From Genes to Disease: the release of the UK Biobank

by Layla Siraj figures by Rebecca Senft Imagine if you could tell, through some combination of your environment and your genetics, what illnesses you might develop. This could give you the ability to either prevent these illnesses before they even happen or catch and treat the illnesses early enough to prevent long-lasting effects. This reality is one step closer with the release of the UK … Continue reading From Genes to Disease: the release of the UK Biobank

The Computer Science behind DNA Sequencing

by Alex Cabral figures by Sean Wilson In 2003, with the completion of the Human Genome Project, the entire human genome was sequenced for the first time. The sequencing cost nearly $1 billion and took 13 years to complete. Today, the human genome can be sequenced for about $1000 in less than two days. Industry leaders hope to bring that cost down to just $100 within … Continue reading The Computer Science behind DNA Sequencing

Lessons from the Human Genome Project

by Rebecca Fine figures by Elayne Fivenson The Human Genome Project, one of the most ambitious scientific projects ever undertaken, achieved a monumental goal: sequencing the entire human genome. Since its completion in 2003, this project has laid the groundwork for thousands of scientific studies associating genes with human diseases. DNA and the genome: a primer First, let’s talk a little bit about terminology. DNA is … Continue reading Lessons from the Human Genome Project

Catching Cancer: Blood Test for Early-Stage Diagnosis

What is the difference between a normal cell and a cancer cell? The answer lies in their DNA. Cancer results from the accumulation of genetic mutations, which trigger uncontrolled cell growth. Cancer’s mutated DNA can reveal its presence early on in the disease. Like leaving fingerprints at a crime scene, tumor cells release small pieces of DNA into the bloodstream. This “circulating tumor DNA” can now … Continue reading Catching Cancer: Blood Test for Early-Stage Diagnosis

The Single Cell Revolution: Zooming into human health & disease

by Eric P. Grewal figures by Abby Burrus The human body is made of thousands of types of cells, from neurons to blood cells and skin cells to kidney cells. While these cells differ vastly in shape and purpose, they all share one thing in common—their DNA, the set of “master instructions” that is carried in every cell in an individual. But if all cells … Continue reading The Single Cell Revolution: Zooming into human health & disease

Strength in Numbers: genetic sequencing of large populations is shaping the future of medicine

by Ryan L. Collins figures by Brad Wierbowski Thanks to modern genetics, “precision medicine” is slowly becoming a reality: doctors can perform genetic tests to determine your risk for dozens of diseases, like stroke or liver disease, and can prescribe treatments or therapies tailored to your individual genetic makeup. Yet before doctors can provide you with precision medicine in practice, they first need to understand … Continue reading Strength in Numbers: genetic sequencing of large populations is shaping the future of medicine