Science in the News: Week of March 27th

Our breakdown of interesting articles this week includes epigenetics and corn, new proteins to fight Down syndrome, good news from the conservation front, and how to use the immune system to fight cancer.

Immune System Kills Cancer (The Scientist, March 27, 2013)

If you are looking for a way to integrate the topic of cancer into your immune system lecture, then this article is a great starting point. Through modifying the T-cells of patients suffering from a particularly terminal version of leukemia, researchers were able to “cure” several cases by sending the cancer into remission. Further trials with T-cell engineering may prove a solution for a number of notoriously deadly cancers in the future.

Lizard species rediscovered after 135 years (Times of India, March 26, 2013)

We often focus on the negative aspects of biodiversity, such as extinction and ecosystem degradation. In a rare success story for conservation, a previously believed extinct species of lizard, “Geckoella Jeyporensis”, has been re-discovered in India, sparking hope for future findings of similar “lost” species.

New Down Syndrome Protein Found (The Scientist, March 26th, 2013)

Researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in California have identified a protein that could potentially cure some of the disorders associated with Down Syndrome.

Novel Way Plants Pass Traits to Next Generation: Inheritance Behavior in Corn Breaks Accepted Rules of Genetics (Science Daily, March 26, 2013)

In this article, researchers link epigenetic inheritance in corn to sequences of “junk” DNA and transposon activity. A good article for exploring the complexities of the genome and the interaction of genes, environmental factors and transposons.

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