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Genes Determining Hair Colour To Boost Cancer Research

Cancer research to be boosted up by genes that determine hair colour.

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Gene Therapy may Help Treat Chronic Kidney Disease
Gene Therapy may Help Treat Chronic Kidney Disease. Pixabay
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An international team of scientists have identified 124 genes that play a major role in determining human hair colour variation, a finding that may pave way for better understanding of conditions linked to pigmentation like vitiligo and skin cancer.

The discovery sheds new light on our understanding of the genetic complexity underpinning variations in human pigmentation and could advance our knowledge of conditions linked to pigmentation, such as skin, testicular, prostate and ovarian cancers.

Out of the new 124 genes, more than 100 were not previously known to influence pigmentation, the study showed.

Cancer word on newspaper
Cancer. Pixabay

“The genetic study on pigmentation will improve our understanding of diseases like melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer,” said lead author Tim Spector, Professor at King’s College London.

Moreover, the findings, published in the journal Nature Genetics, are also relevant for forensic sciences, the researchers said.

“Finding these new hair colour genes is also important for further increasing the accuracy of hair colour prediction from DNA traces in future forensic applications, which can help to find unknown perpetrators of crime,” explained co-lead author Manfred Kayser Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in Netherlands.

Also Read: Nine new osteoarthritis genes discovered

For the study, the team analysed DNA data from almost 300,000 people of European descent, together with their self-reported hair colour information.

The results showed that, when it comes to European ancestry, nature prefers blonde women and brunette men.

“We found that women have significantly fairer hair than men, which reflects how important cultural practices and sexual preferences are in shaping our genes and biology,” Spector said.  IANS

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Scientists Track ‘Ghost Particle’ to Source for First Time

The blazar that is considered the source of the neutrino was named TXS 0506+056 and is believed to be the first known source of a high-energy neutrino

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This artist's impression of the active galactic nucleus shows the supermassive black hole at the center of the accretion disk sending a narrow high-energy jet of matter into space, perpendicular to the disc in this image by Science Communication Lab in Kiel, Germany, released on July 12, 2018. In a study published in the journal Science, researchers have determined that a supermassive black hole like this one is the source of high-energy neutrinos detected on Earth. (VOA)

Scientists have announced a new finding about the source of a high-energy neutrino, a subatomic particle detected at an observatory at the Earth’s South Pole.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, details the work of more than 1,000 scientists who pooled their research on the tiny particles, which are able to pass through matter in a straight line — like a ghost.

The neutrino’s ability to travel without deviation from its course means its source can be accurately tracked, unlike other types of subatomic particles that can be dragged off course by a magnetic field like the Earth’s.

“[Neutrinos are] very clean, they have simple interactions, and that means every single neutrino interaction tells you something,” said Heidi Schellman, a particle physicist at Oregon State University.

Also Read: Scientists Develop Potential Approach to Treat Dementia, Stroke

The scientists used a large observatory known as IceCube, in use since 2010, to hunt for neutrinos and try to track the source. A group of neutrinos coming from the same location over the past couple of years was determined to have emanated from a blazar, or black hole that aims a jet of radiation at Earth. The black hole is estimated to have been in a distant galaxy that destructed four billion years ago.

The blazar that is considered the source of the neutrino was named TXS 0506+056 and is believed to be the first known source of a high-energy neutrino.

The discovery could be a breakthrough for multimessenger astronomy, where scientists look at the entire electromagnetic spectrum and pool their findings, using known relationships between types of electromagnetic particles to put together a larger picture.

“It is an entirely new means for us to learn about the cosmos,” Roopesh Ojha of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center told The Washington Post. (VOA)

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