Academic Health Center
Stay Connected
research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Obesity can lead to the alteration of specific genes

In a new study from the University of Minnesota, researchers found there are numerous areas of the genome where obese and non-obese individuals differ in terms of their “methylome.”

Essentially, the researchers found that the level of DNA methylation (addition or subtraction of a methyl group on the DNA molecule) was related to level of body mass index (BMI), a marker of obesity. These differences in methylome are a type of “epigenetic” variation, which does not involve the genetic sequence itself, but rather is thought to alter which genes are turned “on” and “off” at a given point in time in a given tissue. Typical genetic sequences do differ but data shows these differences go beyond that.

Read more
education

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
research-and-clinical-trials

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.”

Read more
research-and-clinical-trials

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.

Read more
research-and-clinical-trials

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…

Read more