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Everything posted by DrZoidberg

  1. As already mentioned, smallpox is the variola virus (major or minor). The vaccinia virus is closely related to cowpox and thus used to vaccinate towards smallpox giving birth to the term vaccine.
  2. The complement system is a complex cleavage cascade involving many C proteins (C1-9), if you need un-necessary detail a good immunology text will cover this. Generally you should only know the importance of the activation of C3 convertase to cleave C3 to create C3b! (via classical or alternate pathways). C3b is a major product that then permits further cascades, resulting in enhanced phagocytosis of antigen (e.g organism) known as opsonisation, or lysis of target via membrane attack complex formation, and initiation of acute immflamatory reactions. The latter is important for enhanced immune responses and C-reactive protein is vital for responses to bacterial infection (activation of complement).
  3. An autosomal-linked disorder (if rule out sex chromosome linkage due to 1:1 sex ratio) following non-Mendelian inheritance patterns. Again for more detail what inheritance pattern does this disorder follow?
  4. Inbreeding as you stated, increases recessive gene expression in a confined gene pool, hence increased genetic disease; however more potently, inbreeding depression results due to lack of gene pool variation. It is becoming clear that inbreeding decreases DNA fidelity such that mutations in cell replication or development (ie embryonic development) can occur more frequently when a fetus results from two closely related individuals. This is why inbreed children are more frequently stillborn, or if the mutation allows life, born with extra appendages or poor limb development etc
  5. I remember doing an essay on germline gene therapy a few years back, so not sure if the situation is the same today but for what i knew.... Yes, the body does attack the virus and this is one of the problems with using a viral DNA vector, the virus is attacked before it can inject its package. Secondly it is important to make sure the virus injects the DNA into the correct target cell (e.g. correct insulin gene into right pancreatic cells), so synthesising a virus which can evade the immune system to deliver DNA to the right target AND have a limited lifespan (so not to persist) is the current obstacle in gene therapy (although there are other vectors being explored).
  6. Ahhh, go to lancet and download the paper, fascinating methods used, painstaking work to reform a dual layer of tissue (smooth muscle and urethrial cells) about an organ shaped scaffold.
  7. Sounds promising, however the details are sketchy i.e. growing a 3D organ from a monolayer of bladder cells - interested to find more on this. Can foresee potential problems already with an organ bank i.e. staff transplanting organs into wrong hosts!
  8. I can assure i am not, being im a west country geezer working in Oxford. However there are a couple nice swede girls in my lab (-: I am investigating TLR expression.
  9. Great medical advancements for me would be the use of ether in surgery and the discovery and advancement of anaethesia. This overwhemingly increased patient survival. Others would be Pastuer's work on isolating microbes as source of infection, Metchnikoff's work on starfish (immune cells) or Garrod's pioneeringwork on enzymopathies linking genetic defects and deformed proteins to congenital disease.
  10. Interesting comment, any references? Perhaps a stronger and more sensitive immune system serves a greater importance in child-bearing mammals?
  11. In any sense ALL wild animals have competant immune systems otherwise they would not be there. Of course the strength of immune response differs between individuals due to genetic roots and environmental upbringing. Immune strengths can differ between species but all are susceptible to disease that is generic or specialist. For example the HIV virion is exclusive to invade human T cells and not monkey T cells. We now know why due to certain recognition markers lacking in monkey cells (so we are exploring other animal immune systems and learning). However, monkeys are liable to SIV infection whilst we usually aren't.
  12. Interesting topic. Firstly i should highlight that 'creating a monkey' from a human transcript or vice versa is impossible at this point in time. It is simply not a case of transferring missing genes. The importance of gene interaction and expression is becoming more evident in the way DNA 'works'. Alot of important differences may for example exist within introns of other genes or genes shared by us and our primate cousins. Furthermore novel signal codons (or novel genes) within 'junk' DNA stretches (obselete term i know, should be DNA of no known or lacking function) may of yet to be uncovered and play vital gene regulatory roles. The point really is genomes work collectively and 'cut and paste' of sequences have a high chance of missense or complete confusion. However with the advance of microarrays, greater understanding of gene interaction may one day lead to a monkey with the ability of speech via vocal chord/neural/brain enhancements!
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