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On Darwin's birthday, IU study sheds new light on plant evolution

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A study reported Feb. 12 in the journal PLOS Biology employs genome-wide sequencing to reveal highly specific details about the evolutionary mechanisms that drove genetic divergence in 13 species of wild tomatoes that share a recent common ancestor.

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Stem Cell Gene Therapy Could Be Key to Treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

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Scientists at UCLA have developed a new approach that could eventually be used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The stem cell gene therapy could be applicable for 60 percent of people with Duchenne, which affects approximately 1 in 5,000 boys in the U.S. and is the most common fatal childhood genetic disease.

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Rare Beluga Data Show Whales Dive to Maximize Meals

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As the Arctic continues to change due to rising temperatures, melting sea ice and human interest in developing oil and shipping routes, it’s important to understand belugas’ baseline behavior, argue the authors of a new paper.

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UW Scientists Create Ultrathin Semiconductor Heterostructures for New Technological Applications

University of Washington scientists have successfully combined two different ultrathin semiconductors — each just one layer of atoms thick and roughly 100,000 times thinner than a human hair — to make a new two-dimensional heterostructure with potential uses in clean energy and optically-active electronics.

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NYU Research: A Window to Prevent HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Colombia

A recent study examined injection risk behaviors among heroin injectors in the Colombian cities of Medellín and Pereira to explore the implications for possible increased HIV transmission within PWID.

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Scripps Florida Scientists Win $1.7 Million Grant to Advance New Strategies to Treat Huntington’s Disease

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Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have won nearly $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to investigate the mechanisms that contribute to Huntington’s disease.

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 14-Feb-2016 5:00 PM EST

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 18-Feb-2016 4:00 PM EST

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How Your Brain Might Be Secretly Thwarting Your New Year’s Resolutions

The human brain is wired to pay attention to previously pleasing things — a finding that could help explain why it’s hard to break bad habits or stick to New Year’s resolutions.

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Wearing Out Its Welcome: How a Master Regulator in Ovarian Cancer Can Go From Helpful to Harmful When It Remains Expressed

Scientists at The Wistar Institute have defined the role of how a master genomic organizer influences the behavior of these ovarian-associated dendritic cells, revealing a previously unseen way in which cancer is able to manipulate our immune system.

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Alternative Proteins Encoded by the Same Gene Have Widely Divergent Functions in Cells

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In a first large-scale systematic study, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and McGill University found that most sibling proteins – known as “protein isoforms” encoded by the same gene – often play radically different roles within tissues and cells, however alike they may be structurally.

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‘Housing Policy Debate’ Publishes Penn Nursing & Cornell Study on Affordable Housing

The team researched a quasi-random assignment of 84 ACHIEVEability participants to their housing units. Investigators evaluated whether micro-neighborhood environments – the group of city blocks immediately surrounding housing units – affected participants’ progress in achieving college credits.

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Faulty Bioelectric Signal Responsible for Facial Defects Caused by Rare Genetic Disorder

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Faulty bioelectric signaling has been found to be responsible for the skull and facial abnormalities that characterize the rare genetic disorder Andersen-Tawil Syndrome (ATS). It may therefore be possible to alter bioelectrical signaling to correct effects of fetal alcohol syndrome and other developmental defects or genetic mutations.

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Alcohol Also Damages the Liver by Allowing Bacteria to Infiltrate

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Alcohol itself can directly damage liver cells. Now researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report evidence that alcohol is also harmful to the liver for a second reason — it allows gut bacteria to migrate to the liver, promoting alcohol-induced liver disease. The study, conducted in mice and in laboratory samples, is published February 10 in Cell Host & Microbe.

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Pregnancy & PTSD: Surprising Findings Could Help Moms-to-Be at Risk

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For most women, expecting a baby brings intense joy --and a fair amount of worry. But what about women with post-traumatic stress disorder? Contrary to what researchers expected, a new study shows that pregnancy may actually reduce their PTSD symptoms. Or at the least, it won’t cause a flare-up.

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Wayne State University Researchers Discover New Source of Mutations in Cancer

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Recently, a new mutation signature found in cancer cells was suspected to have been created by a family of enzymes found in human cells called the APOBEC3 family. The study, “Strand-biased Cytosine deamination at the Replication Fork causes Cytosine to Thymine Mutations in Escherichia coli,” led by Ashok Bhagwat, Ph.D., professor of chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University, was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Penn Medicine “Brain Road Maps” Reflect Behavior Differences Between Males and Females

Differences in the neural wiring across development of men and women across ages, matched behavioral differences commonly associated with each of the sexes, according to an imaging-based study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania published February 1 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

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Penn Researchers Illuminate “Dark Side” of the Transcriptome

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A new way of mapping the collection of RNA read-outs that are expressed by a cell’s active genes has been devised to shed additional light on the role of RNAs in cells. These “dark” variations in RNA likely have roles in gene regulation across tissues, development, and in human diseases. The team will use the now-free software to interrogate cells in brain disorders, cancers, and other illnesses.

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Physics: It's What's Happening Inside Your Body Right Now

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Using a model blood vessel system built on a polymer microchip, researchers have shown that the relative softness of white blood cells determines whether they remain in a dormant state along vessel walls or enter blood circulation to fight infection.

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Cotton Candy Machines May Hold Key for Making Artificial Organs

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Vanderbilt engineers have modified the cotton candy machine to create complex microfluidic networks that mimic the capillary system in living tissue and have demonstrated that these networks can keep cells alive and functioning in an artificial three-dimensional matrix.