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Human Genome

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NEWS
February 3, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
It has been 10 years since scientists sequenced the human genome and published the results. To celebrate that anniversary, the journal Science is publishing a series of reflections on the accomplishment -- and its importance on science today and in the future. The first musings appeared Thursday and included "vignettes" from the scientists who led the two teams that decoded the genome, Francis Collins and J. Craig Venter. Collins, now National Institutes of Health director, wrote glowingly about medical advances that have emerged from genome sequencing -- including the case of a 6-year-old boy whose inflammatory bowel disease may have been cured by scientists who sequenced his DNA and discovered a mutation that may have caused his symptoms.
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SCIENCE
January 29, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
The ancestors of most modern humans mated with Neanderthals and made off with important swaths of DNA that helped them adapt to new environments, scientists reported Wednesday. Some of the genes gained from these trysts linger in people of European and East Asian descent, though many others were wiped out by natural selection, according to reports published simultaneously by the journals Nature and Science. The stretches of Neanderthal DNA that remain include genes that altered hair and pigment, as well as others that strengthened the immune system, the scientists wrote.
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SCIENCE
September 6, 2012 | By Eryn Brown
In the decade since the human genome was published, scientists have been frustrated by their inability to figure out exactly how variations in genes promote disease. But the information assembled by ENCODE research -- which shows that regions of the genome once thought to be junk are actually stuffed with DNA “switches” that help direct genes in their work -- may help change that, scientists involved with the collaboration said Wednesday.  “Now that we have the switches, we can start to understand why a combination of DNA variants might increase the chances of a particular disease -- we can see which switch is malfunctioning and why,” said Harvard Medical School and Broad Institute pathologist Dr. Bradley Bernstein.
NEWS
September 18, 2013 | By Michael McGough
The always quotable Vice President Joe Biden took a shot at House Republicans the other day, referring to them as “this Neanderthal crowd” for having resisted speedy reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. His crack certainly offended Republicans. But, unknown to Biden, it also may have dissed a lot of Democrats. As Biden may or may not know, scientific thinking about Neanderthals has evolved in recent years. Anthropologists now believe that the stocky, beetle-browed and weak-chinned hominids were a lot smarter and more artistically inclined than the stereotype Biden invoked.
NEWS
September 5, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel
When the human genome was sequenced a decade ago, scientists hailed the feat as a technical tour de force - but they also knew it was just a start. Our DNA blueprint was finally laid bare, but no one knew what it all meant. Now an international team has taken the crucial next step by delivering the first in-depth report on what the endless loops and lengths of DNA inside our cells are up to. The findings, reported in a slew of papers Wednesday in the journals Nature, Science and other publications, move far beyond a straightforward list of genes.
NEWS
June 24, 2000 | Times wire services
Celera Genomics and the publicly funded Human Genome Project said Friday that they had finished making arrangements for a joint announcement on mapping the human genome. The two groups, which have sped to make a rough draft of the human DNA map, said they would make a joint announcement Monday in Washington. The U.S. Department of Energy, which has labs also involved in the public project, said it would join in the announcement.
BUSINESS
June 27, 2000
Here's a look at some biotech companies involved in human genome research and the development of drugs. Most of the companies are unprofitable and many have generated scant sales, but the sector has stirred tremendous investor enthusiasm because of the potential for scientific breakthroughs. Even with their recent rebounds, many of the stocks have come way down from their spring peaks. Which stocks do some of the sector analysts like?
SCIENCE
October 28, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The X Prize Foundation, which offers monetary awards for solutions to pressing scientific challenges, has tackled space travel, moon missions and oil spill cleanups. Now it's taking on the human genome. The Archon Genomics X Prize presented by Medco is challenging teams to accurately sequence the DNA of 100 centenarians within 30 days at $1,000 or less per genome. The first team to complete the task successfully will receive $10 million, and the sequenced genomes will be published for use in research.
BUSINESS
January 10, 2006 | From Bloomberg News
Amgen Inc. of Thousand Oaks acquired rights from Human Genome Sciences Inc. to develop and sell potential treatments for cancer and immune deficiencies. A statement by Human Genome didn't disclose the price. The potential treatments and tests are based on a gene identified by the company.
BUSINESS
June 24, 2000 | Bloomberg News, Times staff
Investors have been showing that they still like telecom stocks, but it's the biotech sector that really pushes their buttons these days. Human Genome Sciences Inc. (HGSI) demonstrated that Friday when its stock gained $12.38 to $145.38, bucking the general Nasdaq downturn, after the company said it's ready to start testing a treatment that could boost production of antibodies in people with immune system disorders.
SCIENCE
August 2, 2013 | By Melissa Pandika
The most recent common ancestors of modern-day men and women - dubbed “Adam” and “Eve” -- lived during roughly the same time period, contrary to previous findings indicating that Eve was tens of thousands of years older, according to two studies published Thursday in the journal Science. The researchers sequenced DNA from two key sources -- the Y-chromosome, which is passed only from father to son; and mitochondria, which provides energy for cells and is transmitted only from a mother to her children.
SCIENCE
May 7, 2013 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The history of Europe is written in its people's DNA. The Huns and the Slavs made incursions into Eastern Europe about 1,500 years ago. Migrants moved from Ireland to England in recent centuries. Populations in Italy and Spain have been comparatively stable. None of this is breaking news. But scientists were able to see it anew by examining the patterns of genes in 2,257 people now living in 40 countries on the continent. It's surprising "how much past history was still evident in the patterns we've seen," said Peter Ralph, a computational biologist at USC who reported the findings Tuesday in the journal PLOS Biology.
SCIENCE
April 3, 2013 | Melissa Healy
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.
SCIENCE
April 2, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
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.
SCIENCE
February 14, 2013 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
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.
OPINION
January 22, 2013 | Jonah Goldberg
In the early 1980s, transit officials in Washington couldn't figure out why traffic on the Beltway would grind to a near halt every day around the exact same time. The usual explanations didn't fit. Then it was discovered that a single driver was to blame. Every day on his drive to work, this commuter would plant himself in the left lane and set his cruise control to 55 mph, the posted speed limit, forcing those behind him to merge right, and you can imagine the effects. To his credit, this driver came forward in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post.
SCIENCE
April 15, 2003 | Rosie Mestel, Times Staff Writer
Scientists announced the formal completion of the human genome Monday -- a milestone marking the end of the first chapter of the genetics revolution and the dawn of a more arduous chapter two -- figuring out the meaning of it all. The next challenge will stretch far into the decades to come: determining the function of all 3 billion DNA letters, and understanding how those letters direct the growth, life, reproduction, disease and death of human beings.
BUSINESS
August 7, 2000 | ESTHER DYSON
Pioneering scientists have now mapped the entire human genome, building a huge database of all the human gene sequences. This database, however, is only the beginning. The information is raw and undefined, and much of it is superfluous data that sometimes just get in the way. "It's simply a listing of 3.5 billion base pairs [sequences of letters] containing genes, with no meaning," says John Couch, chief executive of DoubleTwist Inc.
SCIENCE
October 12, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
In many respects, it's getting easier and easier to sequence and interpret the human genome, the full set of DNA letters that makes up a person's genetic blueprint.  Technology is improving, making the process cheaper and faster .  Vast data centers allow researchers to probe genetic data on vast scales, seeking out connections between specific genetic variants and human traits.  Scientists are also beginning to understand better the function of...
SCIENCE
September 6, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel
A massive examination of the human genome has revealed that our DNA is  jam-packed with “switches” that regulate the actions of genes  -- turning them on, turning them off, et cetera. The volume of information produced from the effort (called ENCODE) was huge: Ewan Birney, the British scientist who coordinated analysis, estimated that it'd fill a poster 30 kilometers long and 16 meters high, as we note in our story . Birney told us he tried quite hard to get someone to produce the poster,  but nobody bit. The idea somehow evolved into an event offered up by London's Science Museum in which sylph-like women in skin-tight catsuits perform the “Dance of DNA” with aerial silks that are printed with bits of the project's data.
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