News Archive

 

A Gene Map of the Human Genome: International Group Maps a Fifth of all Genes on the Human Genome

October 25, 1996

An international consortium of genome laboratories from North America, Europe, and Japan has created a unified gene map that establishes the location of more than 16,000 human genes. The unified gene map represents the first edition of the quintessential goal of the Human Genome Project—a catalog of all the genes that make up a human being—and provides the location of one in five of all human genes.

Leaders in Science, Medicine, and Public Policy Celebrate Dedication of Whitehead Institute's New Research Wing

September 30, 1996

Keynote speaker Dr. Harold E. Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), President Charles M. Vest of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Senator Paul E. Tsongas, Chairman of the Board of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, joined more than 300 business leaders, educators, and scientists in dedication ceremonies for the Whitehead Institute's new research wing.

International Research Group Locates New Gene Linked to Type 2 Diabetes

September 2, 1996

Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) affects more than 100 million people worldwide. Screening more than 4,000 individuals from an isolated region in Finland, an international research group has located a gene, called NIDDM2, that may be involved in a significant fraction of adult-onset diabetes tied to low insulin secretion. The strategy used to find this gene has important implications for genetic analysis of other complex diseases (caused by the interaction of multiple genes and the environment), as well as our understanding of the causes of human diabetes.

Protein Folding and Calcium Binding Defects Account for Errors in Familial Hypercholesterolemia

August 28, 1996

Familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic disease characterized by high levels of cholesterol and early mortality, is caused by defects in the receptor for the low-density lipoprotein (LDL)—the bad cholesterol. Now, Boston area scientists have found that this occurs because mutations in the LDL receptor prevent the protein from folding into its normal shape. This in turn impedes the receptor's ability to bind bad cholesterol and remove it from the bloodstream, causing the hypercholesterolemia.

Novel Assay Provides Researchers a Key Tool to Study Nervous System Development

June 6, 1996

For the first time, scientists have isolated embryonic tissue from zebrafish and successfully grown the tissue in culture. This assay will offer scientists a long-sought and powerful research tool, allowing them to study early development in ways that are not possible with other model organisms like frogs, mice, or chicks. Using this culture, the scientists also found key genes involved in the formation of the zebrafish nervous system.

Genetic Factors Cause Low Sperm Counts in Some Otherwise Healthy Males

May 11, 1996

Scientists have found that a specific defect in the male sex (Y) chromosome, known to cause azoospermia, or the inability to make sperm, can also cause the most common form of male infertility-low sperm production, or oligozoospermia. This study is the first to definitively show that genetic defects can cause low sperm counts in some males and suggests that intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)—the now popular technology of injecting a single sperm into an egg to circumvent low sperm counts—may cause the sons of these men to inherit infertility.

Whitehead Member Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch Wins Prestigious German Prize for Pioneering Transgenic Technology

April 22, 1996

Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, a Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and Dr. Mario Capecchi from University of Utah in Salt Lake City have received the prestigious Molecular Bioanalytic Prize from the Boehringer Mannheim Group in Germany. In awarding this prize, the Group cited the scientists' pioneering work in establishing transgenes as a basic tool for research in molecular biology and medicine.

Whitehead Receives $26 Million NIH Grant to Begin Sequencing the Human Genome

April 11, 1996

The Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research has received a three year, $26 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin sequencing specific portions of the human genome. The Center's effort, along with others in the country, launches the final and most important phase of the Human Genome Project-decoding the exact sequence of the 3 billion DNA letters that make up the human being. Ultimately, sequencing the genome will help researchers identify disease-related genes and result in unprecedented advances in health care.

Clever Approach May Provide New Clues to Drug Design

March 28, 1996

Circumventing a long-standing problem in drug design, scientists have developed a novel way to identify a new class of protein building blocks that could serve as valuable leads for drug development. The new method, called mirror-image phage display, represents an important advance in the rapidly growing field of drug-design. It will also offer new insights into the structure and function of important proteins.

Whitehead Scientists Complete Major Goal of the Human Genome Project

March 13, 1996

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have achieved a major goal of the international Human Genome Project with the completion of the world's first comprehensive genetic map of the mouse genome. The mouse map appears in the March 14 issue of Nature along with a comprehensive genetic map of the human genome created by researchers at Genethon in France.

New Strains of BCG Could Lead to Better Vaccines and Cancer Therapy

January 12, 1996

Researchers at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Boston's Children's Hospital have found a new way to rev up the engines of the mammalian immune system. They have taken an organism used worldwide to vaccinate against tuberculosis and packaged inside it mammalian genes that stimulate immune cell function. This achievement could lead to more effective vaccines for a broad range of human diseases and also-because the same organism is used in immunotherapy for bladder cancer-to safer, more effective cancer therapy.

Whitehead Human Genome Map Ushers in Final Phase of U.S. Human Genome Project: Map Provides Landmarks Needed to Begin Large-Scale Sequencing of Human Chromosome

December 22, 1995

For the first time, scientists have created a map of the human genome that will allow them to begin the final phase of the Human Genome Project: decoding the exact sequence of all 3 billion DNA letters that make up the genetic instructions for building a human being. This powerful new map, described in the December 22 issue of Science, contains more than 15,000 distinct markers and covers virtually all of the human genome. It was created by scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and major input from the genetic mapping group at Généthon in France.

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