Monthly Archives: January 2012

Organic kiwi is great for health, says study

Organic kiwi contains health promoting factors and this was studied by University of California researchers which undertook a comprehensive study for this purpose. Up till now the health benefits of organic and conventional foods was a debatable topic. Organic food has been found out to contain higher levels of polyphenols which is a healthy compound found in red wine and berries. Also these kiwis contain a higher level of antioxidant and ascorbic acid. Due to thick skin these kiwis can also resist pest attacks. The sales of organic foods are increasing across the globe and in 2003 the organic food market was worth $23-25 billion and it has been growing by nineteen percent every year. This gives us a hint that the future is organic food which can be really beneficial for our body systems. Via biologynews

Dental enamel can be grown using cultured cells

It is a known fact that dental enamel cannot regenerate itself since it is formed from cell layers which are lost by the time the tooth appears and hence the same enamel suffers wear and tear over the remaining human life. University of Tokyo researchers have created a new technique which can culture cells for producing enamels. They demonstrated that epithelial cells which were extracted from growing teeth of a six month old pig continued to grow when they were cultured on special feeder layers of cells. Now since researchers have attained success in the case of dental epithelial cells they could deploy the same technique in the case of dental mesenchymal cells and tooth formation. This technique could also be deployed for replacing damaged enamel and regeneration of the teeth. Via biologynews

IDR-1: Amino-acid peptide that boosts immune system

A powerful immune system is the pre-requisite for a healthy body. Our immune system is considered as the guard which fights with the negative bodies that tend to make us sick. And to help our immune system in its battle against the negative bodies, we have modern antibiotics which prevents us from the deadly attack of bacterias. But certain bacterias are found to be drug-resistant. The most dangerous of the lot are vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which are almost antibiotic-resistant. To find a solution for these superbugs, Immunologist Robert Hancock of the University of British Columbia studied a group of short proteins, or peptides, that in high concentrations can kill bacteria. He administered the peptides to superbug-infected mice, anticipating that the peptides might trigger ‘sepsis’, a potentially lethal condition brought on by bacteria in the bloodstream. But was amazed to see result which was the opposite of sepsis, but with one drawback that the peptides also caused allergy like reactions and killed healthy intestinal cells. Amazed by this experience, Hancock and his team made shorter peptides that they hoped would prevent sepsis without causing other complications. And the result of their effort is the innate defense regulator (IDR-1), consisting of 13-amino-acid peptide. IDR-1 does not directly kill the bacteria, instead it cautions the prime immune response of a body known as innate immunity. Once the innate immunity is stimulated, it guards our body for any subsequent infections by way of sending surplus white blood cells called monocytes and macrophages to gobble up invading pathogens but fewer of the sepsis inducing neutrophils. Hancock has co-founded a company to commercialize IDR-1, and he expects the clinical trials of IDR-1 to begin in 12 to 15 months. Hancock’s study has put our immune system in the fore-ground, in our battle against harmful bacterias. Online Behavior

University of Birmingham researchers figure out how field poppy prevents self-pollination

University of Birmingham researchers have revealed the manner in which field poppy prevents self pollination which if not controlled could result in shrinkage of gene pool and lead to unhealthy offspring. Professor Vernonica Franklin-Tong who led the research stated that poppy used phosphorylation, a common enzyme switch for preventing self pollination and this study could go a long way in offering a boost for plant breeders. Researchers figured out that when genetically identical pollen came into contact with stigma of the poppy it lead to numerous chemical reactions which prevented pollen tube growth and hence halt the fertilization process. Professor Vernonica Franklin-Tong stated: Most plants require pollen from another plant to successfully pollinate. Accidental self-pollination would lead to unhealthy and less successful offspring. To avoid this plants need robust ways to stop self-pollinating activity. Researchers have found out that if the key enzyme required in high metabolic activity is inhibited it could help in preventing the growth of pollen tube. Via innovations

South Korean scientists claim first cloned wolves

South Korean scientist Hwang-Woo-Suk claimed to have succeeded in cloning wolves. These two wolves belong to endanger species. According to Lee Byeong-chun, a veterinary professor of Seoul National University these two were born in Oct. 18 and 26 in 2005. The research department of University says that DNA test of both wolves , named Snuwolf and Snuwolffy shows that both are cloned and the result will be published in the Journal Cloning and stem cell. The team did not immediately provide any independent verification of the DNA tests. Lee’s team succeeded in cloning a female dog, an Afghan hound named Bona, last year after creating the world’s first cloned dog in 2005.

Gene therapy tool developed by scientists for delivering DNA

Gene therapy has been able to create excitement in the world of medicine but it has not been regarded as a feasible therapeutic method up till now. One of the problems being faced is that how one could get right gene into the right area and that too at the right time. In order to tackle this problem, researchers are in the process of developing a tool for dealing with this problem and an ultrathin nanoscale film consisting of DNA and water soluble polymers has been created by researchers which would ensure controlled release of DNA from the surface. The film is created one layer at a time with the aid of dip coating method and since each layer is so thin around ten thousand layers are required for achieving the thickness of one paper sheet. As it turns out, making the DNA-containing films is relatively straightforward but getting the DNA back out of the films is the hard part. Via biologynews

DuPont goes biotechnology way

DuPont which as of now is the world’s second largest chemical company is adopting biotechnology in its processes. The company has a biofuture vision and is looking forward to achieve economic growth through bio based raw materials. Charles O. Holliday, Jr., Chairman and CEO, DuPont stated: In the 21st century our emphasis will be on using nature’s processes to build sustainable systems and create sustainable products to address global need. Continue reading “DuPont goes biotechnology way” »

Artificial bone and tissue made from citric acid

Citric acid is the base for a polymer developed by a Professor Guillermo Ameer, which can be used in replacement of blood vessels and patch up damaged bone. He explained the procedure to make this polymer at the ‘American Chemical Society’ meeting in Chicago. According to Professor Ameer, combining citric acid with 1,8-octanediol- a non-toxic chemical results in a stretchy and strong yellow rubber that can be moulded into a wide variety of shapes and used to replace damaged body parts. when inserted into the body, the unique polymer causes almost no irritation and causes no adverse reaction to the body. This makes it a worthy replacement for the currently used PTFE tubes that clog within the first year and become nearly useless within four years. The polymer when mixed with hydroxyapatite powder gives out a very hard material that can be used to repair broken bones. As the tests made on animals revealed, it allows natural bone to grow into and over it, making the damaged bone as good as new. Hydroxyapatite powder is the same material that makes up natural bone and hence artificial bone is accepted without any adverse effects. affordable webdesign

Hereditary lung diseases linked to gene mutations

Genes could be one of the reasons behind fatal lung diseases. John Hopkins scientists have been able to find out the genes which may be the reason behind hereditary lung diseases. In order to arrive at the conclusion the researchers screened DNA samples of people having inherited IPF and found out that around eighty percent of them were having mutations in the genes which could lead to an enzyme which can help in lengthening the fragile ends of the chromosome. Mutations in the case of telomerase lead to the wear and tear of chromosome ends and ultimately lead to death of the cell. Mary Armanios, M.D., Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center stated: The scientists’ first hint that telomerase plays a role in IPF came from studying the genetic traits of a family with a rare, premature-aging disorder caused by short telomeres. Many of the family members were suffering from the disorder’s second-leading cause of death — pulmonary fibrosis. We thought that perhaps there might be a link between telomerase mutations and IPF. Though there are no genes tests as of now for IPF but researchers are looking for ways for assessing the risks by undertaking screening of telomere length. Via sciencedaily

India leaves China behind in biotechnology sector

Indians should really smile when they read this. India has left China behind by miles in the arena of biotechnology. With India developing as a leading biotech region in the Asian region it is expected to leave behind China for the first time with regards to the area planted with biotechnology crop. The area under cultivation with biotechnology crop in 2006 in India has tripled as compared to last year and now the area under cultivation in India stands at 3.8 million when compared to 3.5 million in China. Quality seeds coupled with good biotechnology have made India stand strong. India is adopting biotechnology in a huge manner for meeting their growing need for fuel, fiber and food. 2007 will witness India investing $80 million in national chain of research laboratories. As per RNCOS report: Indian Biotechnology Market Outlook (2006)’, biotech will greatly influence the Indian agriculture sector by developing a large number of GM seeds. Amplifying at the rate of 28.09% from 2005, the Indian biotech industry is believed to reach the level of US$ 5 Billion by 2010 end. Is China sitting with closed eyes and why has India been able to defeat it in the arena of biotechnology, this is a question which only China can answer well. Via newswiretoday