Author: ErinC

Genetics: Looking Back and Looking Forward

The tenth anniversary of the completion of the first draft of the human genome is approaching, apparently putting a lot of scientists in the mood for reflection on the past and speculation about the future of genetics. The journal Nature has a series of opinion articles and two news articles on the ...

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Malaria Parasite May Have Found Way To Thwart Protective Genetic Variation

Each year at least 350 million people around the world are infected by malaria parasites.  More than one million people, mainly young children, succumb to the disease.  But these numbers would be even higher if it weren’t for genetic adaptations that have evolved in populations living in areas where malaria ...

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Analysis of Ancient DNA Suggests A Previously Unknown Type of Extinct Human Ancestor

Denisova cave from the outside. / Bence Viola. DNA isolated from a tiny bone fragment from the finger of a being that walked the earth between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago has possibly added a new branch to the human family tree. The piece of bone was found in the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains, ...

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SNPwatch: Researchers Identify Genetic Variation That Contributes to Skin Color Differences in East Asians

From rich brown to almost translucent white, human skin colors span a remarkable spectrum. The evolutionary story of how we came to be such a varied species skin color-wise began around 40,000 years ago when the human groups that had left Africa and spread out along the southern coast of Asia began to ...

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Confusion Over Utility of Common Genetic Variations in Breast Cancer Risk Prediction

A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) this week, entitled "Performance of Common Genetic Variants in Breast-Cancer Risk Models," has led several media outlets to declare that common genetic variants have nothing to add when it comes to predicting breast cancer risk.  Here we'll ...

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NIH to Create Public Database of Genetic Tests

Today the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its plans to create a public database in which genetic test providers will voluntarily deposit information about their services that can then be searched by researchers, consumers, health care providers, and others. The aim of this Genetic Testing ...

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Genetic Tests Can Reduce Risks From Blood Thinner Warfarin

Editor’s note: Pending an FDA decision, 23andMe no longer offers new customers access to health reports referred to in this post. Customers who purchased prior to November 22, 2013 will still be able to see their health reports, but those who purchased after that time will not. Those customers will have ...

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FDA Adds Boxed Warning to Plavix Label to Highlight Reduced Effectiveness of the Drug In Poor Metabolizers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated the label information for the commonly used anti-clotting medication Plavix® (clopidogrel) to stress to physicians that patients carrying certain genetic variations may not receive the full benefit from the drug. Plavix reduces the chance a harmful ...

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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer (excluding skin cancers) and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Each year about 150,000 people are diagnosed with the disease. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include age (most cases occur in people over 50), ...

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SNPwatch: Researchers Identify Variations Associated with When Junior Gets His First Chompers

Researchers have identified several genetic variations associated with the timing of a baby's first tooth and the number of teeth at age one. The results, published recently in the journal PLoS Genetics, could be important for understanding more about human health than just this rite of passage all babies ...

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