Why Geneticists May Have to Learn Yet Another Language

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-17-2014

When talking about genetic abnormalities at the DNA level that occur when chromosomes swap, delete or add parts, there is an evolving communication gap both in the science and medical worlds, leading to inconsistencies in clinical and research reports.
Now a study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) proposes a new classification system that may standardize how structural chromosomal rearrangements are described. Known as Next-Gen Cytogenetic Nomenclature, it is a major contribution to the classification system to potentially revolutionize how cytogeneticists worldwide translate and communicate chromosomal abnormalities. The study will be published online April 17, 2014 in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

“As scientists we are moving the field of cytogenetics forward in the clinical space,” said Cynthia Morton, PhD, BWH director of Cytogenetics, senior study author. “We will be able to define chromosomal abnormalities and report them in a way that is integral to molecular methods entering clinical practice.”

According to the researchers, advances in next-generation sequencing methods and results from BWH’s Developmental Genome Anatomy Project (DGAP) revealed an assortment of genes disrupted and dysregulated in human development in over 100 cases. Given the wide variety of chromosomal abnormalities, the researchers recognized that more accurate and full descriptions of structural chromosomal rearrangements were needed.

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Queerer Than We Suppose

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-16-2014

Classic Dawkins Style

Transforming Cancer Research: Droplet Digital™ PCR Plays Integral Role at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-15-2014

It’s no surprise that Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) has found its place in the world of cancer research. Bio-Rad’s ddPCR™ technology has a remarkable ability to quantify miniscule amounts of target DNA and RNA, and thus can contribute to early detection of rare tumorigenic mutations against a high background of “normal” DNA as well as to other applications, including identifying cancer subtypes, optimizing drug treatment plans, and studying tumor evolution. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, scientists are producing some of the most important advances in prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer and other diseases. They are studying the disease process from every angle seeking to uncover factors that influence a person’s likelihood of getting cancer. Understanding of such factors, of course, can help reduce risk and save lives. To learn more about how Droplet Digital PCR is being wielded to fight against cancer, we caught up with two researchers – Muneesh Tewari and Jason Bielas— who are using Bio-Rad’s QX100™ Droplet Digital™ PCR system in their quest to break through the current limits of nucleic acid detection and quantification.

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The Story of Man (told in one minute)

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-14-2014

Scarless Wound Healing

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-10-2014

In early fetal development, skin wounds undergo regeneration and healing without scar formation. This mechanism of wound healing later disappears, but by studying the fetal stem cells capable of this scarless wound healing, researchers may be able to apply these mechanisms to develop cell-based approaches able to minimize scarring in adult wounds, as described in a Critical Review article published in Advances in Wound Care, a monthly publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers and an Official Journal of the Wound Healing Society. The article is available free on the Advances in Wound Care website.

Michael Longaker, Peter Lorenz, and co-authors from Stanford University School of Medicine and John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, describe a new stem cell that has been identified in fetal skin and blood that may have a role in scarless wound healing. In the article “The Role of Stem Cells During Scarless Skin Wound Healing,” the authors propose future directions for research to characterize the differences in wound healing mechanisms between fetal and adult skin-specific stem cells.

“This work comes from the pioneers in the field and delineates the opportunities towards scarless healing in adults,” says Editor-in-Chief Chandan K. Sen, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Director of the Comprehensive Wound Center and the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH.