Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the major killers in Western societies. Recently, mutations in a gene called MEF2A on chromosome 15 were reported to be causative of premature CAD. The authors of the report failed to find the mutation in a large number of control individuals and thus concluded that the MEF2A mutation was the cause of the CAD. Only a single family was observed to carry the putative mutation, however.
A new study appearing in the April 1 print issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation overturns these findings. Len Pennacchio and colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have sequenced the MEF2A gene in about 300 patients with premature coronary heart disease and fail to find any causative mutations.
The researchers do find the precise mutation (a 21 base pair deletion) that was previously reported to be causative of CAD, but in this new JCI study, this mutation was found in three control subjects who did not have CAD or any other coronary heart disease. Thus, the studies demonstrate that MEF2A mutations are not common cause of heart disease and suggest that another one of 93 genes in that area of chromosome 15 was responsible for heart disease in the original family. These data question the role of MEF2A in CAD.
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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