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Genetic Linkage

Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genome 3.0 Evokes Classic Experiments

Is a synthetic genome new life?
J. Craig Venter and his colleagues at Synthetic Genomics Inc update their efforts to create a “hypothetical minimal genome" in Science.

“JCVI-syn3.0,” or syn3.0 for short, is about 531,000 DNA base pairs organized into 473 genes, serially transplanted into cells of the tiny and fast-replicating Mycoplasma mycoides and M. capricolum. The first iteration of the smallest synthetic genome, JVCI-syn1.0, has just over a million base pairs, and the intermediate JCVI-syn2.0 has 576,000.

While syn3.0 will serve as a foundation for future synthetic biology, it reminds me of two favorite experiments from more than half a century ago. Read More 
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From Denisovan DNA to Future Humanity

Svante Pääbo and an old friend
The idea that the genomes of those of us without African ancestry harbor some DNA from Neanderthals has inspired cartoons and jokes, and I got a lot of flak when I wrote about the discovery of diabetes risk genes from Neanderthals in Mexicans. Apparently Neanderthals admixed themselves into European and East Asian populations at least three times.

A new paper in Science from Svante Pääbo, director of the Department of Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, and his colleagues, indicates that we have more to learn from the parts of our genomes that don’t have remnants from the Neanderthals and the less familiar Denisovans. We share a common ancestor with them from about a million years ago. Read More 
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Genetic Counselors Best to Interpret DTC Genetic Tests

Genetic counselors know more about genetic testing than other health care professionals.
Can health care providers adequately explain results from direct-to-consumer (DTC) DNA tests to patients? “Consumer Perceptions of Interactions With Primary Care Providers After Direct-to-Consumer Personal Genomic Testing,” a study published March 1, suggests a disconnect between what consumers expect and what their doctors can deliver.

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