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Disease, Evolution, Neurology, and Drugs: Fruit Fly Research Continues to Teach Us About Human Biology

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Over 1,500 scientists from 30 countries and 46 states will attend next week's 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference organized by the Genetics Society of America (GSA), March 4–8 in Chicago, IL. The conference will feature close to 1,000 presentations (including 170 talks) describing cutting-edge research on genetics, developmental biology, cancer, stem cells, neurology, epigenetics, genetic disease, aging, immunity, behavior, drug discovery, and technology. It is the largest meeting in the world that brings together researchers who use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to study biology.

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A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 2-Mar-2015 11:00 AM EST

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Research Captures Transient Details of HIV Genome Packaging

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Once HIV-1 has hijacked a host cell to make copies of its own RNA genome and viral proteins, it must assemble these components into new virus particles. The orchestration of this intricate assembly process falls to a viral protein known as Gag. For one thing, Gag must be able to discern viral RNA from the host cell’s and squirrel it away inside new viral particles — no easy task considering only two to three percent of the RNA found in the cytoplasm is from HIV-1. Exactly how Gag selectively packages viral RNA has been widely speculated but never directly observed.

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Culture Clash: How Stem Cells Are Grown Affects Their Genetic Stability

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Writing in the February 25 online issue of the journal PLOS ONE, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, with collaborators from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), have definitively shown for the first time that the culture conditions in which stem cells are grown and mass-produced can affect their genetic stability.

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Do Genes Play a Role in Peanut Allergies? New Study Suggests Yes

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Researchers have pinpointed a region in the human genome associated with peanut allergy in U.S. children, offering strong evidence that genes can play a role in the development of food allergies.

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Inherited Gene Variation Leaves Young Leukemia Patients at Risk for Peripheral Neuropathy

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Researchers have identified the first genetic variation that is associated with increased risk and severity of peripheral neuropathy following treatment with a widely used anti-cancer drug. Investigators also found evidence of how it may be possible to protect young leukemia patients without jeopardizing cures. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital scientists led the study, which appears today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Retracing the Roots of Fungal Symbioses

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In Nature Genetics, DOE JGI researchers and longtime collaborators at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research and Clark University conducted the first broad, comparative phylogenomic analysis of mycorrhizal fungi to understand the basis for fungal symbiotic relationships with plants.

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Study Nearly Triples the Locations in the Human Genome That Harbor MicroRNAs

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Researchers find many new gene-regulating molecules that are tissue and human specific.

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Epigenome Orchestrates Embryonic Development

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Studying zebrafish embryos, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that the epigenome plays a significant part in guiding development in the first 24 hours after fertilization. The research may deepen understanding of congenital defects and miscarriage.

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Carnivorous Plant Packs Big Wonders Into Tiny Genome

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Great, wonderful, wacky things can come in tiny genomic packages. That’s one lesson to be learned from the carnivorous bladderwort. According to new research, this plant houses more genes than species including grape, coffee or papaya — despite having a much smaller genome.