Twins Determined by Genes?

There is no evidence
that the probability of having identical twins is determined by genetics. However, the likelihood of conceiving non-identical twins is determined by genetics. A couple is more likely to get twins if there are twins in the woman’s family.

Identical twins occur when one fertilised embryo breaks into two. Sometimes, identical twins are referred to as monozygotic twins. This results to each baby having the same genes. Therefore, they look very alike and they have same sexboth girls and both boys. Worldwide, monozygotic twins occur in about 3 per 1,000 births. Research suggests that most cases of identical twinning are not caused by genetic factors.

Non-identical or dizygotic (DZ) twins happen when two sperms fertilize two eggs at the same time. Non- twins are sometimes referred to as fraternal twins. Some women are genetically more likely to produce two or more eggs during the menstrual cycle. This makes them more likely to have twins.

There are also some non-genetic factors that make non-identical twins more likely. These factors include ethnic group, the age of the mother and infertility treatment.


Genetics Could Help Tutors Tailor Learning to Every Student

As they spend time in classrooms, teachers understand that different students or pupils have different learning styles, either by training or by preference. Teachers know that some students learn better during individual assignments, while other thrive well though group work. While one student may prefer reading about something, another may enjoy learning by doing.

Studies have shown that styles of learning can be hardwired into a person, bringing up the need for researchers to examine educational genomics, a new field that’s fast expanding due to advances in technology and genetics.

Darya Gaysina, a lecture at the University of Sussex, explains how she thinks educational genomics could assist future students. In her article first published on The Conversation, she believes that one day genomics will be used by educational organisations to make tailor-made curriculum programs that are based on a student’s DNA profile. Such genetic information will be used to determine the DNA variants that facilitate school achievement, such as mathematical and reading abilities.


How Giraffes Got Their Long Necks

The tallest land animal in the world, the giraffe have some interesting characteristics.   Like humans, the animal’s neck has seven vertebrae, but they are elongated.  For blood to circulate in the brain, its heart must pump to a height of about two metres- a act made possible by blood pressure more than of humans, thick-walled blood vessels and unusual heart structure.

Now, a new research into the giraffe genome has revealed genetic variations that might be behind unusual adaptation to cardiovascular system and neck length.

Writing in Nature Communications Journal, scientists from the US, Tanzania and UK, describe how they sequenced two Masai giraffes’ genomes. These genomes were compared with okapi, a stripy-legged animal that is believed to be the giraffe’s closest relative. Variations discovered in the protein-coding sequences of giraffes were then compared with 40 other corresponding genes, from mammals such as mice and camels, and evaluated for their influence.

The result was the discovery of genes with variations particular to giraffe. According to researchers, these genes could be behind the unusual adaptation in the animal. Over 35 genes were found to code for proteins involved regulating the development neural system, skeleton and cardiovascular system, with some believed to influence factors that determine elongation of vertebrae.


Cystic Fibrosis: A Genetic Disease that Affects Secretory Glands

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited and chronic disease that affects secretory glands, resulting in excessive production of salty sweat and mucus. While in a healthy individual mucus is slippery and watery substance, in Cystic Fibrosis patients, it is sticky and thick. The mucus production and accumulation damage the lungs, digestive tract, sex organs, and pancreases. The most Cystic Fibrosis features are chronic digestive system problems and progressive damage to the respiratory system.

Depending on the patient’s age and characteristic, the severity and symptoms of the disease vary. Usually, mucus blocks the airways, causing bacterial infections and breathing difficulties in the lungs. Over time, the disease can cause chronic inflammation, wheezing and coughing, develop into permanent damage to the lungs, the formation of scar tissue, and cysts in the lungs.

Cystic Fibrosis of occurs when there is an alteration in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) , a gene responsible for moving negatively charged particles called chloride ions out and into the cells. The element chloride is derived from sodium chloride. The component has important roles in a cell, such as regulating chloride ions that control the movement of water in tissue, a function that enables a healthy person to produce thin, freely flowing mucus. Due to the disease, the chloride does not properly control the flow of water and chloride ions through the cell. Consequently, cells near the lungs and other organs produce sticky and thick mucus.