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Walking backwards can boost your short-term memory

Genetics - Fri, 2018-11-16 09:00
Moving backwards - or simply imagining doing it - can be enough to improve scores on memory tests, but we don't know why
Categories: Biology

Walking backwards can boost your short-term memory

HIV and AIDS - Fri, 2018-11-16 09:00
Moving backwards - or simply imagining doing it - can be enough to improve scores on memory tests, but we don't know why

Heterologous Hsp90 promotes phenotypic diversity through network evolution

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2018-11-16 00:00

by Tracy Chih-Ting Koubkova-Yu, Jung-Chi Chao, Jun-Yi Leu

Biological processes in living cells are often carried out by gene networks in which signals and reactions are integrated through network hubs. Despite their functional importance, it remains unclear to what extent network hubs are evolvable and how alterations impact long-term evolution. We investigated these issues using heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), a central hub of proteostasis networks. When native Hsp90 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells was replaced by the ortholog from hypersaline-tolerant Yarrowia lipolytica that diverged from S. cerevisiae about 270 million years ago, the cells exhibited improved growth in hypersaline environments but compromised growth in others, indicating functional divergence in Hsp90 between the two yeasts. Laboratory evolution shows that evolved Y. lipolytica-HSP90–carrying S. cerevisiae cells exhibit a wider range of phenotypic variation than cells carrying native Hsp90. Identified beneficial mutations are involved in multiple pathways and are often pleiotropic. Our results show that cells adapt to a heterologous Hsp90 by modifying different subnetworks, facilitating the evolution of phenotypic diversity inaccessible to wild-type cells.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Gut microbiome transition across a lifestyle gradient in Himalaya

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2018-11-16 00:00

by Aashish R. Jha, Emily R. Davenport, Yoshina Gautam, Dinesh Bhandari, Sarmila Tandukar, Katharine M. Ng, Gabriela K. Fragiadakis, Susan Holmes, Guru Prasad Gautam, Jeff Leach, Jeevan Bahadur Sherchand, Carlos D. Bustamante, Justin L. Sonnenburg

The composition of the gut microbiome in industrialized populations differs from those living traditional lifestyles. However, it has been difficult to separate the contributions of human genetic and geographic factors from lifestyle. Whether shifts away from the foraging lifestyle that characterize much of humanity’s past influence the gut microbiome, and to what degree, remains unclear. Here, we characterize the stool bacterial composition of four Himalayan populations to investigate how the gut community changes in response to shifts in traditional human lifestyles. These groups led seminomadic hunting–gathering lifestyles until transitioning to varying levels of agricultural dependence upon farming. The Tharu began farming 250–300 years ago, the Raute and Raji transitioned 30–40 years ago, and the Chepang retain many aspects of a foraging lifestyle. We assess the contributions of dietary and environmental factors on their gut-associated microbes and find that differences in the lifestyles of Himalayan foragers and farmers are strongly correlated with microbial community variation. Furthermore, the gut microbiomes of all four traditional Himalayan populations are distinct from that of the Americans, indicating that industrialization may further exacerbate differences in the gut community. The Chepang foragers harbor an elevated abundance of taxa associated with foragers around the world. Conversely, the gut microbiomes of the populations that have transitioned to farming are more similar to those of Americans, with agricultural dependence and several associated lifestyle and environmental factors correlating with the extent of microbiome divergence from the foraging population. The gut microbiomes of Raute and Raji reveal an intermediate state between the Chepang and Tharu, indicating that divergence from a stereotypical foraging microbiome can occur within a single generation. Our results also show that environmental factors such as drinking water source and solid cooking fuel are significantly associated with the gut microbiome. Despite the pronounced differences in gut bacterial composition across populations, we found little differences in alpha diversity across lifestyles. These findings in genetically similar populations living in the same geographical region establish the key role of lifestyle in determining human gut microbiome composition and point to the next challenging steps of determining how large-scale gut microbiome reconfiguration impacts human biology.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Catching up on sleep at weekends may aggravate period pain

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Thu, 2018-11-15 19:00
Getting up early on weekdays and sleeping in on weekends to compensate may cause period pain by disrupting the circadian rhythms that control hormone cycles
Categories: Science and society

Catching up on sleep at weekends may aggravate period pain

Genetics - Thu, 2018-11-15 19:00
Getting up early on weekdays and sleeping in on weekends to compensate may cause period pain by disrupting the circadian rhythms that control hormone cycles
Categories: Biology

Catching up on sleep at weekends may aggravate period pain

HIV and AIDS - Thu, 2018-11-15 19:00
Getting up early on weekdays and sleeping in on weekends to compensate may cause period pain by disrupting the circadian rhythms that control hormone cycles

Web tracker can follow you for months even if you delete your cookies

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Thu, 2018-11-15 17:00
This internet tracker can follow your browsing for months even if you use ad blockers, by measuring variations in the quartz crystals in your device's clock
Categories: Science and society

Web tracker can follow you for months even if you delete your cookies

Genetics - Thu, 2018-11-15 17:00
This internet tracker can follow your browsing for months even if you use ad blockers, by measuring variations in the quartz crystals in your device's clock
Categories: Biology

Web tracker can follow you for months even if you delete your cookies

HIV and AIDS - Thu, 2018-11-15 17:00
This internet tracker can follow your browsing for months even if you use ad blockers, by measuring variations in the quartz crystals in your device's clock

Environmentalists must embrace nuclear power to stem climate change

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:16
The Union of Concerned Scientists has overturned its longstanding opposition to nuclear power. Other green groups should follow suit, says Mark Lynas
Categories: Science and society

Environmentalists must embrace nuclear power to stem climate change

Genetics - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:16
The Union of Concerned Scientists has overturned its longstanding opposition to nuclear power. Other green groups should follow suit, says Mark Lynas
Categories: Biology

Environmentalists must embrace nuclear power to stem climate change

HIV and AIDS - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:16
The Union of Concerned Scientists has overturned its longstanding opposition to nuclear power. Other green groups should follow suit, says Mark Lynas

Huge 30-kilometre wide meteorite crater found under Greenland glacier

HIV and AIDS - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:05
Radar surveys have revealed a crater left when a kilometre-wide asteroid hit Greenland – and the impact could explain a climate mystery

Huge 30-kilometre wide meteorite crater found under Greenland glacier

Genetics - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:05
Radar surveys have revealed a crater left when a kilometre-wide asteroid hit Greenland – and the impact could explain a climate mystery
Categories: Biology

Huge 30-kilometre wide meteorite crater found under Greenland glacier

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:05
Radar surveys have revealed a crater left when a kilometre-wide asteroid hit Greenland – and the impact could explain a climate mystery
Categories: Science and society

Prefer tea or coffee? It may be down to your genes for bitter tastes

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:00
People with genes that make them taste caffeine more strongly tend to be coffee-drinkers, while tea-drinkers have genetic aversions to strongly bitter tastes
Categories: Science and society

A new DNA sequencing service wants to reward you for sharing your data

Genetically modified organisms (GMO) - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:00
Genetics pioneer George Church's new company says it will sequence your genome for free and secure it on a blockchain, so that you can choose who uses your data
Categories: Science and society

Prefer tea or coffee? It may be down to your genes for bitter tastes

Genetics - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:00
People with genes that make them taste caffeine more strongly tend to be coffee-drinkers, while tea-drinkers have genetic aversions to strongly bitter tastes
Categories: Biology

A new DNA sequencing service wants to reward you for sharing your data

Genetics - Thu, 2018-11-15 16:00
Genetics pioneer George Church's new company says it will sequence your genome for free and secure it on a blockchain, so that you can choose who uses your data
Categories: Biology