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50 years out: Will your genes define your Rx?

Tylenol should relieve pain, cough suppressants should ease cough and serious ailments should reliably respond to vital medication. But when a prescribed medicine doesn’t do its intended job, it can be difficult to decide who or what is to blame.

It doesn’t help that sometimes the problem doesn’t lie within the medicine or the doctor; it can lie within your genes.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Master regulator of key cancer gene found, offers new drug target

Gene partnership may be fueling cancer spread in as much as 20 percent of cancers

A key cancer-causing gene, responsible for up to 20 percent of cancers, may have a weak spot in its armor, according to new research from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

The partnership of MYC, a gene long linked to cancer, and a non-coding RNA, PVT1, could be the key to understanding how MYC fuels cancer cells. The research is published in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

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For dogs, sole gene doesn’t equate to cancer

If you’re a dog lover, we have some good news. It turns out that a better understanding of the mechanisms behind aging and cancer could reduce the number of canines over the age of 10 that die from cancer each year. A better understanding of those same mechanisms may even yield big news for humans down the road.

Recently, University of Minnesota researchers made a surprising discovery about one gene implicated in canine aging. Their finding centered around a gene known as “TERT.”

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Kidney stone insight in dogs could boost relief for humans, too

Chances are, you know someone who’s had a kidney stone. The rock-like masses of calcium oxalate can be painful – and worse, can come back time and time again. As many as one in 10 people will develop a kidney stone during their lifetime.

Today, scientists know the biggest risk factor for kidney stones is genetics. However, just which genes passed from parent to child can claim responsibility for yielding the stones down the road isn’t yet known.

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Sequencing a turkey’s genome

Health Talk took a break from Thanksgiving meal preparation yesterday to talk turkey with University of Minnesota expert Kent Reed, Ph.D.

Reed is an evolutionary biologist and animal geneticist with the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He’s helped sequence upwards of 90 percent of the turkey genome with the Turkey Genome Mapping Project and is now working to characterize the turkey genome’s precursor: the turkey transcriptome.

Here’s what he has to say about your holiday centerpiece…

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New research expands understanding of sexual differentiation

Sexual differentiation is a major part of development for nearly all organisms, and scientists have long known the transformer 1 (tra-1) gene controls all difference between the sexes in the nematode C. elegans, a simple animal that has provided an important model of how other more complicated animals develop.

Though TRA-1 does not regulate sex in humans, it is related to the GLI, the family of genes that are important in human development and cancer.

Still, nearly four decades after the discovery of tra-1, scientists do not know much about what genes it controls to actually accomplish that task.

Now, new research from the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with the lab of Jason Lieb, Ph.D., at University of North Carolina, may shed some light on the topic.

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