Genetic Future

Archives for September, 2008

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has discovered that he carries a genetic variant associated with a fairly serious increase in Parkinson’s disease risk. Brin found out about the variant through a 23andMe genome scan (Brin is married to 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki, so I’m sure he gets to play with the company’s toys as much as…

This will probably only be of interest to population genetics afficianados, but I just noticed that the HapMap project has made its phase 3 data available through its browser (the data were previously available for download, but are much more accessible – especially to non-bioinformaticians – through the browser interface). The HapMap project is a…

The genome-wide association study has been the technique du jour in human genetics for much of the last two years. It’s a pure brute force approach, surveying up to a million sites of common variation throughout the genomes of thousands of people at a time, some of whom suffer from a particular disease, and some…

Why do genome-wide scans fail?

The successes of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in identifying genetic risk factors for common diseases have been heavily publicised in the mainstream media – barely a week goes by these days that we don’t hear about another genome scan that has identified new risk genes for diabetes, lupus, cardiac disease, or any of the other…

First Arab genome sequenced

This story doesn’t seem to have got much press – understandably, since the media is getting sick of “first” genomes, and there’s very little useful information available in the press releases – but a collaborative effort between Saudi Biosciences, the Beijing Genomics Institute and bioinformatics provider CLCbio has announced the sequencing of the first Arab…

Update: Please RSVP on Facebook if possible. Tim Lambert from Deltoid has organised a ScienceBlogs millionth comment party in Sydney. I’ll be there as well (albeit probably looking a little frazzled and well in need of a beer, as I move to the UK on the following Monday!). Here’s what Sydney readers need to know:…

10 hints on parsing

A quick note for bioinformaticians in the audience: Neil Saunders has an excellent post on parsing (i.e. processing a file to retrieve specific sections of interest). Neil’s hints are a useful introduction for beginners, but also provide some handy reminders for long-time programmers.

Yesterday I discussed the decision of personal genomics company 23andMe to slash its price for a genome scan by 60%, to under $400. In the comments to that post, industry observer David Hamilton pointed me to an article he’s written for BNET on the implications of 23andMe’s price plunge, which (like everything he writes) is…

23andMe is one of three companies currently providing chip-based personal genomics assays, which provide information about up to a million sites of common variation throughout the human genome. These companies provide insight into a limited but informative slice of your genetic diversity, as I discussed yesterday, giving you information about variants contributing to the risk…

This little USB drive represents the current pinnacle of luxury personal genomics. It’s the product of Knome (pronounced “know me”), a Cambridge, MA-based biotech start-up fronted by genomics pioneer George Church (recently profiled in Wired). In return for $350,000, Knome’s customers receive a shiny 8 Gb drive containing their entire genome sequence (or rather, a…