April 3, 2013 |
Making good on a promise first hinted at during his State of the Union speech in February, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled the broad outlines of a scientific initiative aimed at mapping the human brain. The project's ambitious goals include understanding how the brain forms memories and controls behavior; how it becomes damaged by conditions such as Parkinson's disease and autism; and how it can be repaired when afflicted by Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and other illnesses.
April 2, 2013 |
President Obama's brain-mapping initiative, for which he has proposed $110 million in federal funding for 2014, will focus how on how the brain is affected by conditions such as Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia and autism; how it produces memories and programs human behavior; and what treatments could lead to cures for post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's disease and other neuropsychiatric afflictions. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative is modeled after the Human Genome Project of the 1990s and early 2000s.
February 14, 2013 |
About 30,000 years ago, a tiny mutation arose in a gene known as EDAR and began to spread rapidly in central China, eventually becoming common in the region. This week, scientists at Harvard University offered some explanations for why the EDAR mutation may have been so successful - by observing how it affects mice, animals long used in disease research but never before pressed into service for the study of human evolution. The small change, substituting one chemical letter of DNA for another, may have helped humans in Asia survive crippling heat and humidity by endowing them with extra sweat glands, the scientists reported Thursday in the journal Cell.
January 18, 2013 |
Scouring information available to anyone with an Internet connection, a team of genetic sleuths deduced the names of dozens of supposedly anonymous people who had their DNA analyzed for scientific and medical research. The snooping feat, which took advantage of genealogy websites that let people compare their DNA to search for relatives, was in full compliance with federal privacy regulations. Experts said it underscored a stark reality about genetic privacy in the age of social media: Don't count on it. "Nobody can promise privacy," said Mildred Cho, who heads up Stanford University's Center for Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics, and wasn't involved with the study.
November 29, 2012 |
Another day, another genome -- that's how easy large-scale DNA sequencing has gotten these days. Following fast on the tracks of the domestic Duroc pig and the watermelon , bread wheat, Triticum aestivum , now has its genetic code laid bare. It was a tough job -- because the ancient events that gave rise to wheat involved three separate hybridization events between close grassy relatives, resulting in a hulking, bloated genome....
November 15, 2012 |
There's a lot a researcher can learn, it turns out, from studying some cells from a common farm pig. Assembling the genome, or DNA letters, of a domestic Duroc pig named T.J. Tabasco and comparing it with the genomes of the wild boar, the mouse, the dog, the horse, the cow - and yes, the human - members of the Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium were able to determine that Asian and European pig lineages split 800,000 to 1.6 million years ago, suggesting...