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Cancer Genetics India Partners with CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology to Organize the 2nd Annual Next … – P&T Community

Cancer Genetics India Partners with CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology to Organize the 2nd Annual Next …
P&T Community
The objective of the conference is to provide recent updates and discuss the impact of diverse yet relevant applications of NGS and bioinformatics on key research areas such as agri-genomics, onco-genomics, microbiology, and human genetics. The opening …

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Cancer Genetics India Partners with CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology to Organize the 2nd Annual Next … – P&T Community

Evolution debate: Are humans continuing to evolve? | Genetic … – Genetic Literacy Project

Is natural selection still a major force in human evolution? As far back as high school biology, weve been taught to think the answer must be yes. But is it really true?

Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking On the Origin of Species back in 1859 around the same timethatanother Charles Charles Dickens was making a name for himself writing about social conditions in England. Dickens stories emerge from a period in which only 50 percent of British childrensurvived to adulthood a numbernot so different from animals in the jungle. In that vein, Darwin was right when he saidnatural selection was operating on humans full force.

Yet the forces that came into play in the 1850s are far different from those we experience today, prompting some high profile biologists to suggest thatour advanced medical capabilitieshave, in effect, blunted natural selection. In a 2013 Radio Times interview,science communicator David Attenborough describedit this way:

We are the only species to have put a halt to natural selection, of its own free will, as it were. We stopped natural selection as soon as we started being able to rear 9599 percent of our babies that are born.

Lowerchild mortalityrates arelargely due to vaccines, water purification, modern medical care and other technological advancements thathave allowed thehuman population toapproach the 7.5 billion mark.Why does this matter for natural selection? Its a simple matter that dying before producing offspring is the most effective filter for agene pool. Lesser traits are weeded out, while stronger ones are passed on.

Charles Darwin

And since natural selection is the most notable evolutionary force, there is a question about whether any significant human evolution will continue far into the future. Theres no clear answer yet, but compiling various proposals and hypotheses leads to a handful of future scenarios:

Scenario I: No major changes on the horizon

This is the boring scenario, so well get it out of the way first. While death before reproduction is an effective tool for culling out undesirable traits, there is a flip side to the equation.In the Stone Age, being less intelligent than ones peers would put an individual at higher risk of premature death by animal attack, for instance. But natural selection alsopromoted thedevelopment of valuable traits. Our smarter ancestorscould hunt better andfind more food leading to the development of farming and a host of other advancesthat enabled them to stay alive and reproduce.

But then a strange thing happened. Human society developed a sense of ethics and justice that led us to protect the weak. Today, we heal the sick. Infant mortality is low. Andchildren of low intelligence are put into special education classes. As a result,manyindividuals who would have been weeded out in the Stone Age are growing up to pass on their genes.

Finally, human populations are no longer genetically isolated. Along with natural selection, reproductive isolation such asfounder effects and population bottlenecksare major evolutionary processes that have shaped humanity. Buttoday, there is substantialgene flow as people from different continents frequently join to mate.The so-called races are blending, so humanity is evolving in that sense. But it is happening so quickly that within a couple of generations there wont be much left to blend. The planetary gene pool will be mixed about, leaving little room forhuman physical characteristics tochange in any significant way.

Scenario II: Natural selection continues

The main argument here is that currently were in a peaceful time, biologically speaking. Yet we could be on the verge of disease pandemics causing a Darwinian selective sieve.The jet-set age the very factor underlying the gene flow thats blending human races also can be a driving factor for the spread of a pandemic. The notorious influenza epidemic of 1918 came right at the end of World War I, claiming more lives than battlefield injuries.Today, we are much better at monitoring infectious disease threats the containment of the2014 Ebola virus outbreakin West Africa is one example but we also have a growing human population. Furthermore, there is some concern that antibiotic resistance could outpace the development of new anti-microbial drugs.

Alongside premature death, evolution is also powered by sexual selection. This means that although we support the survival of nearly every newborn to reproductive age, those who are better fit in terms of intelligence, ability to generate income, and physical attractiveness, could be more likely to attract mates who share those features.

Scenario III: Evolution shifts to off-world human colonies

In scenario I, we noted the absence ofreproductive isolation in modern times. Butthere is serious talk about sending humans to colonize other worlds. This could involve building freespace colonies (miniworlds constructed from asteroid material and shaped to rotate to provide gravity), floating cities in the atmosphere of Venus, or homes on the surface or below ground on various worlds. The most popular idea onepromoted by Elon Musk who hopes relocate thousands of humans within decades is to colonize Mars. Unless the colonists are placed completely underground, the Martian radiation environment could have a significant selective effect on human genetics.This is not because it would kill off colonists themselves, but it couldrender many of them sterile, or at least put significant selective pressure onreproductive cells.

Since we dont yet understandhow human embryos would fare in fractional gravity gravitational pull at the Martian surface is only 38 percent that of Earth theres a possibility of selective pressure in this regard too.

All of this is without assuming any isolation, because, of course humans would be arriving regularly from Earth, thereby adding to the Martian gene pool. On the other hand, should humans successfully colonize planets of other star systems, some biologists think that the reproductive isolation could be complete enough for notable evolutionary divergence away from Earthbound human populations.

Scenario IV: Transhumanism will drive evolution

Were already seeing humans using gene therapy to alter their genes. Transhumanists seek to change themselves through a range oftechnologies, includingrobotics, bionics, computer mind uploading,artificial wombs andgenome editing. These technologies are potentiallystrong enough to give humans the power to essentially take over their own evolution.

With a desire to improve both human performance and appearance,the transhumanist factor makes it hard to predict where this could go.Theartificial womb, for example, could remove constraints on fetal head circumference. Its not impossible to thinkwe could seehumans sporting heads like the science fiction alien, ET. The TV science fiction cloning thriller Orphan Black included a transhumanist character with a tail. Will there be people like that in real life? Or should we merely expect body additions that are practical, such as wings for colonists on low-gravity planets?

Importantly, the four scenarios outlined above are idealized. Each has its merits, and so all can occur. It could be thathuman evolution will continue,based on a combination of each of these scenarios.

David Warmflash is an astrobiologist, physician, and science writer. Follow @CosmicEvolution to read what he is saying on Twitter.

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Evolution debate: Are humans continuing to evolve? | Genetic … – Genetic Literacy Project

New Marshfield Clinic study aims to ID genetic factors linked to severity of blastomycosis illnesses – Wisconsin State Farmer

Wisconsin State Farmer 10:45 a.m. CT Feb. 20, 2017

Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation(Photo: Supplied)

Marshfield -Marshfield Clinic scientists have launched a new study aimed at determining which genetic factors increase peoples susceptibility to blastomycosis, a deadly fungal infection found throughout central and northern Wisconsin.

The first phase will include recruitment of up to 350 study participants. Anyone previously diagnosed with blastomycosis, or blasto, is encouraged to participate in the study, which could give doctors insight into a mysterious disease that has impacted Wisconsinites for generations.

Were in the heart of blasto country; one significant frustration is we dont know a lot about the disease, said Dr. Holly Frost, study co-investigator and pediatrician at Marshfield Clinic Minocqua Center. If we can find genetic variations that indicate which people respond severely to this disease, it could speed up diagnoses and allow doctors to treat it earlier.

A concern with blasto is the spectrum of severity among patients of all ages and overall health. For instance, the lung infection may spread quickly in a healthy child, resulting in death. Meanwhile, a 70-year-old adult with a compromised immune system may recover quickly.

Thats why its so important researchers unearth any genetic clues that could put doctors closer to understanding blastomycosis, said Jennifer Meece, Ph.D., a Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (MCRF) scientist and national blasto expert who has studied the disease for more than 10 years.

Scientists know breathing in a naturally occurring fungus often found in moist soil containing rotting plants and wood causes blasto and most infections occur in spring and fall. However, symptoms are similar to other respiratory illnesses, making it difficult to identify early. Also, symptoms dont develop until 3-15 weeks after infection. And while its classified as a rare disease nationally, cases in Wisconsin far exceed the national average.

So much about blastomycosis remains unknown and seemingly random from who is susceptible to what exactly spurs an outbreak but we know the answers are on the horizon, said Meece, co-investigator and director of MCRFs Integrated Research and Development Laboratory. Its enthralling to launch such a study that could impact so many peoples lives.

The study is open to children and adults in Wisconsin, regardless of where they were diagnosed. Study participants do not need to be Marshfield Clinic patients. Due to budget constraints, this first study requires all participants speak English, given no resources for translation.

Participation requires about one hour of clinic time for researchers to gather a sample, explain the study and answer questions. Each participant will receive $25. For more information call 715-221-6445 or email Blastomycosis.study@mcrf.mfldclin.edu.

This study is funded by $150,000 from the Marshfield Clinic Developments Clinician Scientist Research Award.

Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (MCRF), a division of Marshfield Clinic, was founded in 1959. Its the largest private medical research institute in Wisconsin. MCRF consists of research centers in clinical research, agricultural health and safety, epidemiology, human genetics, and biomedical informatics. Marshfield Clinic investigators publish extensively in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals addressing a wide range of diseases and other health issues, including cancer, infectious diseases, heart disease, diabetes, eye disease, neurological disease, pediatrics, radiology, women’s health, agricultural safety and genetics.

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New Marshfield Clinic study aims to ID genetic factors linked to severity of blastomycosis illnesses – Wisconsin State Farmer

Human Genetics Contributes To Zika-Induced Brain Damage – MedicalResearch.com (blog)

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ping Wu

Ping Wu, MD, PhDJohn S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Neurological Recovery Professor, Department of Neuroscience & Cell Biology University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX 77555-0620

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Zika viral infection poses a major global public health threat, evidenced by recent outbreaks in America with many cases of microcephaly in newborns and other neurological impairments. A critical knowledge gap in our understanding is the role of host determinants of Zika-mediated fetal malformation. For example, not all infants born to Zika-infected women develop microcephaly, and there is a wide range of Zika-induced brain damage. To begin to fill the gap, we infected brain stem cells that were derived from three human donors, and found that only two of them exhibited severer deficits in nerve cell production along with aberrant alterations in gene expression.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study indicates that human genetic makeup may be a determinant for the severity of Zika-induced brain damage.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further studies are needed to identitywhat genes contribute to the human differences after Zika infection.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: It is known that not all Zika virus strains causemicrocephaly. Our study now shows that brain cells from different human individuals can respond to the same Zika virus strain differently.Understanding the molecular mechanisms of human and viral determinants in response to Zika injection will provide important insights into new strategies to minimize ZIKV-mediated fetal brain malformations.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Stem Cell Reports:

Differential Responses of Human Fetal Brain Neural Stem Cells to Zika Virus Infection

Erica L. McGrath10,Shannan L. Rossi10,Junling Gao10,Steven G. Widen,Auston C. Grant,Tiffany J. Dunn,Sasha R. Azar, Christopher M. Roundy,Ying Xiong,Deborah J. Prusak,Bradford D. Loucas,Thomas G. Wood,Yongjia Yu,Ildefonso Fernndez-Salas,Scott C. Weaver,Nikos Vasilakis ,Ping Wu10Co-first author Published Online: February 16, 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Human Genetics Contributes To Zika-Induced Brain Damage – MedicalResearch.com (blog)

Health in brief for Feb. 20 – Charleston Post Courier

Leaders join autism board

Lowcountry Autism Foundation recently elected four new board members. David Hoyle, Cynthia Maxwell, Molly McGuire and Allison Nesser will each serve a three-year term.

The Foundation, housed at the Medical University of South Carolina, also added a new advisory board, which will be led byElizabeth Boineau.

Clemson opens genetics center

Clemson University unveiled last week the new Self Regional Hall in Greenwood. The building will house the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics at the Greenwood Genetic Center.

“Self Regional Hall is a state-of-the-art facility that provides the resources our scientists need to understand the genetic underpinnings of disorders,” said Mark Leising, interim dean of the College of Science at Clemson, in a press release.

“This facility, and its proximity to the Greenwood Genetic Center, elevates our ability to attract the brightest scientific talent to South Carolina and enhances our efforts to tackle genetic disorders,” Leising said.

– Lauren Sausser

Reach Lauren Sausser at 843-937-5598.

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Health in brief for Feb. 20 – Charleston Post Courier

Major report prepares ground for genetic modification of human embryos – The Guardian

Once research has shown it is safe to do so, human embryos, sperm and eggs could all be genetically manipulated to mend faulty genes which are known to cause serious disease or disability. Photograph: TEK image/Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF

Powerful gene editing procedures could one day be allowed to prevent people from passing on serious medical conditions to their children, according to a major report from senior US researchers.

The cautious endorsement from two of the most prestigious US science institutions means that human embryos, sperm and eggs could all be genetically manipulated to mend faulty genes which are known to cause serious disease or disability, once research has shown it is safe to do so.

The report from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine says the procedure is highly contentious because any genetic changes that are made are then inherited by the next generation. The technology would therefore cross a line many have viewed as ethically inviolable, it states.

Most scientists agree that far more work is needed before clinical trials of so-called germline therapies can begin in humans. But the report argues that if the procedure is found to be safe and effective in the years ahead, it should not be ruled out in exceptional cases.

We have identified a very strict set of criteria which, if satisfied, could make it permissible to start clinical trials, said Alta Charo, co-chair of the report committee and professor of law and bioethics at the University of WisconsinMadison. While gene editing is unlikely to affect the prevalence of diseases any time soon, it could provide some families with their best hope for having healthy children.

According to the report, human embryos, sperm and eggs should only be considered for gene editing to prevent serious conditions and when no other alternative is available. To go ahead, scientists would have to be confident they could stop a disorder by rewriting the DNA in a faulty gene to make it into a healthy version already found in the population.

The report stresses the need for a stringent oversight system for any such trials to make sure scientists, patients and the broader public understand the risks and benefits, and to come down hard on any clinics that offer treatment for less serious disorders or for human enhancement.

There is an enormous amount of research that has to go into this, and then the question is what are the conditions where youd even consider it, and those are very tightly defined, said Rudolf Jaenisch, a member of the report committee and professor of biology at MIT. It would be conditions where no other options exist to have a healthy baby.

One example is when an adult carries two copies rather than one of the gene that causes Huntingtons disease, a devastating condition that steadily damages nerves in the brain. If that person has children they will inherit at least one copy and will develop the disease. With gene editing, harmful copies could potentially be fixed in the parents sperm or eggs, or in any embryos created through IVF.

Under British law, gene edited embryos, or embryos made with genetically engineered sperm or eggs, cannot be implanted into a woman. The only exception, endorsed by parliament in 2015, is for a procedure called mitochondrial transfer, which aims to prevent women from passing on genetic diseases to their children. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration is currently not allowed to consider applications for germline therapy clinical trials, but the temporary restriction is only in place until April this year.

The national academies report comes at a time when scientists are making spectacular progress in genome editing. With the latest gene editing tool, named Crispr-cas9, scientists can alter single letters of the DNA code, or rewrite whole genes. The technique has given researchers unprecedented insights into the basic biology of development and cancer, but has also been tested in animals as a treatment for a wide range of diseases. Last year, a Chinese group became the first to launch a trial of Crispr-cas9 to treat patients with aggressive lung cancer for whom all other therapies had failed.

In separate research published in Nature Communications on Wednesday, scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle used gene editing to rewrite faulty genes responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy in adult mice. Were a long way from clinical application but theres no doubt that the results of this study are exciting, said Darren Griffin, a geneticist at the University of Kent. Other studies reporting progress with different diseases emerge at least every month.

The national academies report goes on to back the use of genome editing to correct faulty genes in adult tissues, such as the liver, lungs and heart, where the changes will not be passed on to children. But while it recommends that the tool is used only to prevent and treat diseases and disabilities, the report points out that in the future, the same interventions could potentially enhance peoples natural abilities. For example, a gene editing therapy that boosts the muscles of patients with muscular dystrophy could perhaps be given to healthy people to give them superhuman strength. We need an ongoing public conversation about how much value we place on some of these so-called enhancements, said Charo. Until we know that, we cant know how to value them against the risks.

Even the academies heavily-caveated endorsement of gene editing will raise fears of a slippery slope that leads to a society of genetic haves and have-nots. But Richard Hynes, a report chair and cancer researcher at MIT, said that regulations could effectively block the use of the tools for enhancement. The slope is not very slippery. Friction is introduced by the regulatory system, he said.

Charo ruled out the use of gene editing to boost peoples intelligence, which is thought to be influenced by hundreds, if not thousands, of genes. We have no idea how to define intelligence, let alone how to manipulate it genetically, Charo said. Its one of the examples that is raised all the time, but its one of the least likely to be relevant, because we dont have a clue how wed do that.

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Major report prepares ground for genetic modification of human embryos – The Guardian

New research facility opens at Greenwood Genetics Center – Anderson Independent Mail

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Liv Osby , losby@gannett.com Published 4:59 p.m. ET Feb. 16, 2017 | Updated 9:54 a.m. ET Feb. 17, 2017

Self Regional Hall(Photo: Craig Mahaffey/Clemson University)

A new facility that will house the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics has opened at the Greenwood Genetic Center.

The $6 million 17,000-square-foot structure, named Self Regional Hall, will allowClemsons growing genetics program to collaborate closely withresearchers at the center and to focus on early diagnostic tools for autism, cognitive developmental disorders, cancer and rare metabolic disorders.

Opening Self Regional Hall means that we will be able to do even more to help children with genetic disordersand their families, and to educate graduate students who will go out into the world and make their own impact, said Clemson University President James P. Clements, who has a child with special needs.

As you all know,” he added, “an early diagnosis can make a huge difference for a child and their family because the earlier you can figure out what a child needs the earlier you can intervene and begin treatment.

The building will house eight laboratories and several classrooms, conference rooms and offices for graduate students and faculty, officials said.

GCC director Dr. Steve Skinner said the facilityis the nextstep in a collaboration of more than 20 years.

“We look forward to our joint efforts with both Clemson and Self Regional Healthcare to advance the research and discoveries that will increase our understanding and treatment of human genetic disorders, he said.

For more information about GGC, go towww.ggc.org.

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New research facility opens at Greenwood Genetics Center – Anderson Independent Mail

New Jersey Transit

Home > Careers > Equal Opportunity in Service and Employment

It is the policy of NJ TRANSIT to promote equal opportunity by providing service and employment through practices that ensure the full realization of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, national origin, age, ancestry, creed, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, civil unions, veteran (including liability for service in the armed forces), disability or genetic status, including refusal to submit to a genetic test or to make available the results of a genetic test.

To implement these policies, the Company:

Equal Opportunity is not only the law, but is a principle of NJ TRANSIT’s operation and as such is evaluated and monitored as any other major goal of our company. All management personnel share in the Company’s EEO goals and will be evaluated on the success of the EEO program the same way as their performance is evaluated on other company goals. Additionally, violations of the company’s equal opportunity policy are a form of employee misconduct that undermines the integrity of the employment relationship and that may be unlawful. Accordingly, it will not be condoned, and any substantiated violations of this policy will result in discipline up to and including termination of employment.

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Human genetics center opens in Greenwood – GSA Business

The Clemson Center for Human Genetics is open on the campus of Greenwood Genetic Center in Greenwood.

The new 17,000-square-foot facility, known as Self Regional Hall, will allow Clemson Universitys genetics program researchers and students to work closely with research teams at GGC, according to a news release. The center will initially focus on discovering and developing early diagnostic tools and therapies for autism, cognitive developmental disorders, oncology and lysosomal disorders.

Opening Self Regional Hall means that we will be able to do even more to help children with genetic disorders, and their families, and to educate graduate students who will go out into the world and make their own impact, said Clemson University President James P. Clements during the opening of the facility on Feb. 15. As the parent of a child with special needs the kind of research that you are doing here is especially meaningful and important to me and my family.

The building will house eight laboratories and several classrooms, conference rooms and offices for graduate students and faculty. Mark Leising, interim dean of the College of Science at Clemson, said the facility provides the resources our scientists need to understand the genetic underpinnings of disorders.

This facility, and its proximity to the Greenwood Genetic Center, elevates our ability to attract the brightest scientific talent to South Carolina and enhances our efforts to tackle genetic disorders, Leising said, in the release.

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Human genetics center opens in Greenwood – GSA Business

Nature Reviews Endocrinology – Nature.com

Nature Reviews Endocrinology | Research Highlight | In brief

Nature Reviews Endocrinology | Research Highlights

Nature Reviews Endocrinology | Research Highlights

Genetics

Although height is a complex, highly hereditable human trait, height variants identified by genome-wide association studies have typically been common, with small effect sizes cumulatively explaining only ~20% of the heritability. Now, in a new study published in Nature, rare and low-frequency coding variants with height-increasing or height-decreasing effects of

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Nature Reviews Endocrinology – Nature.com

Genetically Modified Humans Are Coming: US Scientists Just Backed Permanent Gene Editing In Humans – Collective Evolution

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Genetically modified humans sounds like a term that belongs inHollywood, but its actually a very real possibility, and one thats being heavily discussed in the scientific community. Contributing to one of the most controversial topics to date, a panel of science experts in the U.S. just examined and gavetheir support for germline editing. This means that in the future, parents will likely be able to tamper with the genetics of their children pre-birth.

Germinal choice technology refers to reprogenetic technologies that enable parents to alter the genetic constitutions of their children.One of the ways this can be done is through germline editing, which is a fancier term forhuman genetic engineering. Germline editing alters the genes of a sperm or an egg, but itthen changes the future DNA of every single cell in the embryo. This means that the genetic changes made to the embryos will then affect all future generations within that family lineage.

The panels were made up of experts from two of the most prestigiousscientific institutions in the U.S., both of which recommended that germline editing be viewed as a serious option in the future and not be prohibited outright (source).

This is a dramatically different stance than the last assessment given in December 2015 by aninternational summit of scientists, who stated that it would beirresponsible to proceed with germline editing given the controversy surrounding thesubject and thesafety issues involved, all of which have yet to be resolved.

The panels discussions can be further analyzed in areportreleasedearlier this week by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. The panel recommendedthat germline editing of early embryos, eggs, or sperm should only be permitted to prevent serious disease or disability iftheres significant scientific evidence illustrating that the procedures are safe.

Human genome editing holds tremendous promise for understanding, treating, or preventing many devastating genetic diseases, and for improving treatment of many other illnesses. . . . However, genome editing to enhance traits or abilities beyond ordinary health raises concerns about whether the benefits can outweigh the risks, and about fairness if available only to some people, explained Alta Charo, co-chair of the study committee and Sheldon B. Lubar Distinguished Chair and Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

One of the illnesses the panel specifically mentionedthat germline editing could be used to prevent is Huntingtons disease, a progressive brain disorder that can result in uncontrollable movement, emotional issues, and loss in cognition, mostcommonly appearing in a persons thirties or forties. However, the panel was quick to note that withthese alterations could come some very serious side effects.

One of the potential risks includes developing new conditions, diseases, or mutations. If this happened, parents would have no idea until their babies are born and begin to mature.

Perhaps the most obvious risk is the societal implications associated with the genetic engineering of humans. If its an expensive process, meaningit will likely only be made available to upper class citizens who canafford it, it could create a designer class of babies with preferred qualities and genes.

These kinds of scenarios used to be science fiction; they used to be seen as far-off hypotheticalsBut actually, right now, I think theyre urgent social justice questions, said biotechnologist Marcy Darnovsky from the Center for Genetics and Society toRob Stein at NPR.

[W]ere going to be creating a world in which the already privileged and affluent can use these high-tech procedures to make children [with] biological advantages, she continued. And the scenario that plays out is not a pretty one.

Previously, it was easy for people to say, This isnt possible, so we dont have to think about it much, said MIT researcher Richard Hynes, who helped lead the committee, toThe New York Times. Now we can see a path whereby we might be able to do it, so we have to think about how to make sure its used only for the right things and not for the wrong things.

Transhumanism is a futuristic ideology which purportsthat humans willbe altered and improved usingsophisticated technologies in the future to upgrade ourintellectual, physical, and mental capabilities.Many scientists are actually in favour of this, especially as we become more technologically advanced, making this seem more realistic.

Elon Musk supportsthis movement, in fact, as he believes that human beings will eventuallyuse technology toenhance our inherent natural capabilities.

Over time we will see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence. It is all about the band width of the brain, Musk said.

Some high band width interface to the brain will be something which helps achieve symbiosis between human and machine intelligence, which solves a control and usefulness problem, he continued.

Musk has spoken about this topic on several occasions. For example, last year he explained that we should considergetting brain implants in the futurebecause, without them, we may not be able to compete with artificial intelligence (AI). He also has strong opinions about AI, arguing it could pose a threat to us if we become too dependent on it (source).

I believe that genetically engineering human beings could serve us in a way, but it could also do more harm than good. Germline editing could seriously improve the lives of many if it could prevent certain diseases, but at what cost?

In addition, the fact that a man and a woman can mate and create offspring together thats made up of a mixture of their genes is trulybeautiful. Do we really want to altersomething thats already such an incredible gift in nature?

I dont think theres a right or a wrong answer here. However, there are certainly some risks involved with genetically modifying humans.Its easy to imagine how the elite could use this to further manipulate the general population, or howit could create an even greater divide between high income and low income families. The idea of creating an Aryan or superior race could even be proposed again, which would only further perpetuate the illusions of separatism and hierarchy.

Then again, it could potentially help us further advance our consciousness and awaken our inner capabilities, especially if the technology or alterations have absolutely no health risks (zero radiation/EMF exposure, no increased risk in disease, etc.).

In either case, I believe our time would be better spent further advancing our collective consciousness.If that can be done through AI, then thats incredible and Im all for it. However, we must remember that, if we truly dial in and get in touch with ourselves energetically, we have the power to heal ourselves from within. We dont need to rely on technology to save us and prevent diseases. Yes, technology plays an important role in society, but that doesnt mean we should let it overshadow our own capabilities as spiritual beings.

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Genetically Modified Humans Are Coming: US Scientists Just Backed Permanent Gene Editing In Humans – Collective Evolution

Clemson Center for Human Genetics unveils new facility on Greenwood Genetic Center campus – Clemson Newsstand

GREENWOOD Self Regional Hall, a new 17,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that will house the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics, has opened on the campus of the Greenwood Genetic Center.

Self Regional Hall, a new 17,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that will house the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics. Image Credit: Craig Mahaffey / Clemson University

The facility will enable Clemsons growing genetics program to collaborate closely with the long tradition of clinical and research excellence at the Greenwood Genetic Center, combining basic science and clinical care. The center will initially focus on discovering and developing early diagnostic tools and therapies for autism, cognitive developmental disorders, oncology and lysosomal disorders.

Opening Self Regional Hall means that we will be able to do even more to help children with genetic disorders, and their families, and to educate graduate students who will go out into the world and make their own impact, said Clemson University President James P. Clements.

As the parent of a child with special needs the kind of research that you are doing here is especially meaningful and important to me and my family, Clements said during the event. As you all know, an early diagnosis can make a huge difference for a child and their family because the earlier you can figure out what a child needs the earlier you can intervene and begin treatment.

Jim Pfeiffer (left), president and CEO of Regional Healthcare, and Clemson President James P. Clements unveil a commemorative plaque. Image Credit: Craig Mahaffey / Clemson University

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six children between the ages of 3 and 17, roughly 15 percent, suffers from a developmental disorder.

Self Regional Hall is a state-of-the-art facility that provides the resources our scientists need to understand the genetic underpinnings of disorders, said Mark Leising, interim dean of the College of Science at Clemson. This facility, and its proximity to the Greenwood Genetic Center, elevates our ability to attract the brightest scientific talent to South Carolina and enhances our efforts to tackle genetic disorders.

The building will house eight laboratories and several classrooms, conference rooms and offices for graduate students and faculty.

The facilitys name recognizes the ongoing support from Self Regional Healthcare, a healthcare system in Upstate South Carolina that has grown from the philanthropy of the late James P. Self, a textile magnate who founded Self Memorial Hospital in 1951.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was originally scheduled for September 2016, but was delayed because of the death of state Sen. John Drummond, an ardent supporter of the Greenwood Genetic Center who helped bring Self Regional Hall to fruition.

Image Credit: Craig Mahaffey / Clemson University

Self Regional Healthcares vision is to provide superior care, experience and value. This vision includes affording our patients with access to cutting-edge technology and the latest in healthcare innovation and genomic medicine, without a doubt, is the future of healthcare, said Jim Pfeiffer, president and CEO of Self Regional Healthcare. The research and discoveries that will originate from this center will provide new options for those individuals facing intellectual and developmental disabilities, and will provide our organization with innovative capabilities and treatment options for our patients.

We are pleased to welcome Clemson University to Greenwood as the first academic partner on our Partnership Campus, added Dr. Steve Skinner, director of the Greenwood Genetic Center. This is the next great step in a collaboration that has been developing over the past 20-plus years. We look forward to our joint efforts with both Clemson and Self Regional Healthcare to advance the research and discoveries that will increase our understanding and treatment of human genetic disorders.

END

Greenwood Genetic CenterThe Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC), founded in 1974, is a nonprofit organization advancing the field of medical genetics and caring for families impacted by genetic disease and birth defects. At its home campus in Greenwood, South Carolina, a talented team of physicians and scientists provides clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs and resources, and research in the field of medical genetics.GGCs faculty and staff are committed to the goal of developing preventive and curative therapies for the individuals and families they serve.GGC extends its reach as a resource to all residents of South Carolina with satellite offices in Charleston, Columbia, Florence and Greenville. For more information about GGC, please visitwww.ggc.org.

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Clemson Center for Human Genetics unveils new facility on Greenwood Genetic Center campus – Clemson Newsstand

New research facility opens at Greenwood Genetics Center – Greenville News

Self Regional Hall(Photo: Craig Mahaffey/Clemson University)

A new facility that will house the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics has opened at the Greenwood Genetic Center.

The 17,000-square-foot structure, named Self Regional Hall, will allowClemsons growing genetics program to collaborate closely withresearchers at the center and to focus on early diagnostic tools for autism, cognitive developmental disorders, cancer and rare metabolic disorders.

Opening Self Regional Hall means that we will be able to do even more to help children with genetic disordersand their families, and to educate graduate students who will go out into the world and make their own impact, said Clemson University President James P. Clements, who has a child with special needs.

As you all know,” he added, “an early diagnosis can make a huge difference for a child and their family because the earlier you can figure out what a child needs the earlier you can intervene and begin treatment.

The building will house eight laboratories and several classrooms, conference rooms and offices for graduate students and faculty, officials said.

GCC director Dr. Steve Skinner said the facilityis the nextstep in a collaboration of more than 20 years.

“We look forward to our joint efforts with both Clemson and Self Regional Healthcare to advance the research and discoveries that will increase our understanding and treatment of human genetic disorders, he said.

For more information about GGC, go towww.ggc.org.

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New research facility opens at Greenwood Genetics Center – Greenville News

Otzi the Iceman: Researchers validate the stability of genetic markers – Phys.Org

February 16, 2017 Researchers found short ribonucleic acid molecules (microRNA) even in mummies like Oetzi. Credit: Andreas Keller, Saarland University

Biomarkers are biological attributes that can give doctors or researchers clues about the health status or illnesses of a patient. Scientists are placing great hope in a new type of biomarker, so-called microRNAs. These short ribonucleic acid molecules are notable for their very high level of stability. Researchers at Saarland University, the University of Luxembourg and the Eurac Research center in Bozen have now established that such microRNAs can remain stable even after 5,300 years.

They have found the molecules in the well-known glacier mummy “tzi”. A number of facts have been scientifically proven about the glacier mummy, known as “the Iceman” or “tzi,” found in the tztal Alps (South Tyrol) in 1991. Through imaging techniques, we know about degeneration in his lumbar spine and a fatal arrow wound in his left shoulder. DNA analyses showed that tzi was lactose intolerant, and had brown eyes and blood type 0. Now a study of tzi’s microRNAs has also been completed. MicroRNAs are very small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and play a central role in the regulation of genes.

Although these molecules are very stable in tissues, prior to this study it was unclear whether they could still be found in human tissues after thousands of years. Therefore, Professors Andreas Keller and Eckart Meese of Saarland University, Stephanie Kreis of the University of Luxembourg, and Professor Albert Zink and Frank Maixner of Eurac Research in Bozen took on the challenge. They analyzed not only tissue samples from the Iceman, but also those from a mummy of a soldier fallen in World War I. “Our investigation provides evidence that we can analyze microRNA even after thousands of years,” explains Andreas Keller, Professor of Clinical Bioinformatics at Saarland University, who coordinated the study.

The scientists took samples from tzi’s skin, stomach, and stomach contents. “It was a challenge to extract this genetic material in significant quantities and sufficient quality from the mummified tissue samples, and to measure and quantify it with the newest, very precise methods,” reports Stephanie Kreis, who isolated the microRNAs at the University of Luxembourg. Some molecules were found that were present predominantly in the ancient tissues. Conversely, some of the biomarkers that are well-known today were not found in tzi. According to Professor Zink from Eurac Research, the microRNAs are the next important class of molecules from tzi to receive intensive examination.

Professor Meese, head of the Institute of Human Genetics at Saarland University, claims that the stability of these biomarkers is also important for people today. “It is vital for clinical applications,” explains Meese. “It’s evident that the potential of microRNA is much greater than we previously thought. We still don’t know enough about how these molecules influence specific genes, entire gene families, or biochemical reaction pathways. When we investigate this further, it’s possible microRNAs will become new stars in therapy. Until then, however, there is a lot more work to do,” concludes Professor Keller.

Explore further: Scientists discover helicobacter pylori in the contents of Otzi’s stomach

More information: Andreas Keller et al, miRNAs in ancient tissue specimens of the Tyrolean Iceman, Molecular Biology and Evolution (2016). DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msw291

Scientists are continually unearthing new facts about Homo sapiens from the mummified remains of tzi, the Copper Age man, who was discovered in a glacier in 1991. Five years ago, after tzi’s genome was completely deciphered, …

A study was published last week on the DNA of Helicobacter pylori, the pathogen extracted from the stomach of tzi, the ice mummy who has provided valuable information on the life of Homo Sapiens.

Scientific magazine Nature Communications publishes new findings about physiognomy, ethnic origin and predisposition towards illness of the worlds oldest glacier mummy.

In an elaborate study, biologists of the University of Luxembourg have found out that small molecules named microRNAs are, against many hopes, not yet suitable for early diagnosis of skin cancer, as well as supposedly for …

After decoding the Iceman’s genetic make-up, a research team from the European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen (EURAC), Saarland University, Kiel University and other partners has now made another major breakthrough in mummy research: …

(PhysOrg.com) — In a presentation at the Seventh World Congress on Mummy Studies, researchers from the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman revealed that they had finally located the iceman known as Otzis stomach and …

(Phys.org)An international team of researchers has found a trove of marine fossils at a North American site that offers evidence of life bouncing back faster than thought after the most devastating mass extinction in Earth’s …

French pedestrians have the reputation of being a law unto themselvesbut an unusual study has provided some scientific backing for the stereotype.

A small crocodile discovered in Germany’s Langenberg Quarry may be a new species, according to a study published February 15, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Daniela Schwarz from Leibniz Institute for Evolutionary …

An extinct tortoise species that accidentally tumbled into a water-filled limestone sinkhole in the Bahamas about 1,000 years ago has finally made its way out, with much of its DNA intact.

An unusual and ‘confusing’ grave site dug up in Romania by a student from The Australian National University (ANU) is helping provide evidence for the first official written history of the Szkely people.

A remarkable 250 million-year-old “terrible-headed lizard” fossil found in China shows an embryo inside the motherclear evidence for live birth.

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Otzi the Iceman: Researchers validate the stability of genetic markers – Phys.Org

Black Lives Matter Leader: White People are ‘Sub-Human,’ ‘Genetic Defects’ – Mediaite

The co-founder of the Toronto chapter of the Black Lives Matter protest movement has come under scrutiny in recent days for an old Facebook post that declared white people were genetically inferior to their black peers.

Whiteness is not humxness, wroteYusra Khogali,in a now-deleted post (using gender-neutral alternative spelling). In fact, white skin is sub-humxn. All phenotypes exist within the black family and white [people] are a genetic defect of blackness.

Khogali proceeded to go on an extended pseudoscientific rant about the benefits of dark skin, according to The Toronto Sun. Melanin enables black skin to capture light and hold it in its memory mode which reveals that blackness converts light into knowledge, she claims at one point. Melanin directly communicates with cosmic energy.

White [people] are recessive genetic defects. This is factual, she claimed, nonfactually.

Khogali made the Facebook post months ago, but her comments resurfaced after she declared Canadian Prime MinisterJustin Trudeaua white supremacist terrorist, earning her criticism from liberal allies.

[image via screengrab]

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Black Lives Matter Leader: White People are ‘Sub-Human,’ ‘Genetic Defects’ – Mediaite

Progression of HIV triggered by each patient’s genes – Genetic Literacy Project

Scientists have long observed important differences in the rate of disease progression among individuals infected with HIV. It is now well established that the disease progresses faster in people with a higher viral load the amount of genetic material from the virus found in their blood.

[This study]is the first to investigate the relative impacts of human and viral genetics on viral load, within one group of patients.

[The researchers]found that genetic differences between HIV strains accounted for 29% of the contrasts in viral load between patients. Human genetic variation on the other hand, explains 8.4%. Together, human and viral genetics explained a third of viral load variation.

These findings suggest that the patients genetics trigger genetic mutations in the HIV virus as it multiplies inside them, thus influencing the clinical course of HIV infection.

Our study improves our understanding of HIV pathogenesis. This is an important step the better you know your enemy, the more equipped you are to fight it and fight against the disease, said [Jacques Fellay, director of the study bycole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne in Switzerland.]

[The study can be found here.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post:Patients and virus genetics account for a third of HIV viral load

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Progression of HIV triggered by each patient’s genes – Genetic Literacy Project

The Surprisingly Early Settlement of the Tibetan Plateau – Scientific American

Genetic analysis suggests that humans have continuously inhabited the Tibetan Plateau as far back as the last ice age.

The first humans who ventured onto the Tibetan Plateau, often called the roof of the world, faced one of the most brutal environments our species has ever confronted. At an average elevation of more than 4,500 meters, it is a cold and arid place with half the oxygen present at sea level. Although scientists had long thought no one set foot on the plateau until 15,000 years ago, new genetic and archaeological data indicate that this event may have taken place much earlierpossibly as far back as 62,000 years ago, in the middle of the last ice age. A better understanding of the history of migration and population growth in the region could help unravel the mysteries of Tibetans’ origin and offer clues as to how humans have adapted to low-oxygen conditions at high altitudes.

As reported in a recent study in the American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers got a better grasp of the plateau’s settlement history by sequencing the entire genomes of 38 ethnic Tibetans and comparing the results with the genomic sequences of other ethnic groups. It has revealed a complex patchwork of prehistoric migration, says Shuhua Xu, a population geneticist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences. A big surprise was the antiquity of Tibetan-specific DNA sequences, Xu says. They can be traced back to ancestors 62,000 to 38,000 years ago, possibly representing the earliest colonization of the plateau.

As an ice age tightened its grip after that first migration, genetic mixing between Tibetans and non-Tibetans ground to a halt for tens of thousands of yearssuggesting that movement into Tibet dropped to a minimum. The migration routes were probably cut off by ice sheets, Xu says. It was simply too harsh even for the toughest hunter-gatherers. But about 15,000 to 9,000 years agoafter the so-called last glacial maximum (LGM), when the ice age was at its harshest and Earth’s ice cover had reached its peakthousands flocked to Tibet en masse. It’s the most significant wave of migration that shaped the modern Tibetan gene pool, Xu says. This meshes well with several independent lines of evidence showing that Tibetans began to acquire genetic mutations that protected them from hypoxia 12,800 to 8,000 years ago.

Xu’s team was the first to sequence the entire Tibetan genome, and the resolution is really impressive, says archaeologist Mark Aldenderfer of the University of California, Merced, who was not involved in the research. The study, he adds, provides fine details of how different populations from various directions may have combined their genes to ultimately create the people that we call Tibetans. It shows that 94 percent of the present-day Tibetan genetic makeup came from modern humanspossibly those who ventured into Tibet in the second wave of migrationand the rest came from extinct hominins. The modern part of the Tibetan genome reflects a mixed genetic heritage, sharing 82 percent similarity with East Asians, 11 percent with Central Asians and 6 percent with South Asians.

In addition, Xu’s team identified a Tibetan-specific DNA segment that is highly homologous to the genome of the Ust’-lshim Man (modern humans living in Siberia 45,000 years ago) and several extinct human species, including Neandertals, Denisovans and unknown groups. The segment contains eight genes, one of which is known to be crucial for high-altitude adaptation. Xu suspects that a hybrid of all these species may have been the common ancestor of the pre-LGM population on the plateau.

The study also reveals a startling genetic continuity since the plateau was first colonized. This suggests that Tibet has always been populatedeven during the toughest times as far as climate was concerned, Xu says. That idea contradicts the commonly held notion that early plateau dwellers would have been eliminated during harsh climate intervals, including the LGM, says David Zhang, a geographer at the University of Hong Kong, who was not involved in Xu’s work. Aldenderfer and others contend that parts of the plateau could have provided a refuge for people to survive the ice age. There were plenty of places for [those early populations] to live where local conditions weren’t that bad, such as the big river valleys on the plateau, he says.

Also supporting the antiquity of the peopling of Tibet is a study presented at the 33rd International Geographical Congress last summer in Beijing, where a team unveiled the plateau’s earliest archaeological evidence of human presencedating to 39,000 to 31,000 years ago. The site, rich with stone tools and animal remains, lies on the bank of the Salween River in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau.

Different lines of evidence are now converging to point to much earlier and much more persistent human occupation of the plateau than previously thought, Aldenderfer says. But he notes that pieces are still missing from the puzzle: More excavations are required to close those gaps.

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The Surprisingly Early Settlement of the Tibetan Plateau – Scientific American

Human Genetics | Pitt Public Health | University of Pittsburgh

Human genetics is the study of how genes influence human traits, diseases, and behaviors, including how genetic and non-genetic factors interact. Public health genetics applies advances in human genetics and genomics to improve public health and prevent disease. Genetic counselors work as members of a health care team, providing information and support to patients dealing with birth defects or genetic disorders and those who may be at risk for inherited conditions.

The Department of Human Genetics is dedicated to genetics graduate programs which focus on research, teaching, and service, and embrace three major research missions:

Pitt Public Health human genetics faculty and students currently are involved in varied research projects, including:

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Human Genetics | Pitt Public Health | University of Pittsburgh

Global Bioinformatics Market Boosted by Advancements in Genetics; to Reach US$9.1 Bn by 2018 – Digital Journal

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

Albany, NY — (SBWIRE) — 02/10/2017 — The global bioinformatics market is expected to be valued at US$9.1 bn by the end of 2018. It is shown to expand at a positive CAGR in a research report released by Transparency Market Research. The report, titled “Global Bioinformatics Market – Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 – 2020,” talks about the key factors that have and will influence this market for the given forecast period.

Browse Full Global Bioinformatics Market (By Platforms, Tools and Services and By Applications: Preventive Medicine, Molecular Medicine, Gene Therapy Drug Development and Others) – Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 – 2020 Report at @ http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/bioinformatics-market.html

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Bioinformatics is the management of information generated from R&D efforts combined under biopharmaceuticals, life sciences, and biotechnology. It applies computer technology to compile and store the data, which can later be analyzed and integrated with other biological and genetic data. The key reason for the foundation as well as the proliferation of the global bioinformatics market is the massive amounts of data generated in the Human Genome Project. This data was made public and gave rise to the need for bioinformatics.

The current growth rate of the global bioinformatics market is supported by the latest advancements by research organizations in the study of genetics. It was estimated that the amount of genetic data entries would double every 15 years. With the perceived sum being too large to be supported by current data entry programs, players are beginning to accelerate the development rates on bioinformatics.

In terms of applications, the global bioinformatics market was dominated by the molecular medicine segment in 2013. The report expects the segment of bioinformatics drug development to exhibit the fastest growth rate during the forecast period of 2014 to 2020.

The global bioinformatics market is segmented based on platforms, services, and tools. The global bioinformatics market was led by the segment of bioinformatics platforms in 2013. On the other hand, the segment of bioinformatics services is likely to grow the fastest during the forecast period of the report.

Geographically, the report put North America at the top of the global bioinformatics market as this region held the largest share in the market in 2013. It was followed by Europe in terms of developments and market revenue. Bioinformatics has thrived in both the regions due to the high investment rates in research and development efforts, a faster rate of implementation of newer technologies, an already advanced scientific and regulatory framework, and an economy developed enough to support this field. At the same time, Asia Pacific is also showing the promise of being a lucrative market for bioinformatics in the near future, owing to rapidly evolving infrastructure in scientific fields, the improvements in government and private funding, and the rising literacy and awareness rates.

Within the report’s forecast period, Latin America is expected to show a faster rate of development in bioinformatics than the Rest of the World region.

The key players in the global bioinformatics market are Illumina, Inc., ID Business Solutions, Ltd., Life Technologies Corporation, GenoLogics Life Sciences Software, Inc., CLC bio A/S, Agilent Technologies, Inc., Affymetrix, Inc., and Accelrys, Inc.

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/global-bioinformatics-market-boosted-by-advancements-in-genetics-to-reach-us91-bn-by-2018-769710.htm

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Global Bioinformatics Market Boosted by Advancements in Genetics; to Reach US$9.1 Bn by 2018 – Digital Journal

SciBites: Week of February 10th | PLOS Research News – PLOS Research News

HIV viral load is influenced by both virus and patient genetics

HIV sufferers experience varying rates of disease progression, depending in part on their viral load the amount of virus present in the body. Researchers collected patient and viral genetic data from 541 people with HIV and investigated the relative impacts of human and viral genetics on viral load. They found that HIV strain variation accounts for 29 percent of differences in viral load, and human genetic variation accounts for 8.4 percent. With a combined influence of just 30 percent, the results suggest that the effects of human genetics on viral load are caused mainly by its influence on which new genetic mutations arise in HIV as the virus multiplies inside the patient.

When top predators kill livestock, conflict can arise between pastoral communities and these endangered and rare species, impeding their conservation. A new study analyzed DNA and hair in the droppings of snow leopards and Himalayan wolves in Nepal, finding that a substantial 27 percent of the snow leopard diet and 24 percent of the wolf diet were made up of livestock. This highlights the need for further research into the impact of such predation on pastoral communities.

Six million people are diagnosed with new human papillomavirus (HPV) infections each year in the U.S. alone, but no specific cure for this family of viruses exists. Scientists have now used genetic engineering techniques to create a new high-throughput screening method that can identify potentially effective drugs and drug targets, considering the full viral genome and all its life cycle stages to increase the chance of success. When tested on 1,000 chemical compounds, the method identified several that were capable of blocking the growth of certain HPV strains, and the authors believe that their method could be an effective tool in drug development.

Image Credit: Madhu Chetri

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SciBites: Week of February 10th | PLOS Research News – PLOS Research News


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