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Showing results 31-35 of 35 for 'Molecular genetics'

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    Israelis Make Major Breakthrough in Turning Mature Cells into Skin Cells

    Tel Aviv University and Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have shown it is possible to turn mature cells from the heart, brain and other organs in mice models into skin cells. Their findings, just published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, proves for the first time that it is possible to repurpose the function of different mature cells across the body and harvest new tissue and organs from these cells. “The applications of this are unlimited – from transplants, which would eliminate long waiting lists and eliminate the common problem of immune system rejection of ‘foreign’ organs; to maybe one day curing deafness: taking any cell in the body and transforming it into melanocytes to aid in the restoration of hearing. The possibilities are really beyond the scope of the imagination,” said Prof. Carmit Levy of the TAU Sackler School of Medicine’s human molecular genetics and biochemistry department.

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    Making Larvae Count

    Prof. Rotem Sorek of the Weizmann Institute of Science; Prof. Roi Holzman of the School of Zoology and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University; and Dr. Moshe Kiflawi of Ben Gurion University have now produced a way to understand precisely which species of larvae are present in the water around reefs. Their study, which involved genetic “barcoding” of nearly all the fish species in the gulf between Eilat and Aqaba, not only showed which larvae were in the gulf, but how many of each were swimming around, at what time of year, and at what depths. This study was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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    “Brain on a Chip” Reveals How the Brain Folds

    Being born with a “tabula rasa” – a clean slate – is, in the case of the brain, something of a curse. Our brains are already wrinkled like walnuts by the time we are born. Babies born without these wrinkles – called smooth brain syndrome – suffer from severe developmental deficiencies and their life expectancy is markedly reduced. The gene that causes this syndrome recently helped Weizmann Institute of Science researchers to probe the physical forces that cause the brain’s wrinkles to form. In their findings, reported in Nature Physics, the researchers describe a method they developed for growing tiny “brains on chips” from human cells that enabled them to track the physical and biological mechanisms underlying the wrinkling process.

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    The Cartographer of Cells

    Last October, Aviv Regev spoke to a gathering of international scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science. For Regev, a computational and systems biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the gathering was also a homecoming of sorts. Regev earned her PhD from nearby Tel Aviv University in 2002. Now, 15 years later, she was back to discuss one of the most ambitious projects in the history of biology.