Tag: Genetics + Genomics

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.

Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC) Gene Plays a Role in Wiring the Mouse Brain and Spinal Cord

April 24, 1997

A new study has found that Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC), a gene thought to play a role in human colorectal cancer, does not play a role in the development of mouse colon cancer. Instead, the mouse version of the DCC gene, called Dcc, functions as a receptor involved in the wiring of the brain and the spinal cord. DCC was first identified in 1990 as a candidate "tumor suppressor" gene that acts as a brake during normal growth of colonic cells but is missing in most colon cancer cells. The new mouse study, led by Dr. Amin Fazeli in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, weakens the candidacy of DCC as a cancer gene and sho;ws that the gene helps establish connections in the developing nervous system.

New respect for the Y chromosome: sheltering genes that enhance male fertility

October 31, 1996

For decades the human Y chromosome, the male sex chromosome, has been the Rodney Dangerfield of human genetics: "it don't get no respect." For long, the Y was considered to be little more than a smaller, less stable version of the X. Now, new evidence from Dr. Page and his collaborators at the Whitehead Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Washington reveals that the Y chromosome has led an independent existence after all.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Genetic Factors May Account for Infertility in Otherwise Healthy Males

August 1, 1995

A team of U.S. and Finnish scientists has found that a specific defect in the male sex chromosome (the Y chromosome) may be responsible for 13 percent of cases of azoospermia, the complete inability to make sperm and the most severe form of male infertility. The study is one of the first to demonstrate that genetic defects can sometimes explain infertility in otherwise healthy couples and could lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms required to make healthy sperm. This research, reported in the August issue of Nature Genetics, was led by Dr. David Page of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

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