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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-19-2012
OK. Perhaps not in the way it was presented by Monty Python in The Meaning of Life, but a new study out of Stanford University Medical Center has shown that sperm cells exhibit a significant degree of genetic variation even when produced by an individual male.
According to study co-author Barry Behr:
For the first time, we were able to generate an individual recombination map and mutation rate for each of several sperm from one person. Now we can look at a particular individual, make some calls about what they would likely contribute genetically to an embryo and perhaps even diagnose or detect potential problems.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-09-2012
Diseases are the result of underlying system interactions NOT simply physical underpinnings. Watch the following talk from Northeastern University Professor Albert-László Barabási to learn how mapping cellular protein reactions can help us discover how diseases work.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 05-29-2012
Want to win a cool $10 Million? Why not take part in the The Archon Genomics X PRIZE competition? Last time we discussed the X PRIZE competitors were challenged to create a medical device akin to the famous Star Trek® Tricorder (see Turning a Stat Trek Vision Into Reality). This time around, things are much simpler. All you have to do is be the first team to design and build a rapid and inexpensive technology that can accurately sequence the whole human genome. Why is this important? Check it out:
In an unfortunate turn of events, a recent publication out of Harvard University has found that a person’s genetic profile is a very poor predictor of disease and of little use in clinical practice. The study looked at genetic variations associated with breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis and found that knowledge of these variations only resulted in a 1-3% increase in risk prediction sensitivity. Hardly anything to get excited about.
Does this mean the end to personalized medicine? Of course not! However, it does mean that readers should be skeptical when hearing stories about the great predictive powers of genomic information and need to make sure to keep their scientific glasses on in order to avoid getting swept up by the excitement.
Reference: Aschard, H., Chen, J., Cornelis, M., Chibnik, L., Karlson, E., & Kraft, P. (2012). Inclusion of Gene-Gene and Gene-Environment Interactions Unlikely to Dramatically Improve Risk Prediction for Complex Diseases The American Journal of Human Genetics DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.04.017