Tag Archives: dna

DNA instruments?

Photo: Jan Chipchase
What would a straw designed for collecting DNA samples look like? What kinds of drinks would be compatible with collecting that sample i.e. not contaminate the sample? Is there a point when accepting a drink + straw is the equivalent of contractually agreeing to have a DNA sample collected?

A decade on since Human Genome mapped

“Ten years since scientists first mapped the human genome, the man who runs the Wellcome Trust Sir Mark Walport – which spends hundreds of million of pounds each year on medical research – thinks it is time to start thinking about how we use genetic information.”

Tomorrow, Eureka – Times Online’s Science column – will be taking an in-depth look at some of the businesses that have been launched on the back of the genetic advances of the past decade. In particular the resulting sustainability if the personal genome businesses that have made bucks form selling predictive risk analysis. The author of the piece states that it will “chart the very different ways in which the rival companies eg. 23andMe and the defunct Decode Me are trying to turn a profit, their different attitudes to data-sharing, privacy and medical supervision, and the implications their models will have for the future of personal genetics.”

An event to watch out for that is running in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust’s ‘identity‘ exhibition:

The National DNA Database on Trial
04 February 2010, 19.00 – 20.30

Memory maybe stored in our dna and can be passed on to our offspring: is this where pastlives come from?

Could memories be stored by making modifications to your DNA? link

To remember a particular event, a specific sequence of neurons must fire at just the right time. For this to happen, neurons must be connected in a certain way by chemical junctions called synapses. But how they last over decades, given that proteins in the brain, including those that form synapses, are destroyed and replaced constantly, is a mystery. Now Courtney Miller and David Sweatt of the University of Alabama in Birmingham say that long-term memories may be preserved by a process called DNA methylation – the addition of chemical caps called methyl groups onto our DNA. With various experiments on mice using shock treatments, Miller and Sweatt   “_think we’re seeing short-term memories forming in the hippocampus and slowly turning into long-term memories in the cortex,” says Miller, who presented the results last week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC.

Can experiences be passed on to offspring? link

What was your mother up to before you were even a twinkle in her eye? You might not think it matters, but it seems that in mice at least, mothers that receive mental training before they become pregnant can pass on its cognitive benefits to their young. Previous studies in both people and animals have shown that a mother’s experiences while pregnant can affect her offspring’s gene expression and health, even years later. However, it was not known if experiences prior to pregnancy had an effect. Larry Feig at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston and his colleagues bred “knockout” mice that lacked a gene called Ras-GRF-2, causing them to have a memory defect. Normally, if mice in a cage receive a shock to their feet, they freeze in fear if they are then placed back into the same cage. In contrast, Ras-GRF2 knockout mice did not associate the cage with fear.