Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekly Science Updates - It's All in the Genes

I've been scanning the annals of other science blogs and came across some interesting stuff that I am now sharing with you. In this edition of Link Love is All About Genetics.

You know how public health providers are always saying that your risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS increases if you have had another STD? Well, this post - STDs disrupt genetic bottleneck that usually constrains HIV infection - explains how. Basically, when your body is fighting off a STD, via an inflammatory response, the chemistry of your genital mucous lining changes - becomes thin - and the HIV virus can penetrate the normally protective barrier and infect your cells.

Now, some good news about STDs. A joint study by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Harvard Medical School seems to have made a breakthrough in Herpes Prevention. A topical vaginal microbicide has been found to successfully silence two genes of the Herpes Simplex Virus-2 (the one that causes genital herpes) in mice. The microbicide can also safely protect against genital herpes infection for as long as one week. Read more about the study in the blog post: Topical Microbicide Offers Long-Lasting Protection Against Genital Herpes.

Genetic Tricks of Parasites is a quick read all about the small genomes of parasites. But one parasite species has an usually large genome ~ 23,500 genes, many more than other parasite species. Read the article to learn more.

And my favorite -Rethinking the genetic theory of inheritance. Scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada have made some breakthroughs in the research of addiction and mental health as it relates to Epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of inheritance of traits beyond DNA. DNA is important and its discovery has lead to some very important discoveries, but I've always thought we have been rather pre-occupied with every thing being genetic. I'm looking forward to what more we can learn about Epigenetic research.


Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

the folks i know doing microbicide research are top shelf and the findings thus far have been pleasing

The Urban Scientist said...

it is exciting. thanks for commenting.

TJ said...

Back when I did HIV education training, we were taught this, that the body fighting other STDs made it more susceptible to HIV infection. 23,500 genes? Dang.

The Urban Scientist said...

Thanks for stopping by TJ.