Author Archive

Origin of India’s caste system revealed in new genetic study


Researchers found that people from different genetic populations in India began mixing about 4,200 years ago, but the mingling stopped around 1,900 years ago, according to the analysis published earlier this month today in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Combining this new genetic information with ancient texts, the results suggest that class distinctions emerged 3,000 to 3,500 years ago, and caste divisions became strict roughly two millennia ago.

Article Abstract: Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India

Most Indian groups descend from a mixture of two genetically divergent populations: Ancestral North Indians (ANI) related to Central Asians, Middle Easterners, Caucasians, and Europeans; and Ancestral South Indians (ASI) not closely related to groups outside the subcontinent. The date of mixture is unknown but has implications for understanding Indian history. We report genome-wide data from 73 groups from the Indian subcontinent and analyze linkage disequilibrium to estimate ANI-ASI mixture dates ranging from about 1,900 to 4,200 years ago. In a subset of groups, 100% of the mixture is consistent with having occurred during this period. These results show that India experienced a demographic transformation several thousand years ago, from a region in which major population mixture was common to one in which mixture even between closely related groups became rare because of a shift to endogamy.

August 13, 2013 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

Canada’s Life Sciences Clusters

The Area Development Online portal recently reported on Canada’s Life Sciences Clusters.

Toronto’s biotech cluster is the largest in Canada, with established headquarters for nearly 50 global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as numerous research facilities. A new addition is Sunnybrook Research Institute’s recently opened Centre for Image-Guided Therapeutics. The $160 million, 150,000-square-foot facility provides space for more than 300 research and clinical teams that are working in partnership with 30 leading biotechnology companies and other organizations on new devices and treatments.

The Greater Montreal, Quebec, region, is a major world center for biotechnology. The largest amount of biotech R&D in Canada is conducted in Montreal, including work on aging, neuroscience, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, genetics, genomics, and proteomics. In 2011 Montreal ranked sixth among North America’s largest metropolitan areas in life sciences employment. Over $1.6 billion in venture capital was invested in Montreal’s life sciences industry between 2001 and 2011.

Greater Montreal is where many internationally recognized biotechnology companies are headquartered, including Alethia Biotherapeutics, Bio-K Plus International, and Caprion, a leader in proteomic services. Caprion has experienced growth of 35–40 percent over the past few years, a trend that should continue as the company develops its own diagnostic tools for cancer and other diseases.

“Greater Montreal has a significant pool of talent trained in the scientific disciplines that are critical for our success,” indicates Martin Leblanc, president and CEO of Caprion. “It also has people with vital management and business development skills. What we have is a complete ecosystem, a unique cluster in North America that brings together players capable of collaborating and adopting common strategies.”

Halifax — a major port and the regional growth engine for Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Canada region, as well as one of the most competitive Canadian cities for doing business — supports another life sciences cluster. For example, the Brain Repair Centre, based at Dalhousie University, is an internationally acclaimed partnership that brings together more than 100 world-class researchers and physicians to find treatments for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injury, and other brain disorders. Halifax is also home to a world-class marine research cluster that includes Defense Research and Development Canada; the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dalhousie University; and Lockheed Martin’s Technology Collaboration Center.

Manitoba’s biotechnology sector is one of the fastest-growing in Canada, with a focus on biomedical R&D and agricultural biotechnology. Winnipeg is home to the National Research Council’s Institute for Biodiagnostics, Canada’s most advanced research facility for developing nuclear and other magnetic resonance imaging technologies.

Click here for the complete article.

Area Development

August 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment



World’s first lab-grown burger eaten by humans

An artificial beef burger grown by scientists in a laboratory was revealed in London yesterday. The burger was cooked by chef Richard McGowan, from Cornwall, and tasted by food critics. It’s thought that growing meat in labs may be kinder to the environment and reduce animal suffering. The meat is grown from just a few animal cells, so animals wouldn’t need to be killed to make the burgers. The sample burger cost about £250,000!

While the advance is impressive the taste review was not. Given the cost there is clearly more work to be done.

August 6, 2013 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Reversing the Canadian brain drain


Mitacs Globalink is now accepting professor projects in all disciplines for Mitacs Globalink 2014. After submitting projects to Mitacs, professors are matched with a top undergraduate student on a 12-week project. For examples of past Globalink placements and success stories, we encourage you to visit the Globalink Student and Faculty Profiles. For additional program information and benefits for Canadian faculty, please visit the Information for Canadian Faculty web page.

If you are interested in submitting a project to be matched with a Globalink Research Intern in summer 2014, please visit the Globalink Faculty Application page or contact

More on the Global Link program in the Victoria News.

July 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Biotech week

Creative Canadian Science: National Biotechnology Week Overview

National Biotechnology Week drew to a close with a record number of engagement opportunities across the country. The events were created by our regional accord partners and raised awareness for the industry, highlighting the passion and power of biotechnology players across the country. The companies were proud to present their work and show the promise of today’s Canadian bio-economy.

Canadian biotechnology companies are developing sustainable bioenergy technologies to power cars and jet aircrafts. Renewable composite materials are now an essential component of virtually every aspect of our lives, from transportation to housing to manufacturing. Clean chemicals are produced for a host of other consumer and commercial products. Many sectors are reinventing themselves and preparing to compete globally in the very promising bio-economy.

With thousands of participants each year, National Biotechnology Week is an opportunity to collaborate and showcase the impact our industry has on the daily lives of Canadians.

BIOTECanada Advocacy Day saw industry leaders from agriculture, health and industrial sectors join Members of Parliament to discuss the strategy for continuing to build the sector in Canada. Together we are advancing science-based public policy and increasing awareness of biotechnology.

Canada’s biotechnology industry is now an essential component of the transformation and redefinition of many traditional economic cornerstones, including forestry, energy, aerospace and other manufacturing industries. In partnership with these sectors, the biotechnology industry has helped position the Canadian economy as a leader in the emerging global bio-economy. There is now a bio-based component in virtually all sectors of the economy in the form of improved products and processes.

June 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

Biotechnology News

Canadian vaccine maker Medicago has just reported positive results for its H7N9 avian influenza vaccine candidate, making it the first company to achieve positive interim results from a preclinical trial for the indication.

For more click here.


June 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

Media Release

Journalist and Engineers Showcase Engineering Achievement

YELLOWKNIFE, Northwest Territories, June 7, 2013 /CNW/ – Canada’s engineering profession will once again celebrate excellence in engineering during its annual Engineers Canada Awards Gala, held at the Weledeh Catholic School in Yellowknife. The event marks the inaugural year for an award for excellence in engineering journalism.

Tyler Irving will take home the medal for his article, “Nature’s Industrialists” published in Canadian Chemical News, on the use of advanced research in biotechnology to create “forest biorefineries.” Irving’s article uses accessible language to describe a critical yet complex technology for Canada’s future chemical manufacturing from renewable resources.

“We are so pleased to recognize the important role the media plays in making engineering accessible to Canadians,” said Catherine Karakatsanis, FEC, FCAE, P.Eng., president of Engineers Canada.

Also honoured this evening will be Elizabeth Cannon, FEC, P.Eng., who will receive the prestigious Gold Medal Award. Currently president of University of Calgary, Cannon is a former dean of the Schulich School of Engineering. Her research and teaching in the area of satellite navigation for land, air and marine applications have garnered Cannon an impressive international reputation as a leading engineer in the area of satellite navigation.

“In addition to her research, Elizabeth Cannon is a passionate advocate for the importance of higher education in fostering the talents of young engineers,” said Karakatsanis. “She and all the 2013 award recipients are leaders in their respective fields and in the profession. The recipients exemplify how positive contributions across the profession have an impact on communities, the environment and future generations.”

We are pleased that Ziya Tong, co-host of Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, will once again be our special host of the awards gala.

The 2013 Engineers Canada Award recipients are:

  • Gold Medal Award – Elizabeth Cannon, FEC, P.Eng.
  • Young Engineer Achievement Award – Goldie Nejat, Ph.D., P.Eng.
  • Meritorious Service Award for Community Service – Mohinder S. Grover, FEC, Ph.D., P.Eng.
  • Meritorious Service Award for Professional Service – M.G. (Ron) Britton, FEC, FCAE, P.Eng.
  • Award for the Support of Women in the Engineering Profession – Josephine Hill, P.Eng.
  • Award of Journalism Excellence in Engineering – Tyler Irving
  • Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education – Arindom Sen, P.Eng.
  • National Award for an Engineering Project or Achievement – BC Place Revitalization

Visit for more information.

The Engineers Canada Awards are sponsored by Manulife Financial, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, ENCON and the Great-West Life Assurance Company. Engineers Canada is the national organization of the 12 provincial and territorial associations that regulate the practice of engineering in Canada and license the country’s more than 250,000 members of the engineering profession.

SOURCE: Engineers Canada

June 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

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