Wednesday March 27, 2019

Researchers Discover Genes That Help Bacteria Prevent Treatment, Says Study

Transposons aid in the spread of genes that can give rise to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and more likely to cause disease. The newly discovered genes are encoded within a transposon, said the study

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The researchers found that Vitamin D in cells and mouse models can be beneficial in treating these damaged beta cells.
Representational image, pixabay

Researchers have discovered two genes that make some strains of harmful bacteria resistant to treatment by copper, which is a powerful and frequently used antibacterial agent, says a new study.

The discovery showed that Staphyloccocus aureus bacteria, which is highly resistant to antibiotics, can acquire additional genes that promote infections and antibacterial resistance and may open new paths for the development of antibacterial drugs.

The study, conducted by the Rutgers University in the US, showed the two genes, named copB and copL, in some strains of S. aureus bacteria protect the germs from copper.

The genes may promote the survival of S. aureus in settings, such as in hospitals, that could lead to infections or they may lead to S. aureus strains with higher copper resistance.

Recently, hospitals began using it against bacteria found on medical instruments and other surfaces. It has also been used for thousands of years to sterilise wounds and drinking water.

Genes
Genes (Representational image).

But the two newly discovered genes encode proteins that help remove copper from S. aureus cells and prevent it from entering.

Also Read- Novel Approach to Treat Cancer Cells

The findings, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, revealed that some strains of S. aureus have newly acquired genes embedded in their genome in pieces of DNA called transposons.

Transposons aid in the spread of genes that can give rise to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and more likely to cause disease. The newly discovered genes are encoded within a transposon, said the study. (IANS)

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To Ensure Transparency, WHO Panel Aims for Registry of All Human Gene-Editing Research

The WHO panel's statement said any human gene-editing work should be done for research only, should not be done in human clinical trials, and should be conducted transparently.

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scientists
A researcher works with embryos at a lab in Shenzhen in southern China's Guandong province, Oct. 9, 2018. An expert committee Tuesday called for the U.N. health agency to create a global registry of scientists working on gene editing. VOA

It would be irresponsible for any scientist to conduct human gene-editing studies in people, and a central registry of research plans should be set up to ensure transparency, World Health Organization experts said Tuesday.

After its first two-day meeting in Geneva, the WHO panel of gene-editing experts — which was established in December after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies — said it had agreed on a framework for setting future standards.

It said a central registry of all human genome-editing research was needed “in order to create an open and transparent database of ongoing work,” and asked the WHO to start setting up such a registry immediately.

“The committee will develop essential tools and guidance for all those working on this new technology to ensure maximum benefit and minimal risk to human health,” Soumya Swamanathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said in a statement.

FILE - He Jiankui, left, and Zhou Xiaoqin work a computer at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong province, Oct. 10, 2018. Chinese scientist He says he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies.
– He Jiankui, left, and Zhou Xiaoqin work a computer at a laboratory in Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong province, Oct. 10, 2018. Chinese scientist He says he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies. VOA

A Chinese scientist last year claimed to have edited the genes of twin baby girls.

News of the births prompted global condemnation, in part because it raised the ethical specter of so-called “designer babies” — in which embryos can be genetically modified to produce children with desirable traits.

Top scientists and ethicists from seven countries called last week for a global moratorium on gene editing of human eggs, sperm or embryos that would result in such genetically-altered babies — saying this “could have permanent and possibly harmful effects on the species.”

The WHO panel’s statement said any human gene-editing work should be done for research only, should not be done in human clinical trials, and should be conducted transparently.

genes
After its first two-day meeting in Geneva, the WHO panel of gene-editing experts — which was established in December after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies — said it had agreed on a framework for setting future standards. Pixabay

“It is irresponsible at this time for anyone to proceed with clinical applications of human germline genome editing.”

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The WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, welcomed the panel’s initial plans. “Gene editing holds incredible promise for health, but it also poses some risks, both ethically and medically,” he said in a statement.

The committee said it aims over the next two years to produce “a comprehensive governance framework” for national, local and international authorities to ensure human genome-editing science progresses within agreed ethical boundaries. (VOA)