News Archive

 

New Finding Accelerates Discovery of Disease Genes and Human Population History

May 9, 2001

In an exciting new development, scientists at the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research have found that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in northern Europeans—the single letter DNA differences that underlie disease susceptibility and individual variation—travel together in blocks that are much larger than previously thought. The finding has major implications for mapping disease genes and dissecting human population history.

Scientists Track Down the Root of Cloning Problems

May 1, 2001

Despite technological advances, two major problems continue to plague the field of animal cloning: few clones survive to term and those that do are often grotesquely large. The root of these problems has remained a mystery until now.

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.

Cate Lab Zooms in on the Structure of Protein Factories

March 29, 2001

Whitehead Associate Member Jamie Cate and his West Coast colleagues reported on an exciting image of the complete structure, including the moving parts, of an important molecule called the ribosome. This image zooms in on an intact ribosome—large protein factories found in all cells—at a higher resolution than scientists have ever viewed before.

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.

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