Scientists uncover new class of mammalian genes with key functions

first_imgA research team at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has uncovered a vast new class of previously unrecognized mammalian genes that do not encode proteins, but instead function as long RNA molecules.Their findings, presented in the Feb. 1 advance online issue of the journal Nature, demonstrate that this novel class of “large intervening noncoding RNAs” or “lincRNAs” plays critical roles in both health and disease, including cancer, immune signaling, and stem cell biology.“We’ve known that the human genome still has many tricks up its sleeve,” said Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute and co-senior author of the Nature paper. “But, it is astounding to realize that there is a huge class of RNA-based genes that we have almost entirely missed until now.”Standard “textbook” genes encode RNAs that are translated into proteins, and mammalian genomes harbor about 20,000 such protein-coding genes. Some genes, however, encode functional RNAs that are never translated into proteins. These include a handful of classical examples known for decades and some recently discovered classes of tiny RNAs, such as microRNAs.By contrast, the newly discovered lincRNAs are thousands of bases long. Because only about 10 examples of functional lincRNAs were known previously, they seemed more like genomic oddities than critical components. The new Nature study shows that there are actually thousands of such genes and that they have been conserved across mammalian evolution.“The challenge in finding these lincRNAs is that they have been hiding in plain sight,” said John Rinn, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. “The human and mouse genomes are already known to produce many large RNA molecules, but the vast majority show no evolutionary conservation across species, suggesting that they may simply be ‘genomic noise’ without any biological function.”To uncover this large collection of new genes, the Broad scientific team looked not at the RNA molecules themselves but at telltale signs in the DNA called chromatin modifications or epigenomic marks. They searched for genomic regions that have the same chromatin patterns as protein-coding genes, but do not encode proteins. By surveying the genomes of four different types of mouse cells (including embryonic stem cells and cells from various tissue types), they found an astounding 1,586 such loci that had not been previously described. The researchers also found that the vast majority of these genomic regions are transcribed into lincRNAs, and that these are conserved across mammals.“The epigenomic marks revealed where these genes were hiding,” said Mitch Guttman, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) graduate student working at the Broad Institute. “Analysis of their sequence then revealed that the genes are highly conserved in mammalian genomes, which strongly suggested that these genes play critical biological functions.”By correlating the expression patterns of lincRNAs in various cell types with the expression patterns of known critical protein-coding genes in those same cells, the scientists observed that lincRNAs likely play critical roles in helping to regulate a variety of different cellular processes, including cell proliferation, immune surveillance, maintenance of embryonic stem cell pluripotency, neuronal and muscle development, and gametogenesis. Further experimental evidence from several of the identified lincRNAs verified these observations.Because of the stringent experimental conditions imposed by the researchers in identifying the 1,600 lincRNAs in the Nature study, it is likely that there are many more lincRNA genes hiding in plain sight in the genome, as well as other RNA-encoding genes that are as important to genome function as their better-recognized protein-coding counterparts.last_img read more

Humanitarian speaks on her work in response to genocide in home country

first_imgOccassionally referred to as “The Mother Teresa of Africa,” Marguerite Barankitse spoke on Monday on her humanitarian work, sparked in response to a genocide she witnessed in her native country, Burundi. Fr. Emmanuel Katongole, associate professor of theology and peace studies, interviewed Barankitse in a lecture titled “Love Has Made Me an Inventor.”According to Barankitse, a Hutu politician arranged for the murder of several of her family members due to social conflict between Hutus and Tutsis; her family members being Tutsis. She lost 60 percent of her family to the massacre that day and a few days later, Barankitse, a Tutsi herself, took refuge at her bishop’s house with a group of both Hutus and Tutsis. However, a group of Tutsis came to take revenge on the Hutus for the killings from a few days before.“Hutu and Tutsi were together but they came to [take] revenge,” she said. “But I said to them ‘Why do you [take] revenge [on] these mothers and fathers and children who are here? They didn’t kill.’”Barankitse was tied down by her fellow Tutsis and forced to watch as they killed Hutus who were hiding in the bishop’s buildings. She said this experience inspired her to want to bring change and peace to the world.“ … That was why I wanted to create a new generation,” she said. “When I was there, watching, I couldn’t stop them. I knew all the killers. Some of them were members of my family and they killed my friends.”Barankitse started an organization called Maison Shalom, a home for orphaned children. In addition to functioning as a living community, the home featured a school, businesses run by the children, a swimming pool and a cinema.The swimming pool was built as sort of a “revenge” against the military, Barankitse said. After buying land for the construction of the pool, the Minister of Defense opposed her decision to use the area. The reason for his opposition was that the military had put the bodies of their massacre victims on the land.However, she decided to build the pool despite this and invited military members to join her in clearing the land and swimming in the newly built pool.“At first, I invited the military to come, and we swam together and we cleaned our land … ” Barankitse said. “I put a cinema, I put a library there and also a hall for waiting for friends to celebrate and to turn the page together.“This was … because I want to show that it’s possible … where there was much death, I wanted to put much life and celebrate together — perpetrators and victims together. ”Though she said she experiences anger at the injustices perpetrated throughout the world, Barankitse retains hope in God’s love.“To see, since I was young, to repeat always this war—massacres in Rwanda, massacres in Uganda—it’s a shame,” she said. “And then I feel in my heart a holy anger, but I am not bitter. Because I know that I will win. I know that love will win. We pass, but God is an eternal love.”Eventually exiled from Burundi by a government who tried to assassinate her, Barankitse moved to Rwanda where she started a community center to help victims of mass atrocities heal.“I said ‘Oh God. I know that you give me … my mission. I went in the refugee camp. I have seen miserable, tortured children, raped women,’” she said. “Then I said ‘we are builders of hope.’ I decided to [build] a community center I called ‘Oasis of Peace’ where people can come and express their suffering.”Barankitse was also able to help students earn an education, she said.“I [have] sent more than 400 young students to the university in Rwanda and 10 in France … “ she said. “I want to create a community center where Rwandans, Congonese and Burundians will celebrate the victory of the love over hatred.”Barankitse said the most powerful and important force in life was love.“The treasure we have it’s not houses, it’s not car[s], it’s our capacity to love,” she said. “ … With love, you can change the world. But with money, I don’t know.“If you have no love, even [if] they give you the money, will you buy drug[s]? Weapons? You will destroy. But if you have love and they give you even one hundred dollars, then you [can] change the life of people.”Tags: Berundi, Hutus, Marguerite Barankitse, Rwanda, Tutsislast_img read more

SMC janitor charged with child pornography possession

first_imgSt. Joseph County police arrested a Saint Mary’s janitor Friday and charged him with nine felonies “related to the possession of child pornography and child exploitation,” according to press release from the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s office. College students, faculty and staff received an email Friday afternoon from College counsel Rich Nugent notifying them of the arrest.“Building services employee Luis Morales was taken into police custody at his home yesterday for allegedly downloading and distributing child pornography from his personal computer. The St. Joseph County Police Department Cybercrimes Unit attributed the criminal activity to a single IP address on our campus. Police would later determine that Morales used the College’s wireless network during his overnight shift when he was scheduled to clean the library,” Nugent stated in the email.Nugent said the College acted promptly to identify the person responsible for the crimes. Both Nugent and the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s office stated there is no evidence that students, faculty or staff were in danger or harmed by Morales.“The charges against Morales are very troubling. Such activity is heinous and deplorable and will not be tolerated by this administration. The College suspended Morales without pay pending the outcome of our own investigation. He has also been informed that he is not to come to campus,” Nugent said.A Saint Mary’s maintenance worker was fired and arrested in April 2014 for voyeurism at the College. David Summerfield pled guilty to misdemeanor voyeurism and criminal mischief in August 2014, and he was sentenced to 30 days in prison and a 30-day probation period following his prison sentence.Tags: SMClast_img read more

Pedro Portillo

first_img    A visitation is scheduled from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at Gabriel Funeral Home Chapel.  Graveside service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday at Calvary Cemetery under the direction of Gabriel Funeral Home. Survivors include:  spouse, Marleny Portillo; parent, Juana Trevino; children, Pedro Portillo, Sofia Portillo, Daniela Portillo, Amy Portillo, Anita Portillo and Alma Portillo; sisters, Ana Gazaway and Theresa Turcios; four nephews, 2 nieces, and a host of other relatives and friends. Pedro Portillo, 42, of Port Arthur died Saturday, November 2, 2013 at his residence.  A native of Port Arthur, Texas, he was a resident of Port Arthur for 27 years.last_img

Population Served

first_imgAlong with four groups within the 509th Bomb Wing — Maintenance, Medical, Operations and Support — Whiteman is proud to serve as host to a number of mission partners. These include: the Air Force Reserve’s 442nd Fighter Wing, the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing, the Missouri Army National Guard’s 1-135th Assault Helicopter Battalion and the 20th Attack Squadron, among others.Whiteman estimated population:Active duty 3,900Family members 5,200Retirees in local area 5,000Civilian employees 2,000Reserve and Guard 1,800last_img

Vermints settles ‘Vermont’ labeling claims with Attorney General’s office

first_imgThe Vermont Attorney General’s Office has settled a lawsuit alleging that VerMints, Inc, violated the law by labeling its flavored mints as ‘Vermont’ products when in fact they were made in Canada largely from out-of-state ingredients. The settlement requires VerMints and its President, Gary Rinkus of Braintree, Massachusetts, to donate $35,000 to the Vermont Foodbank, pay the State of Vermont $30,000, and add corrective labeling to its products for 18 months.‘Use of the term ‘Vermont’ has great economic value,’ said Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell, ‘and many businesses go to the expense of sourcing their ingredients and processing within the state in order to market their products as Vermont products.’‘We need to maintain a level playing field when it comes to claims of geographic origin, and to ensure that consumers who care about where their food comes from get accurate information in the marketplace,’ he added.VerMints’ products come in metal tins, and from 2006 to 2011, they were prominently labeled as ‘Vermont’s All-Natural Mints.’ Because they were manufactured in Canada from mostly non-Vermont ingredients, the labeling violated the Vermont Consumer Protection Act and Consumer Protection Rule 120, according to the Attorney General’s Office.The corrective advertising provision of the settlement requires VerMints to add the words ‘Produced in Canada’ to the front of tins sold to states in the northeast United States, to counter the impression that the products come from Vermont.Source: Attorney General, January 13, 2014last_img read more

Vermont Marks Canada Day, welcomes Canadians with communications campaign

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The State of Vermont has launched a “Welcome” communications campaign in Canada to reassure Canadians that Vermont greatly values their friendship, tourism and trade. The campaign launch coincides with Canada Day on Saturday, July 1, and includes 15-second(link is external) and 30-second(link is external) video spots in French that are running throughout Quebec.A welcome letter from Vermont Governor Phil Scott will be inserted into the official Vermont Vacation Guide that is distributed to residents of Canada. This year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.”As a border state, Vermont has a deep and long connection with our Canadian neighbors, particularly people from Quebec and Ontario,” said Wendy Knight, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. “Each year more than 650,000 Canadians visit Vermont, and we hope this ‘Welcome’ campaign conveys how much we appreciate the time they spend in our state.”The Canada “Welcome” campaign also includes video messages from Senator Patrick Leahy(link is external), Vermont’s senior Senator, Governor Scott(link is external), and Commissioner Knight(link is external). The videos will run on social media in both Quebec and Ontario on Saturday, July 1, and are also being shared with the Office of the Consulate General of Canada in Boston.  Source: State of Vermont 6.30.2017 VBM vermontbiz.comlast_img read more

Changes to NCUA reg review process could boost efficiency, says CUNA

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Improvements are needed in the National Credit Union Administration’s regulatory review process to make it more productive and efficient, the Credit Union National Association said in a Sept. 2 comment letter.Federal bank regulators are required by the 1996 Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Act (EGRPRA) to review their regulations at least once every 10 years. The NCUA participates in the process voluntarily, although separately from the other regulators. The NCUA also reviews one-third of its rules every year.“Credit union are subject to too many regulations, and thus we support efforts by NCUA and other agencies to reduce the regulatory obligations credit unions must meet,” CUNA Assistant General Counsel Lance Noggle wrote in the CUNA letter.However, CUNA urged the agency to consider these improvements to the process:Establish and maintain a regulatory reduction working group that would identify recommendations annually to improve, reduce or eliminate regulations, reporting requirements and directives; and continue reading »last_img read more

If You Think Everyone Else Has More Friends, You’re Not Alone

first_imgNPR:When you feel like everyone around you is having more fun and spending more time with friends, it can make you feel bad about yourself — even if it’s not true.But according to Ashley Whillans, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who studies how our view of the world affects our view of ourselves, this perception can challenge us to become more social and make more friends.This fear of missing out on parties or events is actually very common. It may be particularly acute among college freshmen because “entering into university is one of the key transition points in your life in establishing your identity in a new social environment,” Whillans says. In other words, it’s the first taste of navigating social situations as an adult.…Greg Walton, a psychologist at Stanford University, studies how to correct the belief that we are alone in our fears of being left out. His work focuses on helping minority students who are underrepresented in STEM fields to overcome their own fears that they don’t belong, and has demonstrated that doing so helps them improve academically and healthwise.Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Belisama Irish Dancers Perform At James A. Little Theater March 15

first_imgPhoto by Kate RussellCOMMUNITY News: The community is invited to join the Belisama Irish Dancers 2 p.m. Sunday, March 15 at the James A. Little Theater at the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe for Rhythm of Fire 2020, a wee bit early for St. Patrick’s Day.A family friendly celebration of dance and music from Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Mexico.They are joined this year by special guests from the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklorico and Flamenco programs, as well as Highland Dance Albuquerque.A fusion of traditional and contemporary Irish step-dancing styles with music that will have the audience clapping their hands and tapping their feet,  2 p.m. Sunday, March 15.Tickets are $15 for children/students/seniors and $20 for adults. Visit www.ticketssantafe.org or call 505.988.1234 to purchase tickets.Founded in 2006 by owner and director Adrienne Bellis and co-director Celia Bassett, Belisama Irish Dance School strives to help children and adults, ages 5 and up, to cultivate a love for traditional dance styles through a fun program that emphasizes health, creativity and cooperation. As well as performing with renowned artists such as Eileen Ivers, Leahy, Lunasa and Natalie MacMaster, Belisama performs regularly throughout the communities of Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Los Alamos at local and charity events.Several of the students have competed successfully throughout the United States and Ireland. View the full schedule of classes online at www.belisamairishdance.com.Belisama (bel-i-SAH-ma) is a Celtic goddess recognized in Romano-Gaulish inscriptions which equate her with Roman goddess Minerva. The name translates as ‘summer bright;’ Belisama’s consort Belenus is God of the Sun, and she shares many attributes with him. Belisama is also associated with wisdom, healing, forge and craft.Photo by James Cleveland Watleylast_img read more