PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. Under the current global pandemic situation, PCR has become one of the most effective methods of controlling the pandemic in means of accurate and early detection of COVID-19. Simply, a selected region of a DNA molecule is identified and amplified in PCR. The target DNA is known as the template. Two primers are used in the process which are short oligonucleotide sequences that can hybridize with the template. Those two primers are the forward primer and the reverse primer that flank the target region. To amplify the desired region from the template, DNA polymerase…

Cell-Penetrating Peptide Mediates Intracellular Membrane Passage of Human Papillomavirus L2 Protein to Trigger Retrograde Trafficking

Pengwei Zhang, Gabriel Monteiro da Silva, Catherine Deatherage, Christopher Burd, Daniel DiMaio (2018).

Summarised by Changin Oh

Original article — https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018.07.031

Cellular membranes are the first line of host defense that physically block invading viruses. In other words, viruses must penetrate these membranes, to cause an infection. For example, Coronaviruses use their spike protein to pass through the host’s cellular membrane by virus-cellular membrane fusion. Alternatively , non-enveloped viruses use a lytic peptide to physically disrupt the membrane or form a large pore. …

Consider the fact that our cells contain the same DNA, but different cell types exist in our body; neurons, skin cells, liver cells, and others. How is this possible? Why are monozygotic twins, not actually identical? Why could a genetics experiment yield an inconclusive result?

The answer; epigenetics.

What is Epigenetics?

The term ‘epi’ means ‘above’, hence epigenetics translates to ‘above’ genetics. Precisely, it is the study of characteristics that do not involve changes to the DNA sequence, but rather, external heritable modifications that alter gene expression. …

Xenobots are living reconfigurable biobots created using the stem cells of African Clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). The first designs of the xenobots were created by the University of Vermont in collaboration with Tufts University’s Allen discovery centre.

An individual xenobot is composed of about 500 -1000 cells; making each one of them less than a millimetre (0.04 inches) in size.

You can be anything you want to be when you grow up!

Say the stem cells as they are a special type of cells that have a remarkable potential to renew themselves and an ability to differentiate into specific cell types. With their capability to regenerate and repair tissues, studies are conducted on its sources of origin, modes of differentiation, biological and chemical features and possible applications in the hope of finding a solution to some unsolvable issues regarding human health and medicine.

Two major characteristics are considered essential for a cell to be categorized under stem cells. One is…

Sekine, Andre Perez, Olga Rivera, Kristoffer, Jean-Baptiste, Annika Olsson, Sian, Habiba Kamal, Gordana Bogdanovic , Sandra Muschiol, David, Tobias Kammann, Johanna, Tiphaine Parrot, Elin Folkesson (2020)

Summarised by: Liping Wang

Original article: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867420310084?via%3Dihub

The clinical symptoms of COVID-19 can be quite different between individuals; the mortality is high among aging individuals while most people are prone to be asymptomatic or develop mild symptoms. The question then arises whether people with mild symptoms or in a convalescent phase can develop robust immunity against SARS-CoV-2 to help prevent re-infection. Memory T cells play important roles in creating helper and cytotoxic T cells…

What is gene therapy?

The average human body consists of trillions of small building blocks called cells. Within each of these cells, there are numerous genes. Genes contain the necessary genetic information to govern our bodily functions; As an example, a particular gene carries this unique “code” that is needed for the synthesis of this specific protein, which in turn exerts its defined biological role. The “code” that is the specific DNA sequence of the gene, can undergo alterations as a result of exposure to mutagens or due to the occurrence of spontaneous errors during replication. …

What are the oil spills?

Oil spills occur when large quantities of petroleum hydrocarbons leak into the environment from storage tanks, pipelines, non-suitable waste disposal practices, and leaching from landfills. Mainly they occur during shipping, offshore and onshore exploration and production and transportation. However, more than 90% of the oil pollution incidents are triggered by either natural causes such as runoff from land-based sources, or anthropogenic sources (not necessarily accidents) such as normal ship operation and tank washing.

Effects of oil spills

The costs of these environmental disasters are incalculable and can influence wildlife and human health. Marine oil spills…

The human body is an intricate system and it is truly amazing to ponder how it overcomes the constant flow of challenges concerning its survival. The immune system plays a pivotal role in this aspect, especially dealing with destructive challenges to preserve the corporal health and wellbeing. Every single part of the body is tightly guarded by this immune system, defending the body from harmful stimuli. There are instances though, this protective wall fails, allowing a window of opportunity for external or internal disease-causing pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and parasites to infiltrate into the body. One such type of…

Statistics is collecting, analysing, interpreting, and presenting data that you have collected throughout the years. This is crucial because it allows us to understand the study more deeply and assess it critically while adding credibility to how you validated your hypothesis. The development of statistics goes beyond the 17th century. It was inspired by the need to make sense of a large amount of data. Today, the field of statistics is armed with more sophisticated tools that we can apply to almost all scenarios to analyse our research data. Since statistics is highly interdisciplinary, you can apply these statistical tools…

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