The image above is from one of the earliest studies on the genetics of clefting done here at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Those were the days, weren’t they? You had to track signs and symptoms across generations, for decades, trying to deduce large scale patterns. Now we spit in a tube and mail it off.
The Future of Genomic Medicine was just happening. It was being actively tweeted by a number of leading figures in healthcare and science — Eric Topol, Carl Zimmer, Dr. Khoury from the CDC, Magdalene Skipper from Nature, and (uh) Al Gore, just for starters. It was so active that the original hashtag, #FOGM14, had to be dropped because of spammers, and they group switched to #FOGM2014. It was so active that even though it happened two weeks ago, the hashtags are still active on Twitter with people continuing the conversations around the conference. Here are just a highly selected few tweets with interesting thoughts, resources, and take-aways from this important conference.
From the New York Times:
Research has confirmed that people’s physiological responses to exercise vary wildly. Now a new genetic test promises to tell you whether you are likely to benefit aerobically from exercise. The science behind the test is promising, but is this information any of us really needs to know?
The new test, which is being sold by a British company called XRGenomics, is available to anyone through the company’s Web site and involves rubbing inside your cheek with a supplied swab and returning the tissue sample to the company. Results are then available within a few weeks. It is based on a body of research led by James Timmons, a professor of systems biology at Loughborough University in England, and colleagues at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana and other institutions.
That original research, published in a landmark 2010 study, looked into the genetics of why some people respond to endurance exercise so robustly, while others do not. Some lucky men and women take up jogging, for example, and quickly become much more aerobically fit. Others complete the same program and develop little if any additional endurance, as measured by increases in their VO12 max, or their body’s ability to consume and distribute oxygen to laboring muscles.
For the 2010 study, Dr. Timmons and his colleagues genotyped muscle tissue from several groups of volunteers who had completed 6 to 20 weeks of endurance training. They found that about 30 variations in how genes were expressed had a significant effect on how fit people became. The new test looks for those genetic markers in people’s DNA.
“The idea is to help people to understand why” they might be progressing more slowly in an exercise program than their training partners are, says Dr. Timmons, one of the founders of XRGenomics.
Read the complete story here.
Reposted from the NIH News:
1000 Genomes Project data available on Amazon Cloud
Project is Exemplar of New White House Big Data Initiative
The world’s largest set of data on human genetic variation — produced by the international 1000 Genomes Project — is now publicly available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, the National Institutes of Health and AWS jointly announced today [posted on March 29,2012].
The public-private collaboration demonstrates the kind of solutions that may emerge from the Big Data Research and Development Initiative announced today by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) during an event at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.
“The explosion of biomedical data has already significantly advanced our understanding of health and disease. Now we want to find new and better ways to make the most of these data to speed discovery, innovation and improvements in the nation’s health and economy,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Collins is among agency leaders speaking in support of the initiative at the launch event…
Read the full story at http://www.nih.gov/news/health/mar2012/nhgri-29.htm.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Technology Assessment Program draft entitled “Update on Mapping the Landscape of Genetic Tests for Non-Cancer Diseases/Conditions” will be available for review at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/ta/tareview.htm from 9:00 AM on April 4, 2012, to 5:00 PM on April 18, 2012.
On 22 March, Amy McGuire of the Baylor College of medicine will speak on participant attitudes toward genomic data sharing, investigators’ practices and perspectives on the return of genetic research results, ethical issues in human microbiome research, and ethical and policy issues related to the clinical integration of genomics.
- Date: 22 March
- Time: 3:30-4:45
- Location: 1655 Crossroads SPH 1
- Sponsors: Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine & School of Public Health
The Shots blog at NPR reports a study from PLoS One, which suggests that using race as a stand-in for personalized genetic information may not work, especially in certain areas. Because there’s so much genetic variation among races, the labels that people use for themselves don’t provide the right information for doctors who want to look for genetic risk patterns in the community.
Read more here.
The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog writes of a report on the association between dog breed and cause of mortality recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, which may pave the way for future research into the genetic causes of the same diseases in humans.