Monthly Archives: May 2016

Maternal inflammation boosts serotonin, impairs fetal brain development in mice

Fighting the flu during pregnancy sickens a pregnant woman, but it may also put the fetus at a slightly increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders like autism later in life. A new study in pregnant mice offers a potential mechanism explaining why: Inflammation alters neurotransmitters and impairs growth of nerve cells in the developing fetal brain.

Faster, more efficient CRISPR editing in mice

Creating transgenic mice, while critical to biomedical research, is laborious and expensive, despite improvements since the advent of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. Now, biologists have invented a technique that simplifies, improves and lowers the cost of generating knockout mice. They discovered that electroporation can move CRISPR-Cas9 molecules into mouse embryos with nearly 100 percent efficiency, much better than the success from microinjecting Cas9 mRNA and guide RNA. The gene-editing success is also higher.

Critical inheritance from dad ensures healthy embryos

An important feature for life is what embryos receive from mom and dad upon fertilization. Centrioles, the structures responsible for cell division and flagella movement, are given by the paternal gamete. How the maternal gametes lose centrioles and its importance for female fertility has been an enigma. In a new study, a research team has shed light upon this critical mechanism whose deregulation leads to infertility.

Study identifies risk factors associated with eye abnormalities in infants with presumed Zika virus

Researchers have assessed and identified possible risk factors for ophthalmoscopic (an instrument used to visualize the back of the eye) findings in infants born with microcephaly (a birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head) and a presumed clinical diagnosis of Zika virus intrauterine infection.