Posts tagged ‘Genetics’
There has been so much hogwash related to the science behind autism, much of which was created by a fraudulent study published, and later retracted, in Lancet several years ago. In a Ted presentation that took place in Vancouver, BC last month, Dr. Wendy Chung presents scientific evidence regarding what we do and do not know about the causes of autism.
A new study by a University of British Columbia researcher finds that some people are genetically predisposed to see the world darkly.
The study, published in Psychological Science, finds that a previously known gene variant can cause individuals to perceive emotional events—especially negative ones – more vividly than others.
“This is the first study to find that this genetic variation can significantly affect how people see and experience the world,” says Prof. Rebecca Todd of UBC’s Dept. of Psychology. “The findings suggest people experience emotional aspects of the world partly through gene-coloured glasses – and that biological variations at the genetic level can play a significant role in individual differences in perception.”
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.
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.
A team of researchers from Sweden, Norway, and the United States compared genetic code of the domestic dog to genetic code of the wolf. The scientists say that their study findings show that the digestive system of dogs has adapted to live on a diet that is similar to the diet of humans. The scientists say that previous research suggested dogs began to be domesticated when ancient wolves began feeding and scavenging in waste dumps near human settlements.
The scientists say that dogs are estimated to have split from their wolf cousins somewhere between 7000 and 30,000 years ago. The scientists believe that only wolves that learned to better digest human leftovers survived to become the ancestors of modern dogs. In their study, the team compared sequenced genomes from 12 wolves from different areas of the world to the genomes of 60 dogs from 14 different breeds.
During their genomic study, the scientists found 36 genomic regions that are believed to have been modified through domestication. The specific genes play a role with the ability to digest starches. The scientists also say that the dog is likely the first animal that man domesticated, marking a key point of development for modern human civilization.
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One of the mysteries of blindness has been solved. A team of international scientists in collaboration with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) identified a new gene responsible for Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a devastating genetic form of blindness in newborns. What makes this discovery so exceptional is that this new gene called NMNAT1 – known to be crucial for life – has never been associated with any human disease. This is the first time such a major correlation has been established. The study was published today in the journal Nature Genetics.
By far, one of the best sites on the web for learning about genomics is the NIH’s Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms. The website has a menu with a comprehensive list of relevant terms. Clicking on the hyperlinks gives you access to animated tutorials narrated by some of the best minds in the business along with non-copywrite images and 3D animations that help give viewers a clear understanding of the topic they are interested in.
For the experienced scientist, the website is a useful resource for helping explain to your friends and family exactly what you do in the lab and for finding illustrations to use in any way you choose (the site is in the public domain and therefore information may be freely distributed and copied).
I took the test and scored a 10/10 and I am attaching the certificate below to prove it. (I’m not going to tell you how many times I took the test before I received a perfect score;-)