Posts Tagged ‘bioinformatics’

Supreme Court to hear fight over taking DNA from arrested people

WASHINGTON — On a cold February night three years ago, police in suburban Arlington, Va., received a frantic call. A young woman said her roommate had been abducted at gunpoint by a short, clean-shaven man who sped away in a silver SUV.

At dawn, a motorist spotted the victim in a snowy field near a highway, raped and strangled, but alive. An alert officer, hearing the lookout report, recalled that he’d jotted down the license tag of a silver Dodge Durango whose driver lurked near bars at midnight, leading to the quick arrest of a short, clean-shaven Marine named Jorge Torrez.

Ten years ago, Virginia became the first state to require, upon arrest for a serious crime, a mouth swab for DNA. The sample from Torrez, sent to a state crime lab and entered into the FBI‘s DNA database, confirmed he was the rapist. A few weeks later a DNA match also led to charges against him in the rape and murder of two girls, ages 8 and 9, in Zion, Ill., where Torrez had gone to high school. Jerry Hobbs, the father of one of the girls, had been in prison for the crimes.

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a privacy rights challenge to taking DNA from people who are arrested. The case could either end the practice or make it the norm nationwide.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - February 4, 2013 at 2:36 am

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‘Adventurous’ Woman Needed as Surrogate for Neanderthal Baby

'Adventurous' Woman Needed as Surrogate for Neanderthal Baby

‘Adventurous’ Woman Needed as Surrogate for Neanderthal Baby

Are you an adventurous human woman? Adventurous enough to be a surrogate mother for the first Neanderthal baby to be born in 30,000 years?

Harvard geneticist George Church recently told Der Spiegel he’s close to developing the necessary technology to clone a Neanderthal, at which point all he’d need is an “adventurous human woman” — einen abenteuerlustigen weiblichen Menschen — to act as a surrogate mother.

It’s not out of the question at all. As MIT Technology Review‘s Susan Young points out, scientists cloned an extinct subspecies of ibex in 2009. It died immediately, sure. But they still cloned it.

What would that entail? According to a 2008 study of a Neanderthal infant skeleton (from which the above image is taken), “the head of the Neanderthal newborn was somewhat longer than that of a human newborn because of its relatively robust face,” and Neanderthal women generally had a wider birth canal than human women. Neanderthal birth was simpler than human birth, because Neanderthal infants didn’t have to rotate to get to the birth canal, but otherwise the processes were very similar. (Even so, I imagine all but the most adventurous of human women would opt for a C-section in this case.)

Once the baby’s out, though, you’re in good shape — Neanderthal babies are thought to have grown much more quickly than their human counterparts. And Church seems to think that there’ll be a Neanderthal craze, as he told Bloomberg Businessweek last year:

“We have lots of Neanderthal parts around the lab. We are creating Neanderthal cells. Let’s say someone has a healthy, normal Neanderthal baby. Well, then, everyone will want to have a Neanderthal kid. Were they superstrong or supersmart? Who knows? But there’s one way to find out.”

[Der Spiegel via MIT Technology Review]

44 comments - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm

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Bigfoot Does Exist, Claim Scientists

  • DNA tests show “Yeti” hair close to humans
  • But is it all an elaborate hoax?

 

DNA tests on hair found supposedly found in a Siberian may actually prove the existence of the Abominable Snowman. 

Three separate DNA tests of the hair reported it “came from a human-like creature which is not a Homosapien yet is more closely related to man than a monkey”.

Yeti hunters claim Yeti DNA is less than one per cent different to that of a human. But no-one has confirmed that “fact” to date, because no Yeti has ever been found or tested for DNA.

Until now. The DNA tests were carried out at universities in Moscow, St Petersburg at Idaho in the US. It is understood a fourth DNA test is also being carried out in the UK.

What do you think? Is it real? Or just a huge hoax? Tell us below.

“We had ten samples of hair to study, and have concluded that they belong to mammal, but not a human, and not the animals known to the area where they were found, like a bear, or wolf, or goat, or any other animal,” Professor Valentin Sapunov of the Russian State Hydrometeorological Institute said.

“It was a branch of our university in St Petersburg that carried out a DNA test, and the Zoological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences. The tests were performed by laboratory of electronic microscopy and laboratory of molecular genealogical classification.”

The “Yeti hair” was allegedly found in Siberia’s Azasskaya Cave by Dr Igor Birtsev, Russia’s leading advocate of the existence of the abominable snowman.

But is it all an elaborate hoax? That’s the suggestion the Siberian Times is making this morning after Dr Birtsev strangely played down the findings.

“I doubt that they have indeed managed to carry out a DNA test on Azasskaya Cave hair, and doubt that they found how close the Yeti is to humans by its DNA,” he was quoted as saying.

“It has not been done anywhere in the world. I take it that they’ve worked with electronic microscopes, but have they compared it to other samples? I am not sure. So I am rather sceptical about Valentin Sapunov’s conclusions.”

Could it maybe have something to do with the fact that a major bookmaker is offering 100-1 odds on the existence of a yeti being proven by the end of 2012?

A Paddy Power spokesperson said: “It’s true, at odds of 100/1 we do risk putting a Bigfoot in our mouth if these recent sightings turn out to be genuine.”

And then there’s the fact that the “evidence” just happened to be released on Halloween. Real or not real? You tell us.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 27, 2012 at 12:56 am

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What is the Human Genome

Here is the definition taken from the Human Genome Project, “A genome is the complete collection of an organism’s genetic material. The human genome is ”"composed of about 20,000 to 25,000 genes located on the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a human cell.

A single human chromosome may contain more than 250 million DNA base pairs, and scientists estimate that the entire human genome consists of about 3 billion base pairs.

In the past eighteen months, scientists discovered more than 100 genetic variations that affect older people, such as: type 2 diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Genetic science is moving so fast that people now in their 60′s-80′s will see medical innovations that will touch their lives.

Francis Collins, MD, a leader in the Project, was astounded to see the huge amount of information derived from the genome, particularly in regards to older people.

As an example he cited age-related Macular degeneration, an eye disease troubling almost 2 million, visually impaired Americans. “Using new genomic tools we’ve discovered two genes that account for about 60% of the risk- the rest is smoking. But we were surprised. These genes are involved in inflammation, and everybody was thinking macular degeneration was caused by aging in the back of the eye.”

Macular degeneration tests are now being made using anti-inflammatory drugs, a complete change in the way it was formerly viewed.

Many scientists believe that the Human Genome Project has the potential to revolutionize both therapeutic and preventive medicine by providing insights into the basic biochemical processes that underlie many human diseases.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

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Complete Genomics

It was once thought that the human genome would never be completely mapped out because it was much too complex. The human genome project found that, while complex, human genomes are not as complex as some very undistinguished creatures such as the roundworm and fruit fly.

Nevertheless the breakthrough was enormous and caused an incredible stir among scientists and researchers worldwide, opening doors to research about humans that had never before been seen.

At the center of the breakthrough was Complete Genomics, a California research facility that caused the stir when it announced in 2009 that it had sequenced its first human genome.  When they had finished it they submitted the data to the National Center for Biotechnology Information and scientists the world over clamored to see it.

Today Complete Genomics is a full-service life-sciences company. The DNA sequencing platform that they developed is used by researchers around the globe to analyze and sequence human genomes using their proprietary and data management software and their informatics.

When a researcher anywhere in the world needs a genome to be sequenced they send it to Complete Genomics for analysis in Mountain View, California. After sequencing the assembled sequences and variant reports are published and sent back to the various researchers who order them.

The proprietary software that Complete Genomics uses is adjusted for the study of human DNA exclusively, and they can provide researchers with genome variation files and also assembled sequences.

Today there are various research papers that have been submitted using the results found at Complete Genomics.  For example, their research was responsible for finding which gene was responsible for Miller Syndrome, a rare craniofacial disorder that had struck 1 member of a family of four.

It’s an amazing time to be alive, to be sure, and Complete Genomics is at the forefront of amazing changes that will soon be taking place that only years ago were hard to even imagine. Their technology will ultimately allow researchers to help find and, possibly, cure many diseases that afflict mankind.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 4:16 pm

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