Author: EmilyC

Coursera’s Useful Genetics Wows

If you haven’t yet heard, college is expensive. Darn expensive. Thankfully, there are now free online universities for those of us daunted by the hefty price tag attached to traditional university courses. These online universities, such as Coursera and Udacity, provide quality courses taught by experienced ...

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The Genetics of Mental Illness

Researchers have long believed that genetics put some people at higher risk for mental illness than others, but exactly which genes are involved has remained a mystery. Even very large studies have come up with relatively few insights into the genetics of mental illness. But a study published last week in ...

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Citizen Scientists Look into Nearsightedness

Editor's note: PloS Genetics just published Amy Kiefer and Nick Eriksson's work. Check out their paper here. Nearsightedness, a condition in which far-away objects look blurry, is a problem of endemic proportions — approximately 30-40 percent of adults in the United States are nearsighted.  And, as computers ...

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A New Health Report To Take To Heart

What are you doing this month to celebrate matters of the heart? No, we're not talking about your Valentine’s Day plans; we're talking about your heart health plans. February is American Heart Month. One way to observe this special month is to learn about heart health genetics, and one place to start is ...

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Your Lifestyle, Your Health, Your Genes

There are lots of things we can't change, but our lifestyle isn't one of them. Good thing, too — our weight, nutrition habits, and exercise behaviors impact us beyond whether we look good in a swim suit. They also influence our risk for many different diseases. In the same way, our DNA also contributes to ...

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Do You Know How You’ll Respond to Thiopurine Medications?

Some of the more common thiopurine drugs: 6-Thioguanine (Lanvis®) 6-Mercaptopurine (Purinethol®) Azathioprine (Azasan®, Imuran®) You may lack the enzyme thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) and not even know it.  For most of those who lack the enzyme, it will never be a problem, but, for those who are ...

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The Genetics of Your Christmas Tree

If you could just get your Christmas tree to spit into a tube and extract some DNA, you might learn a lot about your holiday decoration. For starters, you might be able to tell where it originated. Plant genetics, like animal genetics, is influenced by geography. A team of Douglas fir tree researchers, ...

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Genetics at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table

Thanksgiving -- it’s a time for friends, family and, of course, food. Thanks to modern science, we now know quite a lot about the foods that grace our holiday tables.  Over the last few years, scientists have worked hard to sequence many common Thanksgiving foods: turkeys, potatoes, corn, apples, wine ...

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Expect the Unexpected: Rare Mutation Frequencies

23andMe’s genetic health reports cover 191 rare genetic mutations in addition to more common variants related to disease. While it’s relatively easy to learn about common variants, our knowledge of rare mutations traditionally has come from very small studies limited to specific populations, like French ...

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Improving the Experience of Participating in Research

(Editor's note: Here is a link to Joyce's poster presented at ASHG.) Genetic research often requires people willing to share their time and answer questions for the sake of scientific inquiry.  Any study involving research participants should ensure that such volunteers are treated fairly and ethically. As ...

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