Keyword: genomics

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  • Epigenetics: The sins of the father - The roots of inheritance may extend beyond the genome...

    03/14/2014 1:07:40 PM PDT · by neverdem · 32 replies
    Nature News ^ | 05 March 2014 | Virginia Hughes
    The roots of inheritance may extend beyond the genome, but the mechanisms remain a puzzle. When Brian Dias became a father last October, he was, like any new parent, mindful of the enormous responsibility that lay before him. From that moment on, every choice he made could affect his newborn son's physical and psychological development. But, unlike most new parents, Dias was also aware of the influence of his past experiences — not to mention those of his parents, his grandparents and beyond. Where one's ancestors lived, or how much they valued education, can clearly have effects that pass down...
  • The ABC’s of Your DNA - ‘Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code,’ at the Smithsonian

    08/31/2013 12:00:21 PM PDT · by neverdem · 8 replies
    NY Times ^ | August 29, 2013 | EDWARD ROTHSTEIN
    WASHINGTON — It has been a decade since the human genome was first sequenced and the 3.2 billion rungs of our DNA ladder laid out for analysis. That achievement — mapping the fundamental biological code that defines our species and characterizes us as individuals — may have implications as important as the splitting of the atom or the discovery of the wheel. We can already envision custom-designed medicines as well as custom-designed fetuses. There are ethical questions to be asked and scientific questions to be answered. And nothing about the subject is simple. But credit “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code,” an...
  • Genetic test fingers viral, bacterial infections: Method could help doctors treat children's fevers

    07/24/2013 12:29:45 AM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies
    Science News ^ | July 16, 2013 | Tina Hesman Saey
    By differentiating between bacterial and viral fevers, a new test may help doctors decide whether to prescribe antibiotics. Fevers are a common symptom of many infectious diseases, but it can be difficult to tell whether viruses or bacteria are the cause. By measuring gene activity in the blood of 22 sick children, Gregory Storch, a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and colleagues were able to distinguish bacteria-sparked fevers from ones kindled by viruses. The activity of hundreds of genes changed as the children’s immune systems responded to the pathogens, but the team found that...
  • The revolutionary blood test that could predict how long you'll live

    07/09/2013 9:02:11 AM PDT · by Hojczyk · 36 replies
    Mail Online ^ | July 9,2013 | EMMA INNES
    Chemical 'fingerprint' in the blood could provide clues to health later in life Metabolites indicate future lung function, bone density, and blood pressure Could pave the way for new treatments for age related conditionsA revolutionary new blood test could tell you how long you will live, and how quickly you will age. Scientists have discovered a chemical ‘fingerprint’ in the blood that may provide clues to an infant's health and rate of ageing near the end of life. The discovery raises the prospect of a simple test at birth that could help doctors stave off the ravages of disease in...
  • Bed bugs evolved unique adaptive strategy to resist pyrethroid insecticides

    03/14/2013 8:52:14 PM PDT · by neverdem · 18 replies
    Nature ^ | 14 March 2013 | Fang Zhu et al.
    Recent advances in genomic and post-genomic technologies have facilitated a genome-wide analysis of the insecticide resistance-associated genes in insects. Through bed bug, Cimex lectularius transcriptome analysis, we identified 14 molecular markers associated with pyrethroid resistance. Our studies revealed that most of the resistance-associated genes functioning in diverse mechanisms are expressed in the epidermal layer of the integument, which could prevent or slow down the toxin from reaching the target sites on nerve cells, where an additional layer of resistance (kdr) is possible. This strategy evolved in bed bugs is based on their unique morphological, physiological and behavioral characteristics and has...
  • DNA sequencers stymie superbug spread

    11/16/2012 2:02:48 PM PST · by neverdem · 3 replies
    NATURE NEWS ^ | 14 November 2012 | Ewen Callaway
    Whole-genome analysis helps identify source of MRSA outbreak on infant ward. A superbug outbreak that plagued a special-care neonatal unit in Cambridge, UK, for several months last year was brought to an end by insights gained from genome sequencing. The case, reported today in Lancet Infectious Disease, marks the first time that scientists have sequenced pathogen genomes to actively control an ongoing outbreak1. Sharon Peacock, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Cambridge, and her team became involved in the outbreak after three infants at nearby Rosie Hospital’s 24-cot special-care baby unit tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) within...
  • Genomics: The single life - Sequencing DNA from individual cells is changing the way that...

    11/05/2012 10:03:16 PM PST · by neverdem
    NATURE NEWS ^ | 31 October 2012 | Brian Owens
    Sequencing DNA from individual cells is changing the way that researchers think of humans as a whole. All Nicholas Navin needed was one cell — the issue was how to get it. It was 2010, and the postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York was exploring the genetic changes that drive breast cancer. Most of the cancer-genome studies before then had ground up bits of tumour tissue and sequenced the DNA en masse, giving a consensus picture of the cancer’s genome. But Navin wanted to work out the sequence from individual cells to see how they had...
  • Rapid test pinpoints newborns' genetic diseases in days

    10/04/2012 8:09:31 PM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    NATURE NEWS ^ | 03 October 2012 | Monya Baker
    Method raises hopes for routine whole-genome sequencing in neonatal intensive care. A faster DNA sequencing machine and streamlined analysis of the results can diagnose genetic disorders in days rather than weeks, as reported today in Science Translational Medicine1. Up to a third of the babies admitted to neonatal intensive care units have a genetic disease. Although symptoms may be severe, the genetic cause can be hard to pin down. Thousands of genetic diseases have been described, but relatively few tests are available, and even these may detect only the most common mutations. Whole-genome sequencing could test for many diseases at...
  • Human Genome Is Much More Than Just Genes

    09/06/2012 10:04:50 PM PDT · by neverdem · 19 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 5 September 2012 | Elizabeth Pennisi
    Enlarge Image Zooming in. This diagram illustrates a chromosome in ever-greater detail, as the ENCODE project drilled down to DNA to study the functional elements of the genome. Credit: ENCODE project The human genome—the sum total of hereditary information in a person—contains a lot more than the protein-coding genes teenagers learn about in school, a massive international project has found. When researchers decided to sequence the human genome in the late 1990s, they were focused on finding those traditional genes so as to identify all the proteins necessary for life. Each gene was thought to be a discrete piece...
  • Genome Study Points to Adaptation in Early African-Americans

    01/08/2012 2:22:04 PM PST · by neverdem · 24 replies · 2+ views
    NY Times ^ | January 2, 2012 | NICHOLAS WADE
    Researchers scanning the genomes of African-Americans say they see evidence of natural selection as their ancestors adapted to the harsh conditions of their new environment in America. The scientists, led by Li Jin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, report in the journal Genome Research that certain disease-causing variant genes became more common in African-Americans after their ancestors reached American shores — perhaps because they conferred greater, offsetting benefits. Other gene variants have become less common, the researchers say, like the gene for sickle cell hemoglobin, which in its more common single-dose form protects against malaria. The Shanghai...
  • The failure of the genome - If inherited genes are not to blame for our most common illnesses..?

    04/19/2011 12:03:55 AM PDT · by neverdem · 20 replies ^ | 17 April 2011 | Jonathan Latham
    If inherited genes are not to blame for our most common illnesses, how can we find out what is? Since the human genome was sequenced, over 10 years ago, hardly a week has gone by without some new genetic "breakthrough" being reported. Last week five new "genes for Alzheimer's disease" generated sometimes front-page coverage across the globe. But take a closer look and the reality is very different. Among all the genetic findings for common illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and mental illnesses, only a handful are of genuine significance for human health. Faulty genes rarely cause, or even...
  • I’ll Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?

    01/06/2011 5:57:32 PM PST · by neverdem · 6 replies
    Reason ^ | January 2011 | Ronald Bailey
    Our science correspondent reveals his genetic code. Soon you will too. Michael Cariaso, developer of the human genetics wiki SNPedia and the online gene analysis tool Promethease, has helped thousands of people unlock the secrets of their own genetic code. But when it comes to making his own gene screening tests publicly available for all the world to see, Cariaso prefers to hold the key close to his vest, worrying that such transparency might lead to personal embarrassment or discrimination by insurance companies or future employers. “Someone later might discover,” he says, “that I have genes for a short penis...
  • Regulating Personal Genomics to Death - The FDA threat to direct to consumer genetic testing.

    10/16/2010 9:52:37 AM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies
    Reason ^ | October 12, 2010 | Ronald Bailey
    In 2008, Time magazine named retail DNA testing the invention of the year. A scant two years later it is questionable whether this exciting new industry will survive heavy-handed regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In June, the FDA sent letters [PDF] to the leading direct to consumer (DTC) genetic testing companies asserting the agency's authority to require "premarket review" of their tests in order to "protect the public from medical products that may pose an unreasonable risk of harm." So what are the "unreasonable risks" posed by the DTC tests?Unlike X-rays or pharmaceuticals, there are no...
  • Mitochondrial genome analysis revises view of the initial peopling of North America

    07/09/2010 7:49:08 PM PDT · by neverdem · 84 replies · 2+ views
    EurekAlert ^ | 28-Jun-2010 | NA
    Contact: Peggy Calicchia 516-422-4012 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Mitochondrial genome analysis revises view of the initial peopling of North America June 29, 2010 – The initial peopling of North America from Asia occurred approximately 15,000-18,000 years ago, however estimations of the genetic diversity of the first settlers have remained inaccurate. In a report published online today in Genome Research (, researchers have found that the diversity of the first Americans has been significantly underestimated, underscoring the importance of comprehensive sampling for accurate analysis of human migrations. Substantial evidence suggests that humans first crossed into North America from Asia over...
  • A Decade Later, Genetic Map Yields Few New Cures

    06/12/2010 7:33:55 PM PDT · by neverdem · 28 replies · 683+ views
    NY Times ^ | June 12, 2010 | NICHOLAS WADE
    Ten years after President Bill Clinton announced that the first draft of the human genome was complete, medicine has yet to see any large part of the promised benefits. For biologists, the genome has yielded one insightful surprise after another. But the primary goal of the $3 billion Human Genome Project — to ferret out the genetic roots of common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s and then generate treatments — remains largely elusive. Indeed, after 10 years of effort, geneticists are almost back to square one in knowing where to look for the roots of common disease. One sign of...
  • Synthetic Genome Brings New Life to Bacterium

    05/21/2010 2:05:13 AM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies · 629+ views
    Science ^ | 21 May 2010 | Elizabeth Pennisi
    For 15 years, J. Craig Venter has chased a dream: to build a genome from scratch and use it to make synthetic life. Now, he and his team at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Rockville, Maryland, and San Diego, California, say they have realized that dream. In this week's Science Express (, they describe the stepwise creation of a bacterial chromosome and the successful transfer of it into a bacterium, where it replaced the native DNA. Powered by the synthetic genome, that microbial cell began replicating and making a new set of proteins. This is "a defining moment...
  • Lake sturgeon have genes from parasite, signs of human STD

    05/11/2010 11:12:45 AM PDT · by decimon · 19 replies · 577+ views
    Purdue University ^ | May 11, 2010 | Brian Wallheimer
    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - While trying to find a DNA-based test to determine the sex of lake sturgeon, Purdue University researchers found that the sturgeon genome contains trematode genes that didn't originally belong to it and may harbor a protozoan parasite that causes a sexually transmitted disease in humans. Genetics professor Andrew DeWoody and postdoctoral associate Matthew C. Hale found the parasite and pathogen genes while analyzing DNA from the gonads of lake sturgeon, a species that is on the decline because of overfishing and pollution of its habitats. The only way to determine a lake sturgeon's sex currently is...
  • The Search for Genes Leads to Unexpected Places

    04/29/2010 9:35:42 PM PDT · by neverdem · 19 replies · 638+ views
    NY Times ^ | April 26, 2010 | CARL ZIMMER
    Edward M. Marcotte is looking for drugs that can kill tumors by stopping blood vessel growth, and he and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin recently found some good targets — five human genes that are essential for that growth. Now they’re hunting for drugs that can stop those genes from working. Strangely, though, Dr. Marcotte did not discover the new genes in the human genome, nor in lab mice or even fruit flies. He and his colleagues found the genes in yeast. “On the face of it, it’s just crazy,” Dr. Marcotte said. After all, these...
  • Bursting the genomics bubble

    04/04/2010 8:49:50 PM PDT · by neverdem · 22 replies · 671+ views
    Nature ^ | 31 March 2010 | Philip Ball
    The Human Genome Project attracted investment beyond what a rational analysis would have predicted. There are pros and cons to that, says Philip Ball. If a venture capitalist had invested in sequencing the human genome, what would she have to show for it? For scientists, the Human Genome Project (HGP) might lay the foundation of tomorrow's medicine, with drugs tailored to your genetics. But a venture capitalist would want medical innovations here and now, not decades hence. Nearly ten years after the project's formal completion, there's not much sign of them.A team of researchers in Switzerland now argue that the...
  • Disease Cause Is Pinpointed With Genome

    03/10/2010 9:39:39 PM PST · by neverdem · 9 replies · 347+ views
    NY Times ^ | March 10, 2010 | NICHOLAS WADE
    Two research teams have independently decoded the entire genome of patients to find the exact genetic cause of their diseases. The approach may offer a new start in the so far disappointing effort to identify the genetic roots of major killers like heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. In the decade since the first full genetic code of a human was sequenced for some $500 million, less than a dozen genomes had been decoded, all of healthy people. Geneticists said the new research showed it was now possible to sequence the entire genome of a patient at reasonable cost and with...
  • Gut bacteria gene complement dwarfs human genome

    03/04/2010 12:16:08 AM PST · by neverdem · 15 replies · 594+ views
    Nature News ^ | 3 March 2010 | Andrew Bennett Hellman
    Sequencing project finds that Europeans share a surprising number of bacteria. Researchers have unveiled a catalogue of genes from microbes found in the human gut. The information could reveal how 'friendly' gut bacteria interact with the body to influence nutrition and disease. "This is the most powerful microscope that's been used so far to describe microbial communities," says George Weinstock, a geneticist at Washington University in St. Louis who was not involved in the study. The human body contains about ten times as many microbes as human cells, and most of them live in the gut. The new study, published...
  • Human genomics: The genome finishers (That pdf link is restricted access.)

    12/20/2009 2:57:19 PM PST · by neverdem · 5 replies · 402+ views
    Nature News ^ | 16 December 2009 | Elie Dolgin
    Dedicated scientists are working hard to close the gaps, fix the errors and finally complete the human genome sequence. ...Deanna Church has few distractions from the job that lies before her. On her computer sit 888 open 'tickets', or outstanding problems with the human genome sequence. Although that number fluctuates, it's a not-so-subtle reminder that she and her team at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) have a long way to go... --snip-- By April 2003, the sequencing had surpassed the international project's technical definition of completion — the sequence contained fewer than 1 error per 10,000 nucleotides and...
  • Tweaking the Genetic Code: Debunking Attempts to Engineer Evolution

    12/01/2009 9:22:15 AM PST · by GodGunsGuts · 26 replies · 1,287+ views
    ACTS & FACTS ^ | December 2009 | Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph.D.
    A new concept making its way through the scientific community holds that just a few key changes in the right genes will result in a whole new life form as different from its progenitor as a bird is from a lizard![1] This idea is being applied to a number of key problems in the evolutionary model, one of which is the lack of transitional forms in both the fossil record and the living (extant) record. The new concept supposedly adds support to the "punctuated equilibrium" model proposed by the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould. Dr. Gould derived his ideas...
  • Geneticists call for better draft sequences

    10/11/2009 8:13:39 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies · 441+ views
    Nature News ^ | 8 October 2009 | Elie Dolgin
    Proposed rankings would classify genomes by completeness and quality.Scientists have proposed classifying genome sequences into six groups, based on their quality.A. Sumner / Science Photo Library Researchers who have mapped a species' genome need to be more explicit about the quality of their sequence, says an international team of genome researchers."People generating these sequences should discriminate a bit more between the products that they provide to the rest of the scientific community," says Patrick Chain of the Joint Genome Institute at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico who is first author of a policy paper on genomic standards...
  • Human genetics: Hit or miss?

    10/07/2009 9:16:02 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies · 761+ views
    Nature News ^ | 7 October 2009 | Kelly Rae Chi
    Genome-wide association studies have identified hundreds of genetic clues to disease. Kelly Rae Chi looks at three to see just how on-target the approach seems to be. Download a PDF of this story Five years ago human geneticists rallied around an emerging concept. Technology had granted the ability to compare the genomes of individuals by looking at tens of thousands of known single-letter differences scattered across them. These differences, called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs, served as reference points or signposts of common variation between individuals. The idea was that common variants in the genome might contribute to the genetics...
  • Cardiovascular disease gets personal

    08/22/2009 12:03:18 AM PDT · by neverdem · 14 replies · 655+ views
    Nature News ^ | 19 August 2009 | Erika Check Hayden
    Gene-association studies hint at better ways of treating the leading cause of death, but capitalizing on them is proving to be a slow and difficult process. Erika Check Hayden reports. Cardiovascular conditions are the leading cause of death worldwide.A. MASSEE/SPL As personalized cancer treatment edges into the clinic, doctors and scientists are hoping that cardiovascular disease — the world's top killer — will be next to benefit from genomics.An avalanche of studies has linked genetic variants to various cardiovascular conditions and to patients' responses to commonly prescribed drugs. First up could be genetic guidance for the anti-clotting agents warfarin and...
  • Life, Evolution, Genomics, and Clouds From Outer Space?

    08/08/2009 1:32:49 PM PDT · by luckybogey · 229+ views
    LuckyBogey's Blog ^ | Auguest 8, 2009 | LuckyBogey
    What struck me was the incredible power that is developing in bioinformatics and genomics, which so resembles the evolution in computer software and hardware over the past 30 years. George Church’s discussion of the acceleration of the Moore’s law doubling time for genetic sequencing rates,, for example, was extraordinary, from 1.5 efoldings to close to 10 efoldings per year... Two other comments: (1) was intrigued by the fact that the human genome has not been fully sequenced, in spite of the hype, and (2) was amazed at the available phase space for new discovery, especially in forms of microbial life...
  • Exome sequencing takes centre stage in cancer profiling

    05/12/2009 7:34:57 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies · 691+ views
    Nature News ^ | 12 May 2009 | Brendan Maher
    Researchers question focus on coding regions.COLD SPRING HARBOR To help battle their way through the stream of data coming in from human gene sequencing, major cancer-genome screening projects such as the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) seem to be choosing to simplify matters.The ICGC aims eventually to sequence the full genomes of 25,000 tumour samples as well as those of the people from whom the tumours were taken, which would give 50,000 distinct genomes. But in the near term, the project is doing targeted sequencing of just the 1% of the genome known to code for proteins — the 'exons'...
  • Genes Show Limited Value in Predicting Diseases

    04/16/2009 10:37:59 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies · 620+ views
    NY Times ^ | April 16, 2009 | NICHOLAS WADE
    The era of personal genomic medicine may have to wait. The genetic analysis of common disease is turning out to be a lot more complex than expected. Since the human genome was decoded in 2003, researchers have been developing a powerful method for comparing the genomes of patients and healthy people, with the hope of pinpointing the DNA changes responsible for common diseases. This method, called a genomewide association study, has proved technically successful despite many skeptics’ initial doubts. But it has been disappointing in that the kind of genetic variation it detects has turned out to explain surprisingly little...
  • Time to sequence the 'red and the dead'

    04/14/2009 10:31:36 PM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies · 540+ views
    Nature News ^ | 14 April 2009 | Henry Nicholls
    New projects could tackle the genomics of species both critically endangered and already extinct. On the first weekend in April, a couple of dozen leading molecular biologists, conservationists and museum curators gathered at Pennsylvania State University in University Park to brainstorm about ways of harnessing the power of the latest molecular sequencing techniques to conservation goals."The cost of genome sequencing is falling at an extraordinary rate," says workshop co-organizer Stephan Schuster of Penn State University, who was a driving force behind the 2008 sequencing of a woolly-mammoth genome, the first complete genome of an extinct animal. "Now it is possible...
  • Genes 'linked to heart failure'

    03/22/2009 9:42:22 PM PDT · by neverdem · 15 replies · 604+ views
    Toowoomba Chronicle ^ | 23rd March 2009 | NA
    SCIENTISTS combing the human genome have discovered ten common genetic mutations that boost the risk of sudden cardiac arrest by subtly disrupting the heart beat, two studies released on Sunday reported. The findings shed light on the cause of the irregular rhythms that often underlie severe heart problems, and could point to new treatments, said the study, published in Nature Genetics. Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide, claiming upward of 17 million lives every year, according to the World Health Organization. Smoking, obesity and high cholesterol are common risk factors, but genes can be a critical factor too....
  • Skippy surprises scientists

    01/19/2009 1:04:36 PM PST · by GodGunsGuts · 46 replies · 906+ views
    CMI ^ | Carl Wieland
    Skippy surprises scientists by Carl Wieland 20 January 2009 Feeling jumpy? It may not be from what you think. Researchers at Australia’s government-backed Centre of Excellence for Kangaroo Genomics have mapped the genetic code of these marsupials, and were surprised at the amazing similarity to that of humans...
  • Exposing Obama's Genome - And Oprah Winfrey's, Brad Pitts', and yours

    12/31/2008 11:11:00 PM PST · by neverdem · 21 replies · 1,374+ views
    Reason ^ | December 30, 2008 | Ronald Bailey
    Cheap genome screening is becoming ever more widely available. For example, the price of a genome screening test offered by Silicon Valley startup 23andMe has dropped from $999 to $399, and it now reveals even more genetic information to customers. Let's say the price for such tests falls to the price of over-the-counter paternity tests, making it inexpensive and easy for DNA collected from anyone to be screened. Collecting DNA from suspects is a standard plot device in television shows like CSI: Miami and is a facet of real life crime solving. Investigators pick up a cigarette butt, a soft...
  • Scientists Find Clues to Aging in a Red Wine Ingredient’s Role in Activating a Protein

    11/26/2008 11:03:14 PM PST · by neverdem · 15 replies · 1,974+ views
    NY Times ^ | November 27, 2008 | NICHOLAS WADE
    A new insight into the reason for aging has been gained by scientists trying to understand how resveratrol, a minor ingredient of red wine, improves the health and lifespan of laboratory mice. They believe that the integrity of chromosomes is compromised as people age, and that resveratrol works by activating a protein known as sirtuin that restores the chromosomes to health. The finding, published online Wednesday in the journal Cell, is from a group led by David Sinclair of the Harvard Medical School. It is part of a growing effort by biologists to understand the sirtuins and other powerful agents...
  • The search for genome 'dark matter' moves closer

    11/20/2008 12:26:57 AM PST · by neverdem · 1 replies · 442+ views
    Nature News ^ | 17 November 2008 | Brendan Maher
    The multi-million dollar 1000 Genomes project is set to be finished in a year. The same but different. The 1000 Genomes project aims to catalogue human genetic variation.Punchstock An almost complete catalogue of human genetic variation could be available by the end of 2009, thanks to a massive genome sequencing project that includes academic and industrial partners around the world.Announcing completion of the pilot phase of the 1000 Genomes project, the project's co-chair David Altshuler said last week that it has already successfully catalogued 3.8 trillion bases of sequence — approximately a thousand times the number found in a single...
  • One is the loneliest number for mine-dwelling bacterium

    10/09/2008 11:01:43 PM PDT · by neverdem · 13 replies · 802+ views
    Nature News ^ | 9 October 2008 | Laura Starr
    Sole member of world's first single-species ecosystem depends on rocks and radioactivity for life. The rod-shaped D. audaxviator was recovered from thousands of litres of water collected deep in the Mponeng Mine in South Africa.Greg Wanger, J. Craig Venter Institute / Gordon Southam, University of Western Ontario Nestled kilometres down in the hot, dark vaults of Earth's crust, scientists have discovered a remarkably lonely bacterium species. The rod-shaped bacterium, Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator, lives independently of any other organism in a part of the Mponeng gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa, some 2.8 kilometres beneath Earth's surface. There, water flows from...
  • A Dissenting Voice as the Genome Is Sifted to Fight Disease

    09/16/2008 1:07:31 AM PDT · by neverdem · 3 replies · 219+ views
    NY Times ^ | September 16, 2008 | NICHOLAS WADE
    The principal rationale for the $3 billion spent to decode the human genome was that it would enable the discovery of the variant genes that predispose people to common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. A major expectation was that these variants had not been eliminated by natural selection because they harm people only later in life after their reproductive years are over, and hence that they would be common. This idea, called the common disease/common variant hypothesis, drove major developments in biology over the last five years. Washington financed the HapMap, a catalog of common genetic variation in the human...
  • Good for Cops, Bad for NIH

    09/05/2008 8:15:30 AM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies · 251+ views
    ScienceNOW Daily News ^ | 29 August 2008 | Jennifer Couzin
    When DNA from hundreds of people is pooled together, it has been impossible to identify any individuals. In what could be a boon for crime-fighters, however, a statistical technique now makes the task possible--allowing forensic detectives to determine whether a suspect handled a gun, for example. But the technique also creates a privacy concern about health data; the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, is now backpedaling on a policy mandating genetic sharing developed just 8 months ago for fear that the health information of people who participated in the studies could be identified. The authors of the...
  • A Trained Eye Finally Solved the Anthrax Puzzle

    08/21/2008 10:10:54 PM PDT · by neverdem · 20 replies · 723+ views
    NY Times ^ | August 21, 2008 | NICHOLAS WADE
    When the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it had cracked the long-unsolved anthrax case, the turning point cited by the bureau was its identification of a laboratory flask as the source of the anthrax. The dots, or in this case more than a thousand separate anthrax samples, were connected with the help of a group of scientists working secretly for some seven years. They succeeded by using a combination of new techniques not even invented in late 2001 when the anthrax-laced letters were sent, and that most old-fashioned attribute of expert scientists and detectives: a trained eye. Now, in their...
  • Sex, cleaner of genomes

    06/22/2008 2:11:51 AM PDT · by neverdem · 20 replies · 80+ views
    The water flea Daphnia pulex is a commonly used model organism among ecologists and other environmental scientists. Copyright Holder: P.D.N. Hebert, University of Guelph When sexual species reproduce asexually, they accumulate bad mutations at an increased rate, report two Indiana University Bloomington evolutionary biologists in this week's Science. The researchers used the model species Daphnia pulex, or water flea, for their studies. The finding supports a hypothesis that sex is an evolutionary housekeeper that adeptly reorders genes and efficiently removes deleterious gene mutations. The study also suggests sexual reproduction maintains its own existence by punishing, in a sense, individuals of...
  • Platypus Looks Strange on the Inside, Too

    05/18/2008 6:38:57 PM PDT · by neverdem · 31 replies · 2,781+ views
    NY Times ^ | May 8, 2008 | JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
    If it has a bill and webbed feet like a duck, lays eggs like a bird or a reptile but also produces milk and has a coat of fur like a mammal, what could the genetics of the duck-billed platypus possibly be like? Well, just as peculiar: an amalgam of genes reflecting significant branching and transitions in evolution. An international scientific team, which announced the first decoding of the platypus genome on Wednesday, said the findings provided “many clues to the function and evolution of all mammalian genomes,” including that of humans, and should “inspire rapid advances in other investigations...
  • New Genomics Software Infers Ancestry With High Accuracy

    03/27/2008 3:10:50 PM PDT · by blam · 18 replies · 683+ views
    Science Daily ^ | 3-27-2008 | Stanford University
    New Genomics Software Infers Ancestry With High Accuracy ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2008) — Some people may know where their ancestors lived 10 or 20 generations ago, but the rest of us can learn our distant biological heritage only from our DNA. New genomics analysis software developed by computer scientists at Stanford appears far more adept than prior methods at unraveling the ancestry of individuals. A new paper describes the HAPAA system, which takes its name from "hapa," the Hawaiian word for someone of mixed ancestry. Going back 20 generations the software can identify what continent or broad global region an...
  • Triumphs and tribulations for RNA interference

    03/27/2008 12:40:57 AM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies · 502+ views
    Nature News ^ | 26 March 2008 | Kerri Smith
    Two studies highlight promise and problems for gene silencing technique. Silencing RNA can be a powerful tool: but how does it work?MEDI-MATION/SPL Researchers have managed to silence tiny chunks of RNA in monkeys using a gene-therapy technique. Their success could offer a new way to treat conditions from cancer to cardiovascular disease. But another study of how RNA interference (RNAi) works — this time in mice — casts some doubt over how well researchers understand the process, and suggests caution in pursuing the technique in people. In the monkey study, researchers looked at microRNAs (miRNAs) — small chunks of RNA...
  • Gene hunters uncover networks behind disease - New technique offers different route to drug targets.

    03/16/2008 2:24:41 PM PDT · by neverdem · 4 replies · 609+ views
    Nature News ^ | 14 March 2008 | Heidi Ledford
    Networks of genes linked to obesity have been uncovered. Getty Researchers have used a new technique to identify networks of genes linked to obesity in both mice and humans. The procedure is more comprehensive than the traditional method of hunting for genes associated with disease, and is already being used to identify new drug targets. Over the past year, a flurry of studies have revealed genetic variations associated with disease. These ‘genome-wide association studies’ have been used to find variants associated with everything from heart disease to diabetes (See Genome studies: Genetics by numbers).Traditionally, single genes are linked with particular...
  • The Claim: Identical Twins Have Identical DNA (No, copy-number variation strikes again!)

    03/15/2008 12:24:17 AM PDT · by neverdem · 27 replies · 1,507+ views
    NY Times ^ | March 11, 2008 | ANAHAD O’CONNOR
    Really? THE FACTS It is a basic tenet of human biology, taught in grade schools everywhere: Identical twins come from the same fertilized egg and, thus, share identical genetic profiles. But according to new research, though identical twins share very similar genes, identical they are not. The discovery opens a new understanding of why two people who hail from the same embryo can differ in phenotype, as biologists refer to a person’s physical manifestation. The new findings appear in the March issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, in a study conducted by scientists at the University of Alabama...
  • Largest yet survey of human genetic diversity

    02/24/2008 10:07:03 PM PST · by neverdem · 18 replies · 304+ views
    Nature News ^ | 21 February 2008 | Erika Check Hayden
    DNA analyses highlight human differences — and similarities. Scientists have taken an unprecedented look at worldwide genetic diversity to illuminate the history of the world’s populations. In two papers — one published today in Science 1, the other published yesterday in Nature 2 — two teams performed the most thorough genetic analysis yet on samples from the Human Genome Diversity Project, which covers more than 50 geographic groups from all over the globe. The group publishing in Nature looked at 29 different populations; the group publishing in Science examined 51. Both analyzed variations in single letters of DNA, called single...
  • Team Uncovers New Evidence of Recent Human Evolution

    02/05/2008 10:45:27 PM PST · by neverdem · 11 replies · 305+ views
    ScienceNOW Daily News ^ | 4 February 2008 | Ann Gibbons
    Enlarge ImageAmber waves. Dependence on cereal grains such as barley influenced recent human evolution.Credit: USDA/Doug Wilson In the past 100,000 years, modern humans have colonized the far corners of the globe, adapting to new environments as they migrated. Researchers have long assumed that these dramatic transitions resulted in a sort of accelerated evolution in which genes for traits such as skin color and stature changed rapidly to allow humans to survive in their new habitats. Now, a team of French and Spanish researchers has found powerful new evidence to support this idea, identifying 582 genes that have evolved differently...
  • Genetic Bank Raises Issues of Practicality and Privacy

    01/19/2008 2:22:11 PM PST · by neverdem · 6 replies · 93+ views
    NY Times ^ | January 19, 2008 | AL BAKER
    Simple cotton swabs would be rubbed inside the mouths of suspects. The collected human cheek cells would then be mined for DNA strands. And those samples would be put together as potential evidence in prosecutions. But those few elemental steps — to be taken by city police officers — would represent a vast expansion of the tools available for solving criminal cases under a proposal laid out by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Thursday in his annual State of the City address. Virtually all suspects would have samples of their DNA taken. The concept leaps far beyond current practice, which...
  • Not Your Father's Genome

    01/15/2008 7:55:39 PM PST · by neverdem · 26 replies · 119+ views ^ | 1 January 2008 | GREG FEERO, M.D., PH.D.
    DR. FEERO is a family physician with a doctorate in human genetics from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a senior adviser for genomic medicine in the Office of the Director at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Our understanding of the genome is changing rapidly and drastically. For starters, the Human Genome Project has revealed that humans are, on a numerical basis, genetically less complex than a mustard plant (Arabidopsis). In fact, our genome contains between 20,000 and 25,000 sequences suggestive of “genes” encoding proteins, whereas Arabidopsis contains about 27,000. If that doesn't make much sense to you, don't...
  • Lasting genetic legacy of environment (Epigenome).

    12/20/2007 2:20:13 PM PST · by Jedi Master Pikachu · 11 replies · 510+ views
    BBC ^ | Thursday, December 20, 2007. | Monise Durrani
    Environment can change the way our genes work Environmental factors such as stress and diet could be affecting the genes of future generations leading to increased rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.A study of people suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the 9/11 attacks in New York made a striking discovery. The patients included mothers who were pregnant on 9/11 and found altered levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood of their babies. This effect was most pronounced for mothers who were in the third trimester of pregnancy suggesting events in the womb might be responsible....