Tag: Genetics + Genomics

Scientists Produce the Script for Life

October 24, 2002

Imagine popping a movie into the VCR or DVD player and watching a list of credits for two hours—no movie, no plot, no dialogue—just the cast. That’s the problem facing contemporary biology. The human genome project has provided researchers with a growing list of genes—basically a cast of thousands of characters, running life inside the cell. But the key to understanding life, both in health and sickness, is the script that outlines how these cellular players interact, communicate, and cue each other.

SNPs Reveal Natural Selection in Human Populations

October 10, 2002

Some people carry better genetic armor for resisting infectious disease than others. For example, many Africans have allelic variants of several different genes that provide some resistance to malaria. Geneticists would like to know whether such resistance arose through selective pressure or merely represents random mutations that remain in the population.

Systems Biology: Creating the Circuits of Life

June 17, 2002

Whitehead Fellow Trey Ideker often thinks of himself as an engineer and the cell as a circuit. “I see myself looking at all the wires at once to understand how they work with each other and then making the wiring diagrams,” he says. “I want to know which wires are used for what—for example, which wires short-circuit to cause cancer and which need to stay active to keep the body healthy.” Ideker’s approach to understanding cell circuitry, an approach known as systems biology, is part of a new research initiative that is shifting biological science from the local to the global, from the parts to the whole.

Eric Lander Wins Novartis/Drew Award

December 12, 2001

Genome Center Director Eric Lander was recently awarded the Novartis/ Drew Award in Biomedical Research. Lander accepted the award on November 27 at a scientific symposium hosted by Drew University in New Jersey.

Scientists Sequence Male Infertility Region on Y Chromosome

November 16, 2001

In a tour de force in genomics, researchers led by the Whitehead Institute and the Washington University School of Medicine in St.Louis, Missouri, have sequenced and analyzed one of the most complicated terrains of the human genome. This region on the male sex (Y) chromosome, called AZFc, is important for sperm production and, when lost, causes male infertility.

Genoscope and Whitehead Announce the Draft Sequence of the Tetraodon Puffer Fish Genome

October 26, 2001

Chalking up another victory for comparative genomics, researchers from Genoscope (The French National Sequencing Center) in Paris, France, and the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research today announced that they have produced a six-fold sequence coverage of Tetraodon nigroviridis, a type of puffer fish whose genome is estimated to be 380 million DNA letters long.

Scientists Build Case for "Haplotype" Map of Human Genome, Find New Gene for Crohn’s Disease

October 3, 2001

In two companion papers this week, researchers from the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research report important findings that set the stage for the next steps in the Human Genome Project—mapping and identifying all the genes that predispose us to common diseases. The studies, one by Mark Daly, Eric Lander, and colleagues, and the other by John Rioux and colleagues at Whitehead Genome Center, provide the impetus for building a “haplotype” map of the genome—a map that will make it easier, faster, and perhaps cheaper to find disease-causing or disease-predisposing genes.

Researchers Build Diagram of Cell Cycle Clock

September 28, 2001

For the first time, researchers at the Whitehead Institute have mapped the complete circuit of one of life's most fundamental processes—the cell cycle, which tells cells when to divide. This network diagram describes the genetic switches and connections that form the circuit common to a process found in all living organisms, from bacteria to human beings. The findings were published in the September 21 issue of Cell by Whitehead Member Richard Young and his colleagues.

New Finding Accelerates Discovery of Disease Genes and Human Population History

May 9, 2001

In an exciting new development, scientists at the Whitehead Institute Center for Genome Research have found that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in northern Europeans—the single letter DNA differences that underlie disease susceptibility and individual variation—travel together in blocks that are much larger than previously thought. The finding has major implications for mapping disease genes and dissecting human population history.

The Masculinization of the X Chromosome: Many Genes for Early Male Sperm Production Reside on the X Chromosome

March 29, 2001

In an entirely counterintuitive result, scientists have found that nearly half of all genes related to the earliest stages of sperm production reside not on the male sex (Y) chromosome as expected, but on the X chromosome, a chromosome universally thought of as the female sex chromosome.

International Human Genome Mapping Consortium Publishes Physical Map of the Human Genome

February 12, 2001

The Human Genome Project international consortium today announced the publication of a draft sequence and initial analysis of the human genome–the genetic blueprint for a human being. The paper appears in the Feb.15 issue of the journal Nature. The draft sequence, which covers more than 90 percent of the human genome, represents the exact order of DNA’s four chemical bases–commonly abbreviated as A, T, C, and G–along the human chromosomes. This DNA text influences everything from eye color and height, to aging and disease.

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