5 Things to Read

It’s that time of the week again. The sun is shining (eventually) and we are all watching our clocks till it’s finally time for the weekend! Fret no further, we are here to help that time move a little bit faster. As you may have read, former Vice President Joe Biden has brought the medical record dispute back to the forefront, after hitting out at the CEO of one of the largest health companies in America. So, instead of asking yourself why you don’t have access to your medical record, here’s 5 things to read instead…

Can Gene Editing Actually Do That? 

CRISPR has revolutionised humans’ ability to edit DNA, fueling excitement, concern and confusion. See how much you know about what’s possible by choosing whether the advances in this quiz have already happened, are hypothetically possible, or remain in the realm of fiction. Are you a CRISPR expert? 

The 5 Smartest Companies Analyzing Your DNA 

As gene sequencing technology gets faster and cheaper, companies are finding more ways to commercialize DNA, from offering disease-specific genetic tests and whole-genome sequencing to portable sequencers that allow you to analyse genetic data anywhere. Five standouts made MIT Technology Review’s list of the 50 smartest companies, as leading the charge in consumer and medical genetics. 

Lab Rap Battle 

It’s 4 years old, but it’s a dilemma that any real-time PCR researcher faced in his or her career: Do I choose TaqMan® or SYBR®? Inspired by the sentiments of researchers all over the world, Life Technologies has produced the “Rap Battle in the Lab” pitting TaqMan® and SYBR® chemistries against one another. Gather your lab mates and watch this epic confrontation unfold.

Not So Safe After All? 

The world was amazed last week when it was revealed that an American team had used CRISPR to successfully alter the genetic code of human embryos, without observing significant off-target effects. Everyone started discussing the potential ramifications of the work, imagining a brave new world free of genetic disease – but were we right to do so? It turns out that imaginary future might be further away than we thought.

The English Village That’s Not Very English at all!

Residents of Bledington in the Cotswolds, UK have DNA from 18 different parts of the world despite 95% saying their heritage is white British. In fact the average villager’s DNA is just 42% British. One resident in particular learned that she is 7% Asian Indian, while others had genes from places as far away as the Pacific islands of Melanesia.