Common causes of complex diseases between Europeans and Asians

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revolutionized the field of complex disease genetics in the last six years. Many disease associations (i.e. genetic variants that increase risk for a specific disease) have been detected using this technique, but the reported variants tend to explain only small fractions of risk. Also, the causal variants that generate the associations unveiled by GWAS have not been identified. And their frequency and degree of sharing across different ethnical populations remains unknown. Arcadi Navarro, from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), set out to study the degree of sharing of disease-associated variants across populations, in order … Continue reading Common causes of complex diseases between Europeans and Asians

Science at PRBB video: Mark Nieuwenhuijsen’s lab (CREAL) in one minute

How is our health affected by pollution, green spaces, urban design and active transport? This is what Mark Nieuwenhuijsen is studying at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), located at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB). In this … Continue reading Science at PRBB video: Mark Nieuwenhuijsen’s lab (CREAL) in one minute

Female sex control: a third way

Females have an extra X chromosome as compared to males, and this can mean trouble – think of what happens when someone has an extra copy of any other chromosome, 21 being the most (in)famous! Dosage compensation is therefore essential, and there’s different ways of dealing with it. In humans, women inactivate one of their X chromosomes, while in the fruifly the opposite happens: males overactivate their only copy of X. The complex in charge of doing so is called MSL and male-specific-lethal-2 (msl2) is one of its subunits. Female flies must inhibit this gene in order to survive, and … Continue reading Female sex control: a third way

“Glow in the dark” worms

This image, of an immunostaining of the nerve system of the scale­worm Harmothoeimbricata was taken by Masha Plyuscheva, from the Evolutionary Genomics laboratory (CRG). To study the bioluminescence of sea dwellers, Masha dived to collect this scale­worm. When scared, the worm detaches a glowing scale, allowing it to escape while the predator is distracted. Masha stained the scate using DAPI to mark the nuclei of the cells in blue, and labeling the nerve system in green. The blue and green cylindrical structures are tubercles, parts of the bioluminescence system where the oxidized products of the bioluminescence reaction accumulate. This image … Continue reading “Glow in the dark” worms