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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Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
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For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
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At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
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