Tag: Genetics + Genomics

International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium Announces "Working Draft" of Human Genome

June 26, 2000

The Human Genome Project public consortium today announced that it has assembled a working draft of the sequence of the human genome — the genetic blueprint for a human being. This major milestone involved two tasks: placing large fragments of DNA in the proper order to cover all of the human chromosomes, and determining the DNA sequence of these fragments.

Tracing the Evolution of Sex Chromosomes

October 29, 1999

Of the 46 human chromosomes, 44 are members of identical pairs. But two—the X and the Y—stand apart because they have no perfect match. Nevertheless, evolution has charged these two genetic loners with the critical task of sex determination: embryos with two X chromosomes develop into females, while embryos with an X and a Y chromosome develop into males.

New DNA Chip Method Could Improve Cancer Diagnosis

October 14, 1999

One of the biggest challenges in cancer treatment is choosing the right regimen for a given patient. Treatment strategies work differently for different tumors. In choosing effective treatments with minimal side effects, oncologists rely heavily on biopsy reports that diagnose the tumor type involved. However, even today, cancer diagnosis is done the old-fashioned way: by observing morphological changes in biopsies under the microscope. The method suffers from serious limitations because cancer cells that look similar under the microscope can follow different clinical courses and respond differently to therapy. Now, in a new study reported in Friday's Science,a team of Whitehead-led researchers reports the first systematic and objective approach for identifying and classifying tumor types.

Whitehead Receives $35 Million Grant from National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

March 12, 1999

The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Medical Research will receive approximately $35 million from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health, to participate in the first year of the definitive, full-scale effort to sequence the human genome.

“SOMs” Help Analyze Thousands of Genes

March 12, 1999

Using a sophisticated computer algorithm, a team of scientists at the Whitehead Institute has designed a new technique to analyze the massive amounts of data generated by DNA microarrays, also known as DNA chips. This technique will help scientists decipher how our 100,000 genes work together to keep us healthy and how diseases result when they fail.

Whitehead Receives $7 million NIH Grant to Build High-Speed Sequencing Machines

March 1, 1999

The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has received a three-year, $7 million grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute to develop chip-based genome sequencing machines that can sequence 7 million DNA letters per day, or 2 billion letters per year. Once these machines are up and running, it would be possible to use as few as 20 machines to sequence an entire mammalian genome in one year, according to Whitehead scientists.

Scientists use DNA Chips to Dissect Cells’ Genome Circuitry

November 24, 1998

Using a hot new microchip technology, scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have identified how key components of the cell’s gene-reading machinery coordinate the expression of genes throughout the genome of a living organism.

Whitehead Study Establishes Role of DNA Methylation in the Stability of DNA

April 2, 1998

Scientists at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have established for the first time that DNA methylation, a chemical process by which cells alter how genes are read without changing the basic text, may also be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the genome, or in other words, for ensuring that the 3 billion-letter DNA code is copied accurately when cells divide.

Study Paints New Picture Of Y Chromosome as a Safe Haven for Male Fertility Genes

October 24, 1997

For decades scientists thought that the human Y chromosome, the male sex chromosome, was nothing more than a smaller, less stable version of its partner, the X (the sex chromosome present in both females and males). However, new research led by Dr. David Page, member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, reverses this unflattering picture of the Y and reveals it as a crucial player in the evolution of sex chromosomes and also as a safe haven for male fertility genes. These results are not only generating a new respect for the Y chromosome but also could lead to novel diagnostic techniques for thousands of infertile men. The results also have profound implications for understanding the genetic differences between men and women and the genetic underpinnings of chromosomal disorders such as Turner syndrome.

First Images of Key Viral Protein Could Lead to New Strategies for Human Gene Therapy

September 12, 1997

New images of an L-shaped molecule on the surface of a mouse leukemia virus could help scientists realize the promise of human gene therapy—the effort to cure disease by inserting genes directly into human cells. The images, published in the September 12 issue of Science, show the crystal structure of a piece of the virus's envelope protein—the piece required to recognize and bind to receptors on the surface of a mammalian cell.

Discovery of Genetic Pathways May Provide New Ways to Combat Candida Infections

September 5, 1997

A new study has uncovered the genetic wiring diagram underlying the infectiousness of Candida albicans, a fungus that causes thrush in babies, vaginal infections in women, and life-threatening infections in chemotherapy and AIDS patients. The study, led by Dr. Gerald R. Fink, Director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, reveals that one key to Candida's infectiousness lies in its ability to switch from a rounded form to filamentous forms. When the wiring diagram underlying this switch is inactivated, Candida infections are no longer deadly in mice.

Newly Discovered Human Protein Provides Important Target for Cancer Therapy

August 14, 1997

The discovery of a key molecule linked to the immortalization of human tumor cells provides an important new target for anti-cancer drug design. Researchers led by Dr. Robert A. Weinberg of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have isolated and cloned the gene for the long-sought catalytic subunit of human telomerase, a molecule believed to play a major role in the transition from normal to cancerous growth.

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