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Category Archives: Genetics

Link between broiler genetics, gut health and immune response becomes clearer in University of Maryland study – The Poultry Site

Posted: August 31, 2021 at 1:59 am

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation announce the completion of a funded research project at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, in which researchers identified the contribution of broiler genetics on gut health and immune response when challenged with Salmonella Typhimurium.

The research was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Ingram Farms and is part of the Associations comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. A summary of the completed project is as follows.

(Dr Shawna Weimer, Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland)

Dr Shawna Weimer and colleagues at the University of Maryland recently completed a research project that evaluated the differences in immune response, gut morphology and microbiome, and behavior of fast- and slow-growing broiler chickens challenged with Salmonella typhimurium.

The results showed that Salmonella did induce a small variety of responses, including impaired intestinal morphology in fast-growing birds at 24 days and elevated IgA concentrations at 21 days in the slow-growing birds. The fast-growing birds were heavier, had greater jejunum gut integrity, and greater concentrations of immunoglobulins IgA and IgG in blood plasma by 24 days.

Slow-growing birds had greater IgG concentrations at 7 days and their gut integrity was more resilient to challenge by 24 days. Behaviorally, fast-growing broilers were less exploratory, social and aggressive than slow growing. Birds from both breeds and challenge treatments sat more and stood less on days 16 and 20 after challenge, which the researchers hypothesize could have been due to the stress of subjection to oral gavage.

The results of this study indicate that meaningful genotypic and phenotypic differences exist between fast- and slow-growing broiler body weight, immune response, gut morphology and microbial communities, and behavior when challenged with Salmonella typhimurium. Delineating the differences in basal and Salmonella-challenged phenotypes of broilers with divergent growth rates provides useful information for genetic, nutritional and management decisions.

Overall findings showed that breed had a much stronger effect than Salmonella challenge, indicating that meaningful genotypic and phenotypic differences exist between fast- and slow-growing broiler body weight, immune response, gut morphology and microbial communities, and behavior when challenged with Salmonella typhimurium.

The research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website.

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Collective Efforts to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Genetics Department Make Steady Progress – Yale School of Medicine

Posted: at 1:58 am

Every two weeks, members of the Yale Genetics Diversity Advisory Committee (DAC) come together to discuss ways to address equity and inclusion across all underrepresented memberships within the department. These discussions are centered around four major areas: i) understanding the challenges that members of our community from underrepresented backgrounds face, ii) scrutinizing and formalizing a more equitable approach to hiring, iii) educating members of the community at all career stages and job functions in how to eliminate current exclusionary practices, and iv) investing in the support and retention of underrepresented minorities within the department. The committee operates within a network of Yale-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts led by Deputy Dean and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Darin Latimore together with Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion & Associate Chief Diversity Officer Rochelle Smith, both from the Yale School of Medicines Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

DAC was formed in October 2020 and is led by the Vice Chair of Diversity in the department, Dr. Valentina Greco. The overarching goal of DAC is to provide a lens through which to scrutinize and improve all departmental practices to embrace, enrich, and support a greater diversity within the departmental membership. The committee members partner closely with departmental members and leadership to achieve this. DAC members also act as representatives for other community members at their professional level undergraduate, post-graduate, graduate students, post-doc, administrative staff and lab professionals, clinical staff, and junior and senior faculty updating their peers on DAC efforts and bringing forth the concerns of their circles to the committee. Committee members communicate regularly with each other through a Slack platform, educating themselves and supporting each other in this critical work. The committee members are individuals with diverse backgrounds and different lived experiences who must be brave, vulnerable, and open with each other as they discuss the resistance within and outside the community to implement cultural change.

One of the areas where DAC is currently focusing its efforts on is the departments hiring practices, closely collaborating with faculty members and departmental leadership to develop an approach that both attracts and enriches for diverse memberships. To this end, DAC has recently provided extensive review and feedback of departmental guidelines for the recruitment of new junior faculty. These guidelines span from the initial wording of the advertisement to procedures detailing best practices for scoring applications, conducting interviews, and advancing candidates at each stage of review. Once approved, the guidelines will help to ensure that diversity is embedded in every faculty search going forward as a core value of the department, and that proactive steps to promote diversity in faculty hiring are consistently taken, regardless of who is directing the search.

Just as important as diversifying the candidate pool is ensuring that the department can support and retain its diverse faculty members. On its own, recruiting diverse candidates will not fix problems of equity and inclusion in the department this would only perpetuate such problems by creating a false sense that the culture has become more inclusive and supportive simply through diverse recruitment efforts, instead of addressing the underlying barriers that have traditionally excluded diverse members in the first place. To provide an authentically supportive environment for vulnerable memberships within the department, DAC is helping to implement an infrastructure for everyday processes, ranging from mentoring to promotion criteria, that continually scrutinizes and improves itself to be equitable for everyone.

DAC meetings create intentional spaces for scrutiny and to brainstorm solutions. However, it is also important to note that efforts to address inequity have been underway in the department even before the formation of DAC. In 2019, Dr. Caroline Hendry, Scientific Director and Advisor to the Chair of Genetics, spearheaded the Program to Support and Retain Women Faculty in Genetics, partnering with long-time advocate of gender equity Dr. Valentina Greco, as well as senior women faculty in the department Dr. Lynn Cooley, Dr. Valerie Reinke, and Dr. Hui Zhang. The program was designed in consultation with Dr. David Berg, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and an expert in organizational behavior and group and intergroup relations. The program takes a holistic approach to both support the professional advancement of women faculty in Genetics and to begin to break down the socio-cultural barriers that have impeded their advancement thus far. The Program to Support and Retain Women Faculty in Genetics has equipped me with tools to develop my managerial skills on a more personalized basis, says Dr. Kaelyn Sumigray, Assistant Professor of Genetics. She shares that the program provided a much-needed support system for developing my research program at a critical time in my career. The program spans four key areas: i) creating opportunities for women to become leaders, ii) scrutinizing and reassigning the distribution of burden and invisible labor in the department, iii) deconstructing gender stereotypes that limit career progression, and iv) establishing best practices for life-work integration. Importantly, the program includes men in the department insofar as they must be willing to take an active role in recognizing and addressing their privilege and role in perpetuating the structural, cultural and organizational barriers that have so far restricted womens careers in science from advancing on par with their male colleagues. Many aspects of the program can and are applied to other groups that are currently underrepresented in the department not just women in order to support and retain all vulnerable memberships.

More recently, the committee has expanded its efforts in training and educating the department on topics primarily at the intersection of race and genetics and issues of discrimination. The Equity Journal Club (EJC) was established by the departments trainees and staff in response to the social movement that came from the murder of George Floyd. It is another example of a diversity initiative that existed prior to DAC, and DAC is now working to expand the initiative and incorporate it into the more routine Research in Progress forum in the department as part of the departments ongoing educational mission. It is a sign of our commitment to learn and improve as a collective group," says Maria Benitez, a Genetics student and DAC representative. The DAC and EJC are in the midst of planning speaker events open to the Yale community to expand the conversation around the intersection of racism, genetic research, and health equity. DAC members also have a vision of putting together a library, compiling literature on anti-racism and systemic discrimination that anyone can access to educate themselves.

Dismantling structural bias and discrimination against people of diverse racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, people from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and other vulnerable memberships is a long-term project. It cannot be solved by one individual leader, but requires peers to unite as followers of a movement that collectively desires and is willing to make the effort for change. Dr. Greco emphasizes the need for each member in the Yale Genetics community to bring a dedicated and serious commitment to change ourselves in order to make space for others. The exceptionalism and individualism that academia is built on is antithetic to the notion that talent is widespread. Furthermore, consciously or unconsciously, we perpetuate with our actions the false belief that talent can only be found in the few memberships consistent with the appearances of those who currently hold the most power and privilege, Greco continues. DAC believes that this ideological disconnect is the biggest resistance that the department faces in moving forward with DEI initiatives. Members of the department must realize that talent is present in groups that have historically and continue to be only tolerated, suppressed, or entirely excluded at various levels on the academic ladder.

Yale Genetics DAC and members of DEI committees across Yale continue to reflect on privilege and take action to make the department and the institution a more equitable place. Though there is still so much to be done, with the ongoing activism of DAC members and the collaboration of the entire department, Yale Genetics is determined to build a more inclusive environment for all.

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Genetic Analyses Trace How Mutations Accumulate in Cells of the Human Body Over Time – GenomeWeb

Posted: at 1:58 am

NEW YORK A suite of new studies has examined how one cell develops into all the tissues of the human body by tracing and investigating the mutations they acquire over time.

As cells divide, they acquire mutations that are then passed on to their daughter cells. The resulting patterns of mutations can be used to trace back a cell's family tree, possibly all the way to the first cell. In four new studies appearing Wednesday in Nature, teams of researchers from across the world used this approach to study the earliest stages of human development as well as the later accumulation of somatic mutations, including ones linked to cancer.

"Exploring the human body via the mutations cells acquire as we age is as close as we can get to studying human biology in vivo," Luiza Moore, a researcher at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and first author of one of the studies, said in a statement. "Our life history can be found in the history of our cells, but these studies show that this history is more complex than we might have assumed."

Tracing these mutations back in time revealed differences in mutation rates very early in embryonic development. Researchers led by the Sanger Institute's Michael Stratton uncovered a pattern of mutations that indicated a high initial mutation rate that then fell in a study that combined laser capture microdissections with whole-genome sequencing of samples from three individuals. A team led by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology's Young Seok Ju similarly found a high mutational rate during the early stages of development that then declined, using a capture-recapture approach.

The Stratton-led team estimated that the first two cell divisions had mutation rates of 2.4 per cell per generation, which then fell to 0.7 per cell per generation. This dip, they said, is likely due to the activation of the zygotic genome that increases the ability to repair DNA.

These early cells also contributed unequally to the development of subsequent lineages, though the degree of asymmetry varied from person to person. Ju and his colleagues reported, for instance, that for one individual in their analysis, 112 early lineages split at a ratio of 6.5:1, rather than the expected 1:1.

Stratton and his colleagues, meanwhile, reported that one individual in their study had a 69:31 contribution of the initial daughter cells to subsequent lineages, while another had a 93:7 ratio based on bulk brain samples, but an 81:19 ratio based on colon samples.

This, they said, indicates that the lineage commitment of cells is not fixed. Ju and his colleagues likewise said their finding suggested a stochasticity of clonal segregation in humans, unlike the deterministic embryogenesis observed in C. elegans.

These analyses also shed light on the development of somatic mutations later in life. KAIST's Ju and his colleagues, for instance, found most mutations are specific to certain clones, while in a separate study, the Sanger's Moore and her colleagues, who examined the mutational landscape of 29 cell types from three individuals through sequencing, found mutationrates varied by cell type and were very low in spermatogonia.

Ju and his colleagues also reported that normal tissues harbored known mutational signatures, including UV-mediated DNA damage and endogenous clock-like mutagenesis. Similarly, Moore and her colleagues noted known mutational signatures within normal tissues. They found, for instance, the aging-related SBS1 and SBS5 mutational signatures to be the most common signatures across all cell types, while other signatures were more prominent in certain cell types but not others. The SBS88 signature, which is due to a strain of E. coli, for example, was present among colorectal and appendiceal crypts.

Chen Wu, an investigator at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and her colleagues also found the aging-related SBS1 and SBS5 mutational signatures to be common among normal tissues, based on their sequencing analysis of microbiopsies from five individuals. Other tissues, like the liver and lung, also harbored other mutational signature like SBS4, which is associated with tobacco smoking.

Some of the mutations present in normal somatic tissues are typically associated with cancer, Wu and her colleagues added. They found mutations in 32 cancer driver genes were widespread among their normal tissue samples, though varied by organ. For instance, driver mutations were present in 6.5 percent of pancreas parenchyma samples and in 73.8 percent of esophageal samples.

Additionally, many normal tissue samples harbored as many as three cancer driver mutations. This, Harvard Medical School's Kamila Naxerova noted in a related commentary in Nature, begins to blur the line between what is normal and what is cancer. "Indeed, if cells with three driver mutations can easily be found in a small tissue sample, cells with four or five drivers probably exist in that tissue as well without necessarily giving rise to cancer," she wrote. "These new insights invite us to reconsider how we genetically define cancer."

Overall, she added that "the four studies provide an impressive demonstration of the power of modern genetics to decode the cellular dynamics that unfold in our bodies over time."

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The Bat Elixir: Geneticists Suspect that the Flying Mammal Holds the Key to Extended Healthy Life | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather…

Posted: at 1:58 am

A bat in flight.

Bats have developed a pretty bad rap sheet in the last few years. First, pop culture painted these mammals as a form of the blood-sucking Dracula, and then they were villainised for allegedly triggering a pandemic. Indeed, these poor creatures can't seem to catch a break! Aside from being adorable, bats have several other redeeming qualities like being the only mammals capable of flying and finding food even in complete darkness.

Of late, experts in genetics have uncovered a few startling facts about these Chiropterans, which could imply that they may hold the secret to healthy ageing. With the COVID-19 pandemic turning the spotlight on bats, their unique ability to stay alive against unmatched odds has also come under scrutiny.

The relationship between the size of a mammal, its metabolism, and lifespan is relatively straightforward. The larger the mammal, the slower its metabolism is, and this means a longer lifespan. While we humans ourselves are an exception to this rule, these flying mammals also deviate from this trend.

Some bats are known to live for 40 yearsthat's eight times longer than the lifespan of other animals their size! This unusually long lifespan of bats has always aroused the curiosity of scientistsit prompted them to ask the question, what was it that made these bats live longer?

The gene expression pattern in bats is very unique and has been associated with DNA repair, autophagy, immunity and tumour suppression, ensuring an extended health span for bats. Now, scientists are wondering if we could replicate a few such attributes on humans as well!

There's a cap-like structure called the telomere present at the end of each chromosomea microscopic threadlike part of the cell that carries part or all of the genetic material. This unique structure protects your chromosomes from damage. Every time your cells replicate, the chromosome loses just a little bit of the telomere. As time passes, this telomere gets very short, and either rides the wave of ageing or causes the cell to self-destruct. To put it succinctly, the shortening of your telomeres is why you age.

While this seems inevitable, studies conducted in the last few years revealed that the telomeres do not shorten in long-lived species of batslike the Myotis genus. This means that these species can protect their DNA for an unusually long-time in their lifespan.

A bat pup.

It's common knowledge that in humans, the body's ability to heal and repair any damage decreases considerably as we age. But researchers studied the genome of young, middle-aged, and old bats and found that their ability to repair DNA and damage caused by age increased as they grew older.

Another quality that contributes to their longevity is their ability to control their immune responses. With an over-excited immune response, humans tend to succumb to infections like COVID-19 quicker. In COVID-19 patients with regulated immune responses, the risk of ending up on the ventilator is much lower, reveals research.

Similarly, a controlled immune response could be why bats are able to carry numerous deadly pathogens like the coronavirus without succumbing to them easily.

Humans and bats have many similar genes but with a tweak here and a nip there. So, if we could someday discover what factors elicit these controlled immune responses and telomere shortening avoidance in bats and replicate it in humans, it would be a massive leap towards the utopian dream of a healthy, long life!

**

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Welwitschia: genetics unveil the secrets of the immortal plant – EL PAS in English

Posted: August 18, 2021 at 2:10 am

When Joseph Dalton Hooker, director of the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London between 1865 and 1885, first cast his gaze on an example of Welwitschia he could not contain himself: It is without question the most wonderful plant ever brought to this country, and one of the ugliest. This species, Welwitschia mirabilis, was first formally described in 1863 and has been the subject of debate ever since it was first discovered. It has been established that it can survive for thousands of years in the harshest environments, making it the longest-living plant on the planet. But a recent genetic analysis published in Nature Communications has revealed new data about this curious plant species. Welwitschias duplicated genome means that some of its genes can dedicate themselves to tasks that are not part of their original functions. Furthermore, this species can activate certain proteins to protect itself from the extreme conditions in which it lives and it grows slowly but continuously throughout its entire life.

Welwitschia is found in Namibias northwest and southeastern Angola, an area dominated by the Kaokoveld Desert. Despite being geographically near to the coast, this region is arid and annual rainfall is less than five cubic centimeters. The plants appearance is also distinctive, consisting of two foliage leaves that can grow by 10 to 13 centimeters each year. As they grow, the tips of the leaves dry out and curl together, which sometimes lends the plant an appearance similar to an octopus.

Genome analysis of Welwitschia has shown that all of its genes are duplicated, what experts describe as genetic redundancy. Andrew Leitch, a researcher at the Queen Mary University of London and one of the authors of the study, explains how this duplicity, over the course of millions of years, has altered the functioning of these genes: The duplicated copies can take on new functions and do new things that would be impossible if there was only one version of the gene. These adaptations have driven the evolution of the plants. For example, the researchers believe that the leaves are capable of absorbing some of the humidity from clouds of mist that form in the plants natural habitat when dawn breaks.

Welwitschias genetic duplication began around 86 million years ago and was prompted by the stress placed on the plants by being constantly exposed to some of the harshest environmental conditions on the planet (high temperatures, ultraviolet radiation, salinity and so forth). In the face of this constant assault, Welwitschia always maintains a variety of proteins overactivated that allow the plant to keep these environmental stress factors at bay. Leitch explains it with a culinary example: When you put an egg in boiling water, the proteins in the egg are denatured and the white of the egg hardens. This denaturalization is a problem for the plants and animals that live in conditions of extreme heat and Welwitschia activates certain genes to prevent this from happening.

Identifying genes that allow for survival in hostile conditions will be useful when we are looking to grow crops in ever more marginal areas of the planet

Furthermore, unlike other plants, Welwitschias growth does not occur at the tips of the leaves but at the base. This area of the plant is heavily protected by two lips consisting of a woody fiber that cover the basal meristem, the part of the plant that supplies new cells. This type of bulb is formed of a practically embryonic tissue, still poorly defined, that gradually transforms into leaf tissue at a very slow pace. While this bulb lives, the plant will never stop growing. As such, the name given to it in Afrikaans is tweeblaarkanniedood, which literally translates astwo leaves that cannot die. The plants can live to such an age that the researchers had to use carbon-dating technology usually reserved for fossils to determine how old their subjects were. The results confirmed that some individuals were more than 1,500 years old.

Leitch believes that this discovery could prove to be key in the medium- to long-term for the survival of the human race. Identifying genes that allow for survival in hostile conditions will be useful when we are looking to grow crops in ever more marginal areas of the planet, something that we will have to do to be able to feed the nine billion people that we will be within the next 50 years with a high-level diet, as well as finding space for bio-combustibles. And all of that has to be achieved in a context of climate change and alterations in rainfall and temperature.

Alfonso Blzquez, a professor and researcher at the Autonomous University of Madrid who did not take part in the study, harbors doubt over the viability of this potential application. Overexpressing one or two genes in commercial crops is unlikely to achieve the same effect, because this plant has a battery of protective genes activated at the same time, but they may obtain some kind of greater resistance to heat or a lack of humidity. This could be an intermediate application that should be investigated.

English version by Rob Train.

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Join us today for Extra Crunch Live, as we speak with 1910 Genetics Jen Nwankwo and Playground Globals Jory Bell – TechCrunch

Posted: at 2:10 am

Our Extra Crunch Live series continues with some heavy hitters in August, including Jen Nwankwo, founder and CEO at 1910 Genetics, and Playground Global general partner Jory Bell. Theyll be with us live on August 11 at 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET) to tell us all about how Nwankwo and her startup won over Bell and Playground as an investor, and as we do every week on Extra Crunch Live, well conduct a live pitch feedback session featuring you, the members of our audience.

Extra Crunch Live gives you the chance to hear live from entrepreneurs who have successfully raised significant rounds of venture capital and from the investors who believed in them. We go into detail about how the deal got done, and youll hear from both about what it takes to pitch VCs and what industry-leading VCs look for in prospective portfolio companies.

Were thrilled to have Nwankwo and Bell joining us for this episode. Nwankwo founded and leads 1910 Genetics, which takes advantage of AI to accelerate the discovery and development of new drug therapies across a wide range of disease and condition categories. She has a Ph.D. in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics from Tufts University School of Medicine and participated in drug discovery development that led to the creation of Type 2 diabetes drug Trulicity prior to her graduate school work.

Bells career includes designing and building autonomous robots for deep-sea exploration, as well as a six-year stint at Apple designing notebooks for the consumer technology leader. Bells venture investment work began at Playground Global in 2015; he focuses on deep tech investments, including in aerospace, genomics, synthetic biology, and AI-assisted drug discovery, as in the case of 1910 Genetics.

Extra Crunch Live also features the ECL Pitch-off, where startups in the audience can virtually raise their hand to pitch their startup live on our stream. Our expert guests will give their feedback on each pitch. If you want to throw your hat in the ring, you have to show up.

Extra Crunch Live is accessible to everyone, but only Extra Crunch members can access the content on demand. We do these every week, so there are scores of episodes across a wide variety of startup sectors in the ECL Library. Its but one of many reasons to become an Extra Crunch member. Join here.

Interested in hanging with us for this upcoming episode? Register here for free!

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Lifeline Hospital offers solution for genetic diseases with advanced tech – The New Indian Express

Posted: at 2:10 am

By Express News Service

KOCHI:Rare genetic diseases can shatter families, as demonstrated recently by the crowdfunding appeals to meet the exorbitant cost of medicine for the treatment of children affected by spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). According to doctors, with improved medical technology, genetic disorders can be treated. Lifeline Hospital, Adoor, offers In Vitro Fertilisation with Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).

The birth of an affected child can be prevented by prenatal diagnosis and PGD. Prenatal diagnosis is possible by Chorionic Villus Sampling/Amniocentesis followed by continuation/termination of pregnancy. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is a clinically feasible technology to prevent the transmission of monogenic inherited disorders in families afflicted by the diseases to the future offspring, said Dr Mathews John, medical director and general and laparoscopic surgeon at the hospital.

Individuals who are blood relatives are more likely to be silent carriers for the same recessive conditions, hence the risk of autosomal recessive genetic disorders is higher in children born from consanguineous parents, Dr Sreelatha Nair, consultant Geneticist and Head, Department of Genetics at the hospital.

The genetic department of the Lifeline Hospital, Advance Fertility and Gynaecology Centre, is one of the very few centres in India to provide Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening to needed couples. PGD would provide new reproductive options for families at risk for SMA and other similarly inherited autosomal recessive disorders, Dr Cyriac Pappachan, director and infertility specialist and laparoscopic surgeon, Lifeline Hospital.

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Lifeline Hospital offers solution for genetic diseases with advanced tech - The New Indian Express

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SMD – Genetics study in Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities will take action on health inequality – QMUL

Posted: July 21, 2021 at 2:34 am

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People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin have some of the highest rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and poor health in the UK.Social Action for Health (SAfH), a health inequality and community development charity, wants people to act to change this.

SAfH are working with Queen Mary University of London to promote the biggest study in the world researching genetics in people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage. With the tagline #OurGenesOurHealth, they hope that British Bangladeshi and Pakistani people can be part of the movement making medical studies representative of those that will benefit most.

The research study, Genes & Health, aims to help fight against major diseases and SAfH are raising awareness of the study and encouraging people to take part. Genes & Health are hoping to get the attention of British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis by sharing a video they have produced with the help of members of the local Pakistani, Bangladeshi communities and Centre of the Cell Youth Membership Forum.

The video features children filmed in their own homes highlighting the diseases they are more at risk of developing and making a plea to their community to give five minutes of their time to provide a once in a lifetime saliva sample and fill in a short form to help change their future. This will contribute to breaking the cycle of health inequality, improving medications and treatment and increasing representation of these groups in medical research improving health and life chances for future generations.

Resarch made possible by Genes & Health volunteers is already making a difference. For example, data from Genes & Health hashelped show that one of the reasons some British Bangladeshi and British Pakistani people have very severe covid-19 is because an inherited genetic risk factor is 4 times more common in the South Asian community.

By volunteering this Eid and beyond, British Pakistani and Bangladeshi can join almost 50,000 people already signed up to give the gift (#GiveAGiftForEid) of a saliva sample to improve their communitys representation in a health research.

A further 50,000 people are needed, so the team is asking people 16 and over, who are of Bangladeshi, British-Bangladeshi, Pakistani or British-Pakistani heritage, to donate a saliva sample. For more information, or to take part, click here.

Dr Sarah Finer at Queen Mary University of London, said: As a doctor and researcher working in east London, I see the huge impact of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression have on British Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. There is an urgent need to better understand the causes and consequences of ill health in these communities who are disproportionately affected by health conditions and under-represented in many research studies.

Genes & Health is a unique programme of research, focusing on health and disease in British Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. It brings together a network of world-class researchers who are making important new discoveries, including on COVID-19, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and the development of new medicines. Genes & Health research will have a big impact on health and disease in the long-term, and will help redress inequalities that exist currently. Genes & Health thanks the almost 50,000 volunteers who have helped make it a success so far and looks forward to many new volunteers joining us this Eid.

CeriDurham, CEO at SAFH, said: Social Action for Healths mission is to work alongside diverse communities in East London and inspire them to take action to live healthier lives. We believe that by people engaging with this research, not only will health inequalities be addressed, but it will inspire more medical studies to engage with a more diverse and representative group of beneficiaries.

The parents of these children wanted to be involved in making this video because they want a better, healthier future for themselves and their communities. They have something important to say and we should all be listening. We've had very positive feedback from parents, who are committed to tackling health inequalities as much as we are.

Farah, a parent of two children who took part in the video, said: Its heart-breaking to see that from one generation to the next we are carrying conditions like diabetes with us. This needs to stop. This impactful video shows how our innocent children may in the future suffer from these medical conditions when they can be prevented.

We hope that the shock tactic our video has will wake up the South Asian community into taking positive action and this is why my children agreed to take part and why I wanted them to be in this campaign. This isnt all about us, its about the future of our children and grandchildren."

The study is funded by the Wellcome Trust and Barts Charity, sponsored by Queen Mary University of London, and reviewed and approved by London South East National Research Ethics Service Committee.

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Why Shares of Fulgent Genetics Rose 77% in the First Half of 2021 – Motley Fool

Posted: at 2:34 am

What happened

Shares of Fulgent Genetics (NASDAQ:FLGT) climbed 77% through the first half of 2021, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The rise was due to the incredible numbers of COVID tests the company was able to run and the customers it was able to line up.

FLGT data by YCharts.

Prior to a broad market sell-off in February, shares of Fulgent had been up more than 250% for the year. As vaccination rates climbed and the need for testing seemed to be waning, the stock collapsed almost 65%. Now that the delta variant of the coronavirus is taking hold, it appears investors are once again jumping on the bandwagon.

Image source: Getty Images.

The volatility obscures a business that has been consistently growing its revenue while demonstrating amazing operating leverage since early in the pandemic. Its core business -- genetic testing -- suffered when doctors' offices and clinics were closing last year, but it has more than fully recovered. Management expects that segment to grow 174% in 2021. Some of the recovery is thanks to being awarded a contract from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track COVID through genome sequencing. Still, COVID testing volume is likely to drive the stock price for the remainder of this year.

That's good news for shareholders as cases of the virus have more than doubled in the past two weeks and are up close to 300% over the last month. The company has plenty of capacity. In 2020, Fulgent did 230 times more tests than in the prior year. It managed that increase while still delivering rapid turnaround times to several large counties including Los Angeles and Miami-Dade, as well as the New York City public school system. To top it off, the company's profit margins expanded much faster than revenue, and it has guided for $12 in earnings per share this year on the back of 97% sales growth.

If its partnerships with corporations, large school districts, counties, and the CDC can keep testing volume high, shareholders could get a second half of the year that mirrors the first. Add in potential deals with insurance companies to cover testing and growth for the $2.5 billion company could just be getting started.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the official recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. Were motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Why Shares of Fulgent Genetics Rose 77% in the First Half of 2021 - Motley Fool

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deCODE genetics – New study on inheritance and fetal growth USA – PRNewswire

Posted: at 2:34 am

A total of 243 fetal growth variants are reported and 141 of them were grouped into four main clusters based on separating the effect of the variant on birth weight though the maternal versus fetal genome. The majority of variants show an effect only in the fetus and a quarter of those show evidence of a parent-of-origin specific effect on birth weight i.e. the effect on the fetus differs depending on whether the child inherited the variant from the mother or the father. Some variants have an effect only in the mother but around 30% affect birth weight both through the maternal and fetal genomes, where for some the effect is in the same direction, no matter whether from mother or father, while for others the effect is in opposite directions.

Polygenic risk score analysis of disease-associated variants revealed that variants associating with blood pressure do not associate with birth weight when in the maternal genome but in the fetal genome the blood pressure raising allele correlates with lower birth weight. Variants that associate with risk of type 2 diabetes associate with birth weight through both the maternal and fetal genomes but in opposite directions. In the mother, the risk alleles correlate with higher birth weight but when in the fetus they correlate with lower birth weight.

"The ability to analyse directly the effect of each of the transmitted alleles and the maternal non-transmitted allele allows us to separate what happens through the mother from a direct effect on birth weight through the fetal genome," says Valgerdur Steinthorsdottir scientist atdeCODE Geneticsandauthor on the paper.

The study reports an expanded GWAS meta-analysis of 400,000 children, 270,000 mothers and 60,000 fathers, combining data from the Icelandic Birth Register for 125,000 newborns and their parents with public summary level fetal growth data on children and mothers from the Early Growth Genetics Consortium and UK Biobank. The effects of the fetal, maternal and paternal genomes on birth weight were analysed and the study further includes analysis of birth length and ponderal index.

"It is clear from these results that in our beginnings we are not only shaped by the half of our maternal genome that is transmitted to us but also the untransmitted half," says Kari Stefansson CEO of deCODE genetics. "Here we show how the influence of the two halves can be separated."

Based inReykjavik, Iceland, deCODE is a global leader in analyzing and understanding the human genome. Using its unique expertise in human genetics combined with growing expertise in transcriptomics and population proteomics and vast amount of phenotypic data, deCODE has discovered risk factors for dozens of common diseases and provided key insights into their pathogenesis. The purpose of understanding the genetics of disease is to use that information to create new means of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. deCODE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN).

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deCODE genetics - New study on inheritance and fetal growth USA - PRNewswire

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