Category: SNPWatch

Back-to-School: The Genetics of Learning from Your Mistakes

For back-to-school month we’re running a series of posts on genetic factors that may impact learning. Here we describe a variant that may influence a person’s ability to learn from their mistakes. In a prior post we discuss a variant linked to non-verbal IQ performance. Attribution: ...

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SNPwatch: Novel Genetic Factors for Crohn’s Disease Identified for Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry

Crohn’s disease develops when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own gut cells. Although most people with European ancestry are pretty genetically similar, some sub-groups like Ashkenazi Jews have distinct genetic characteristics that carry important implications for health. For instance, people ...

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SNPWatch: Do These Genes Make My Brain Look Big?

If you have a big head, you may be subjected to a fair bit of teasing, but science may offer you some consolation. For instance, individuals with a smaller intracranial volume (the area within the skull) are at slightly higher risk for late-life dementia. In addition, a smaller hippocampus (a section of the ...

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No Hype Over Hypothyroidism

What do media mogul Oprah Winfrey, actress Mary-Louise Parker, and Olympic runner Carl Lewis have in common? Aside from their more than 15 minutes of fame, all three have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition where the body does not make enough thyroid hormone. This, in turn, can lead to fatigue, ...

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Did You Know? Genetics Might Influence “March Madness”

It’s that time of year again. That’s right... it’s March Madness and time to follow your favorite U.S. college basketball teams during playoffs. Some of you may be baffled by how much mental energy, time, and money Americans invest in sporting events, but those who participate will expound on the excitement ...

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SNPWatch: A First For Ewing Sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, is diagnosed in only about 250 children and teenagers in the United States each year. The vast majority of Ewing sarcomas are caused by a specific rearrangement of the DNA within bone cells – the EWSR1 gene on chromosome 22 becomes fused to the FLI1 gene on ...

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SNPwatch: The “Jist” on JAK2 and Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) have a complicated name but it’s an apt descriptor for the biology underlying this group of rare blood disorders. MPNs result from excessive production of “myeloid” blood cells that originate in the bone marrow, and come in different forms including essential thrombocythemia ...

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SNPwatch: New Genetic Insight into the Causes of Eczema

Sometimes called the “itch that rashes”, atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a relatively common condition, affecting up to one in five children and one in 30 adults (many people outgrow it by early adulthood). It can be both physically painful and emotionally difficult to live with since it’s not a disorder ...

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SNPWatch: Genetic Variants Linked to Male Infertility in Asians

Many couples who would like to start a family have difficulty doing so.  This disappointing and frustrating situation is more common than many people realize, affecting approximately one couple out of six worldwide. Given that female infertility issues receive so much attention, it may surprise some to learn ...

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SNPwatch: KIF6 Tangos with LDL Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease

LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries and is linked to coronary heart disease. Although people can do a lot to lower LDL levels and prevent heart disease — eating healthy, exercising, and taking certain medications — it’s also likely that genetics influences the relationship between LDL and heart ...

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