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Few people get their level of uric acid, a breakdown product of metabolism, measured in their blood. Based on Buck research published August 15 in PLOS Genetics, it might be time to rethink that, given that 20 percent of the population have elevated levels of uric acid, increasing their risk for gout, kidney stones, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and early death.
Immunotherapeutic drugs are a potent way of transforming the immune system into a ferocious guard dog that can sniff out and destroy tumor cells. But for some therapies, it helps to have a leash. Without one, immunotherapies can do their job too well, stimulating the immune system to overreact, causing systemic toxicity.
Mice scurry around while foraging for food, but genetics may be the unseen hand controlling these meandering movements. Researchers at University of Utah Health are using machine learning to draw links between genetic controls that shape incremental steps of instinctive and learned behaviors. The results are available online in Cell Reports on August 13.
A large team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.S. and one in Germany has found evidence that makes a case for a dominant-negative effect with TP53 mutations. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their study of such gene mutations and their work, which involved editing genes to test theorized outcomes, and what they learned. David Philip Lane with the Karolinska Institutet has published a Perspective piece in the same journal issue discussing the work, along with issues involved in reconciling the findings with those found in previous studies.
The fight against cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease for which no cure is currently available, continues, targeting in particular some of the mutations that cause it. In a new study, a research team of the Cibio Department of the University of Trento used genome editing to prove the efficacy of CRISPR-Cas to treat the genetic problem that causes the disease.
In recent decades, scientists have successfully mapped the human genome, but it's viewed in a way similar to viewing a screen without a sharp resolution picture. Now a new digital tool designed at the University of Missouri will allow scientists to study the detailed interactions between chromosomes within the human genome through a high-resolution, three-dimensional digital model. This model will help increase scientific knowledge while advancing precision medicine.
The Zika virus has affected over 60 million people, mostly in South America. It has potentially devastating consequences for pregnant women and their unborn children, many of whom are born with severe microcephaly and other developmental and neurological abnormalities. There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD)—a narrowing of the arteries serving the legs and feet —affects as many as 12 million Americans and 200 million people worldwide. It is a manifestation of clogged arteries, but until now, scientists lacked information about why some people with the disease presented with problems with their legs, some with their heart and some with strokes.

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