November 2014

After multiple months of waiting for final permits, the Oakland Zoo has acquired the necessary state and federal permits to help save the Mountain Yellow-Legged frog, a highly endangered amphibian. This frog species, which once hopped throughout California’s upper elevations, has dropped significantly in numbers, more than ninety percent in the past decade, due in...

While not normally thought of as a dodgy character, the sea trout, a distant cousin of the Norwegian Salmon has a lot of secrets. Researcher Jan G. Davidson and his graduate students are on the case and trying to decipher the development and habits of the sea trout and in the process hopefully discover why...

Researchers at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, Calif, have repaired injured hearts in mice by reviving long-inactive molecular machinery in the animals’ cells, which may lead to new therapies for human heart ailments. The mice exhibited dramatic improvement in heart regeneration and healing after the researchers blocked four molecules believed to suppress these programs for regenerating...

Autoimmune diseases that affect millions of people—including  type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis,  and asthma—which mystifyingly cause the immune system to damage tissues in our bodies, may harbor a complex genetic component, a new study finds. This discovery could prompt better diagnosis and someday, better treatment options. A team of scientists from UC San Francisco,...

Given my sister’s history, I often wished she had Down syndrome. I’m sure that sounds odd, but when I was a kid, not to me. Jill was found to have Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS), a genetic disorder that bestows odd facial features and a small head, small stature, profuse body hair, heart problems, difficulty with...

A new wrinkle in federal funding for disputed gain-of-function studies (GOF) in which pathogens are modified to make them lethal or easier to transmit—the White House is putting funding on hold while experts craft a government-wide policy for evaluating the risks. The funding “pause,” says a White House blog (from the Office of Science and Technology...

Researchers seeking a cure for Type 1 diabetes may be a giant step closer to the prize. For most people with this chronic condition, the immune system goes awry, destroying insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas. When a substantial number of these cells are wiped out, little or no insulin is produced. With no insulin to...