Ontario Genomics appoints new President and CEO

May 24, 2017

PRESS RELEASE – TORONTO, May 24, 2017 – Bettina Hamelin has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ontario Genomics (OG), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to catalyzing and advancing genomics innovation within Ontario. Dr. Hamelin will join OG’s board and will assume the CEO role effective August 01, 2017. With over 25 years…

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Synthego first to offer over 100,000 genomes in powerful new CRISPR software

May 19, 2017

Synthego has announced a ready-made toolkit to make CRISPR more accessible to all researchers. Touting a selection of 100,000 genomes belonging to 9,000 species, the platform addresses gaps in the current CRISPR design process, and enables new and experienced researchers to create fast and easy guide designs for gene knockout. The company hopes that this vastly simplified interface, and the ability to easily share your design and compare it with existing work, will increase the number of experiments and work being performed in the synthetic biology space.

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Genetically engineered algae successfully tested outdoors

May 19, 2017

Scientists at UC San Diego and Sapphire Energy have reported that genetically engineered algae can be successfully cultivated outdoors while maintaining new traits — all without adversely affecting native algae populations. This study is the first outdoor field trial for genetically engineered algae, a potential future source of fuel and increased food supplies. “If we are going to maintain our standard of living in the future we are going to need sustainable food and energy, and ways of making those that do not disrupt the environment,” said study co-author Jonathan Shurin. “Molecular biology and biotechnology are powerful tools to help us achieve that. Our experiment was a first-step towards an evidence-based evaluation of genetically engineered algae and their benefits and environmental risks”

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Tea is under threat, but scientists may have found hope

May 19, 2017

Research has indicated that tea grown in parts of Asia could see yields decline by up to 55% due to climate change-associated drought and excessive heat. However, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have sequenced the entire tea genome, enabling the extraction of genetic information to help breed new tea plant varieties. The genome reveals the genetic basis for tolerance to environmental stresses, pest and disease resistance, flavor, productivity and quality, and could enable production of better tea varieties with higher yields and more efficient water and nutrient use, while widening the genetic diversity of tea plants, thereby improving the overall health of the population.

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Canadian genetic nondiscrimination law to face constitutional review

May 19, 2017

The Canadian government intends to challenge the constitutionality of Bill S-201, The Act to Prohibit and Prevent Genetic Discrimination. The law, which was recently passed by Parliament and took effect May 4, adds genetic information to the list of protected data under the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. It also amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add genetic characteristics as a prohibited basis for employment, housing and provision of goods or services discrimination.

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Ontario invests to improve the health of mothers and babies

May 19, 2017

Ontario is investing more than $12 million to support new and existing programs that will improve maternal and child health in Ontario. Announced May 12th, the investment includes enhanced screening of all newborns with the addition of a new screen for hearing loss, enabling families to receive treatment or language and early literacy support sooner. The province also recently added a new screen for critical congenital heart disease, to detect a range of heart defects in newborns that could cause life-threatening symptoms.

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Genetic Epidemiology Research Based in Electronic Health Records – Toronto, June 1 & 2

May 19, 2017

Please save the date and join us for the upcoming two-seminar event in the CIHR STAGE International Speaker Seminar Series (ISSS), partnered with the Genetics and Genome Biology Program, Sick Kids!
These two talks will focus primarily on the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health (RPGEH), and the Genetic Epidemiology Research on Adult Health and Aging (GERA) cohort derived therefrom.

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CRISPR eliminates HIV in live animals

May 4, 2017

Scientists have shown that HIV DNA from the genomes of living animals can be successfully excised using CRISPR. This is the first study to demonstrate that HIV-1 replication can be shut down and the virus eliminated from infected cells (while leaving the animals’ DNA intact) using the powerful gene-editing technology. The researchers are also the first to perform this feat in three different animal models, including a “humanized” model of mice transplanted with human immune cells infected with the virus. “The first step is to permanently inactivate those viruses incorporated in cells,” says principal investigator Kamel Khalili. “If we can do that, and reach that level, then we may be able to functionally cure individuals or have a sterilizing cure.”

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Call for research proposals to access CHMS Biobank

May 4, 2017

Attention Researchers! Statistics Canada is inviting individuals and labs to apply for access to blood, urine and DNA samples from the CHMS Biobank for use in health studies. Open for application until June 30, the biospecimens are available to Canadian researchers who complete the review process and would benefit from a national population survey of approximately 5,600 participants per collection cycle.

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Scientists struggle to get message across

May 4, 2017

As scientists struggle to get their messages across to a skeptical public at a major conference in Vienna this week, former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres explains, “We mortals do not understand you.” To stem the erosion of support for science and counter the growing public mistrust of scientific findings, industry experts have recommended that scientists use industry experts, have recommended that scientists use everyday language and avoid scientific jargon.

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