Friday November 22, 2019

New Gene Responsible For Rare Genetic Hair Loss Discovered

However, the discovery of the gene already contributes to an improved diagnosis of the rare disease

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New gene for rare genetic hair loss discovered. IANS

Researchers have deciphered a new gene responsible for a rare form of genetic hair loss condition.

Hypotrichosis simplex occurs without other abnormalities. In infancy, fine hair tends to sprout sparsely. With increasing age, hair loss progresses. Ultimately, only a few hair is left on the head and body.

A team of researchers from the University Hospital of Bonn found that changes in the lanosterol synthase (LSS) gene lead to impairment of an important enzyme that has a crucial function in cholesterol metabolism.

However, the cholesterol blood values of those affected are not changed, the finsings showed.

“There is an alternative metabolic pathway for cholesterol, which plays an important role in the hair follicle and is not related to blood cholesterol levels,” said Regina C. Betz from the University’s Institute of Human Genetics.

For the study, reported in the American Journal of Human Genetics, the team examined the coding genes of three families that are not related to each other and are of different ancestry.

A total of eight relatives showed the typical symptoms of hair loss and had mutations in the LSS gene.

There is new hope for bald people to get back hair without going for transplantation as researchers have found that a drug originally developed to treat the bone disease, osteoporosis, stimulates hair growth.
However, the cholesterol blood values of those affected are not changed, the finsings showed, Pixabay

Using tissue samples, the scientists tried to find out exactly where the LSS is located in the hair follicle cells. The hair roots are formed in the follicle.

If the LSS gene is not mutated, the associated enzyme is located in a system of very fine channels in the follicle cells, the endoplasmic reticulum.

If a mutation is present, the lanosterol synthase also spreads outside these channels into the adjacent substance, the cytosol, the scientists observed.

“We are not yet able to say why the hair is falling out,” said lead author Maria-Teresa Romano, a doctoral student from the varsity.

“It is likely that the displacement of LSS from the endoplasmic reticulum results in a malfunction.”

Also Read- Managing Weight During Pregnancy May Affect Child’s Bone Health

“A better understanding of the causes of the disease may in future enable new approaches to the treatment of hair loss,” Romano said, adding that there is still a long way to go.

However, the discovery of the gene already contributes to an improved diagnosis of the rare disease. (IANS)

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Video Shows People Casually Discussing Gene Editing

The National Academy of Sciences posted the video earlier this week

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Video, Gene, Editing
This image made from the National Academy of Sciences website on Oct. 2, 2019, shows part of a video of people discussing gene editing and designer babies. VOA

A new video that shows people casually discussing gene editing and designer babies is making waves because of who posted it: the government-funded group leading efforts to set standards for the ethically dicey science.

The National Academy of Sciences posted the video earlier this week. It also sent a tweet that it removed after criticism arose. The tweet asked, “Do you dream of having a top student or star athlete?” And it said gene editing might eventually make this possible.

Video, Gene, Editing
A new video that shows people casually discussing gene editing and designer babies is making waves because of who posted it: the government-funded group leading efforts. Pixabay

Most scientists and the academy itself oppose altering the DNA of embryos to bestow such traits.

Also Read- How to Integrate Good Coding Practices in Developers?

Last year, a Chinese researcher’s claim to have edited the genes of twin girls was widely denounced and led to new calls for oversight. The academy has formed a scientific panel to consider that. (VOA)