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Genetic Linkage

4 Suggestions for Halting the Lethality of Cancer

Brain tumors (photo from Glia, 2002, Ignatova, T. et al, courtesy D.A. Steindler.)

(Originally published at Scientific American, guest blog, June 26)

I had a very strange week. While in Washington, D.C., writing news releases for the Model Organisms to Human Biology: Cancer Genetics meeting sponsored by the Genetics Society of America, I had left, back home in upstate New York, my dear hospice patient. Ruth was nearing the end of her battle with liver cancer. It was jarring to go from holding her hand to listening to litanies of deranged signal transduction pathways and cascades of mutations that cause the damn diseases. Read More 
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The Bonobo Genome, Dave Matthews, and Rewinding the Tape of Life

Ulindi, a bonobo, has had her genome sequenced. Photo courtesy Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
When I wrote for The Scientist, I covered the debuts of several genome sequences – fruit fly, rat, pufferfish, and the plague bacterium, to name a few. An illustration in my human genetics textbook resembles the intro to The Brady Bunch, a checkerboard of nine new genomes with each edition, now with more than 1,000 to choose from. In just the past few weeks, several salad ingredients have had their genomes unveiled.

But the genome sequence to intrigue me the most, except for our own, is that of the bonobo, aka Pan paniscus.  Read More 
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Max Graduates!

14-year-old Max Randell, who has Canavan disease, is graduating middle school!
Max Graduates!

Tomorrow night, Max Randell will graduate from middle school. He even passed a test on the U.S. Constitution. I don’t think I could do that.

Max has Canavan disease. And thanks to gene therapy, he’s here to celebrate.

Canavan disease is an inherited disease that strips the insulation from nerve cells in the brain. It destroys neural function, beginning at birth and likely before, and the child loses the battle by age 8 -- unless she or he has gene therapy, still experimental (as are all gene therapies).  Read More 
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