If you have ever played a video game, you know that precision is the goal. Now imagine that busting cancer cells is your target, and pieces of genetic material called aptamers are your helpers. Cancer researchers are exploring aptamers as a promising new approach to targeting cancer treatment.
Scientists are studying White Leghorn chickens which have similar cholesterol levels to humans to understand atherosclerosis- the build-up of cholesterol in arteries. It triggers coronary artery disease, the number one killer in the United States, in which accumulations of cholesterol called plaques form on artery walls.
Epileptic seizures occur when the normal pattern of neurological activity is disturbed, causing convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. Fruit flies are viable for research in human diseases, as they share 75% of the genes that cause diseases in humans and hope to find the genetic cause of febrile seizures, which are brought on by high fever.
Spina bifida is a neural tube birth defect where the baby’s backbone and its surrounding membranes fail to properly develop. Researchers found one genetic mutation in Weimaraners that causes spina bifida, which is also present in humans, but not found in any other dog species.
Due to a buildup of plaque which hardens arteries, atherosclerosis can lead to complications, such as heart attack or stroke. Researchers breed Japanese quail to increase their susceptibility to dietary-induced atherosclerosis to understand the role of fatty foods in cardiovascular disease.
Researchers are studying zebrafish to determine which genes are involved in regeneration. If these genes can be found and expressed in humans, a damaged heart could essentially heal itself, speeding recovery from heart attacks and perhaps preventing heart failure.