News Archive

 

The Masculinization of the X Chromosome: Many Genes for Early Male Sperm Production Reside on the X Chromosome

March 29, 2001

In an entirely counterintuitive result, scientists have found that nearly half of all genes related to the earliest stages of sperm production reside not on the male sex (Y) chromosome as expected, but on the X chromosome, a chromosome universally thought of as the female sex chromosome.

Scientists Create First Animal Model of Rett Syndrome

March 2, 2001

Researchers from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have created the long-awaited animal model for Rett syndrome, one of the most common causes of mental retardation in females with an incidence of 1 in 10,000–15,000. The transgenic mouse model sheds much-needed light on the underlying mechanism of the disease and suggests a new reason for hope in the research toward therapies.

AIDS: Taming the Modern Plague: High Schoolers Learn About Frontiers in HIV Research

February 15, 2001

At the Whitehead Winter Lecture Series for High School Students, approximately 140 students from 40 area schools—and four students travelling from Singapore for the program—will hear about scientists’ efforts toward creating better therapies to combat HIV.

SNP Count Up to 1.4 Million: Map Accelerates Discovery of Disease Genes and Human Population History

February 12, 2001

In a companion volume to the “Book of Life,” scientists have created the largest publicly available catalog of single letter DNA differences (SNPs)—1.4 million SNPs—with their exact location in the human genome. The SNP map promises to revolutionize both mapping diseases and tracing human history. Already, it is accelerating discovery of disease genes and providing a “fossil record” of human population history, which suggests that we are all descended from a small group of about 10,000 people.

International Human Genome Mapping Consortium Publishes Physical Map of the Human Genome

February 12, 2001

The Human Genome Project international consortium today announced the publication of a draft sequence and initial analysis of the human genome–the genetic blueprint for a human being. The paper appears in the Feb.15 issue of the journal Nature. The draft sequence, which covers more than 90 percent of the human genome, represents the exact order of DNA’s four chemical bases–commonly abbreviated as A, T, C, and G–along the human chromosomes. This DNA text influences everything from eye color and height, to aging and disease.

Researchers Discover Weight-Loss Compound that Doesn’t Affect Food Intake

February 5, 2001

Researchers from the Whitehead Institute and Genset Corporation have found a new compound that controls weight gain in obese mice without affecting their food intake. The compound, called gAcrp30 and administered in daily low doses, caused profound and sustained weight loss in chubby mice eating a cafeteria diet—meals high in fat and sugar and available in unlimited quantities. Continuing the low daily doses allowed the mice to keep the weight off over a sustained period of time despite their fattening diet.

Dangerous Beauty: Fungal Flowers Offer Clues to Biofilm Formation on Medical Implants

February 1, 2001

At first glance, yeast growing on a jello-like medium look breathtakingly beautiful—like gossamer flowers with radial spokes emanating from a central hub (see cover of Science). But a florid fungus can be a dangerous beauty, able to coat medical implants with thin films causing serious complications in patients with hip and valve replacements. In fact, every year thousands of deaths can be traced to fungal infections around medical implants.

Scientists Discover Potent Protein that Prevents HIV Infection

January 11, 2001

In a promising advance in the war against AIDS, scientists have designed a potent, new protein that can prevent HIV infection by blocking its entry into human cells. The protein, called 5-Helix and designed to bind to a region in the HIV coat protein gp41, is able to prevent a wide range of HIV strains from fusing to the cell membrane and thereby infecting it.

New DNA Array Method Helps Researchers Decipher Genome's Master Switches

December 21, 2000

Researchers at the Whitehead Institute and Corning Inc. have invented a powerful new mircroarray technique that can decipher the function of master switches in a cell by identifying the circuit, or the set of genes, they control across the entire genome. The researchers show that the technique can correctly identify the circuits controlled by two known master switches in yeast. In addition, the technique allows researchers to unravel in a week what takes years to achieve by conventional methods.

Scientists Show Cloning Can Turn Back Developmental Clock and Faithfully Reproduce X-Inactivation

November 23, 2000

Settling a hotly debated issue in the field of cloning, a team of researchers from the Whitehead Institute and the University of Hawaii has shown that the egg can reset the developmental clock of a female adult cell, first reversing and then faithfully reproducing an early genetic event called X-inactivation. X-inactivation is a process by which one of two X chromosomes in female embryos is randomly silenced during development.

Whitehead Members Peter S. Kim and Robert A. Weinberg Elected to the Institute of Medicine

October 19, 2000

Whitehead members Peter S. Kim and Robert A. Weinberg are among the sixty new members elected this year to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a unit of the National Academy of Sciences. New members are elected based on their major contributions to health and medicine. Kim and Weinberg join Whitehead members Gerald R. Fink and Eric S. Lander, who are current members of the IOM.

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