Wednesday, 06 June 2018 00:00

Searching for Monster DNA

A team of researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand recently announced plans for a quest to analyze everything that lives in the body of water known as Loch Ness.

And yes, that would include the fabled Loch Ness Monster.

Beginning in June 2018, the researchers, led by Professor Neil Gemmell, will rely on environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling of the lake's waters to find minuscule DNA traces deposited by life in the loch.

The team will then make a specific list of everything living in Loch Ness and compare that with lists made of the life in a few other lochs to determine how Loch Ness is different from those locations -- if, in fact, it even is.

Published in Our Blog

As hard as scientists have worked to find a cure for cancer, the latest discovery may be the most original way yet. Elephant DNA has been found to contain a type of gene that suppresses tumors in humans. The gene, called TP53, prevents cells from multiplying and, as a result, prevents cancer from spreading.

When the gene was activated in mice, scientists found mice have the same protection from cancer as elephants, who rarely get cancer. Only 4.8 percent of known elephant deaths have been connected to cancer. In humans, those numbers are closer to 11 to 25 percent.

During the study, a team extracted white blood cells from elephants and damaged them. The team found that in addition to preventing the spread of cancer, elephants also have a built-in mechanism that detects and kills bad cells before they can wreak damage on the body.

Published in Our Blog
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