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Archives for November, 2007

GenomeWeb reports that Rite Aid drug stores on the West coast are now selling kits for doing paternity tests. The kits are made by Sorenson Genomics in Utah. Sorenson Genomics calls it the “peace-mind-test.” Really! Each kit contains a swab for collecting cheek cells from the inside of your mouth and a container for mailing…

Would you recognize your leftovers when they’re magnified? Would you know turkey if you saw it at 40X? Make a guess and click an image to see the answer.

Which read(s): 1. contain either a SNP (a single nucleotide polymorphism) or a position where different members of a multi-gene family have a different base? C 2. doesn’t have any DNA? B 3. is a PCR product? A, B, and C.  All of three reads were obtained by sequencing PCR products, generated with the same…

The genie is out of the bottle. Personal genomes are not just for Venter and Watson anymore. Three competing companies, 23andme, Decode, and Navigenics are betting that you want to do a little better than reading your horoscopes and playing with tea leaves. They think that you want to know something about your destiny and…

Sexual attraction is all in your brain. At least if you’re a nematode.

Since DNA diagnostics companies seem to be sprouting like mushrooms after the rain, it seemed like a good time to talk about how DNA testing companies decipher meaning from the tests they perform. Last week, I wrote about interpreting DNA sequence traces and the kind of work that a data analyst or bioinformatics technician does…

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself biology. Digital biology, the field that I write about, is particularly well-suited to this kind of fun and exploration. Last week, I wrote some instructions for making a phylogenetic tree from mitochondrial genomes. This week, we’ll continue our analysis.

DNA sequence traces are often used in cases where: We want to identify the source of the nucleic acid. We want to detect drug-resistant variants of human immune deficiency virus. We want to know which base is located at which position, especially where we might be able to diagnose a human disease or determine the…

Students at Soldan International High School are participating in an amazing experiment and breaking ground that most science teachers fear to tread. Soldan students, along with hundreds of thousands of other people, are participating in the National Geographic’s Genographic Project. Through this project, students send in cheek swabs, DNA is isolated from the cheek cells,…

Irony in RNA: a puzzle

This structure is called a “kissing loop” and I find that name just a bit odd, given the source of the structure.