by Alex Yenkinfigures by Allie Elchert Long before the completion of the Human Genome Project, scientists knew that many common diseases had a genetic component. However, there was debate about the architecture of these genetic effects: were there a few high-effect mutations or thousands of tiny effect mutations spread throughout the genome? Now, in the full swing of the genomics revolution, we can see that … Continue reading Mining DNA for Disease Prediction: The polygenic risk score
What’s in that sourdough starter? New research sheds light on the mysterious microbes that influence our bread. Continue reading The Secret Life of Sourdough
Researchers recently examined DNA sequences a snail living in deep ocean hydrothermal vents. They found similar DNA to other mollusks, but different DNA expression giving the snail its unique appearance. Continue reading Different Snail, Same Genes: What Gives the Scaly-foot Snail Its Scales?
by Colin O’Leary figures by Rebecca Clements News of viral epidemics spreads faster than the viruses themselves. Once the virus arrives, how do we determine where it came from? How do scientists monitor the arrival and spread beyond keeping track of the number of cases at a given time? Instead of sifting through medical records in search of the first infected person—the elusive “patient zero”—studying the … Continue reading A DNA-based view reveals hidden Zika spread
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
by Catherine Weiner figures by Michael Gerhardt A decade ago, the idea of analyzing your DNA from the comfort of your own home seemed like science fiction. Tests required several weeks, thousands if not millions of dollars, and a lab of highly specialized PhDs. Today, thanks to technical advances and companies like 23andMe, you can perform this analysis for $199. The U.S. Food and Drug … Continue reading What’s in Your Genes: Newly approved genetic testing for disease risks
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