The Genome Project Write: A Global Synthetic Biology Initiative

March 23, 2017

What is the Genome Project-Write? Thirty-two years ago, the largest life science project ever conducted, the Human Genome Project (HGP), was proposed to “read” or sequence a human genome. Successfully completed in 2003, this project sparked a revolution in science that has changed the way we understand the human body and the world, and incited…

Read More

Teenager’s sickle cell reversed with world-first therapy

March 23, 2017

A French teenager’s sickle cell disease has been reversed using a pioneering treatment to change his DNA. Doctors removed his bone marrow, and using gene therapy, re-engineered its DNA to create the right type of red blood cells. The corrected bone marrow was then put back into the patient. The teenager has been making normal blood since the procedure 15 months ago, with “no sign of the disease, no pain, no hospitalisation.”

Read More

The future of food production: Fermantation?

March 23, 2017

“Companies want to go more natural, but they’re running into constraints … Fermentation offers a way to make ingredients without being reliant on a challenged supply chain.” To produce these ingredients, scientists identify and isolate the genes for the desired product and insert them into a host, such as yeast, which is fed sugars and nutrients to stimulate fermentation. The yeast and its genes are then filtered off, and the desired ingredient is purified out of the remaining broth. This economically feasible and environmentally friendly method is being used by companies such as Perfect Day, which is making cow’s milk without cows, and Impossible Foods, which is fermenting heme for its meaty-tasting yet plant-based products.

Read More

Precision medicine and population health share strategies, goals

March 23, 2017

Population health management and precision medicine are more alike than different, and closer collaboration could produce impactful results. According to Jonathan Sheldon, Global VP of Healthcare at Oracle Health Sciences, “Precision medicine gives us the molecular tools to phenotype diseases, which you can then predict and manage at the population level. Genomics gives you that level of precision that is often lacking in risk stratification algorithms. They really enhance one another.”

Read More

Making science work for health

March 23, 2017

A suite of introductory resources has been produced by the Genomics in Mainstream Medicine Working Group of the UK-based PHG Foundation. Each ‘factsheet’ is tailored to a specific medical specialty and seeks to raise awareness of genomic medicine and its impact on clinical care.

Read More

Advancing Microbiome Research in Ontario

March 10, 2017

Scientific teams across Ontario are working to advance microbiome research in Canada’s health, agriculture, bioproducts and water sectors. Ontario Genomics is proud to provide support to the following cutting edge projects.

Read More

Bill banning genetic discrimination passes

March 10, 2017

A bill that protects Canadians from discrimination based on genetic information was passed in parliament yesterday by a vote of 222-60. Bill S-201, which was already passed in the Senate, bars health and life insurance companies from requiring a person to undergo genetic testing or to disclose the results of previous tests. The legislation also prohibits anyone from sharing genetic testing results without written consent, with exceptions for physicians and researchers. Prior to Bill S-201, Canada was the only G7 country without specific protections against genetic discrimination.

Read More

“Cracking Cancer”: Personalized oncogenomics on The Nature of Things

March 10, 2017

CBC documentary series “The Nature of Things” featured an in-depth look at the BC Cancer Agency’s Personalized Onco-Genomics (POG) program in the documentary “Cracking Cancer.” With the aim of identifying and treating cancer-causing mutations specific to each patient, these cutting-edge clinical trials hold the promise of personalized cancer care.

Read More

The invisible clean-up crew: Engineering microbial cultures to destroy pollutants

February 24, 2017

These are exciting times in fundamental and applied environmental microbiology for Elizabeth Edwards. Leveraging genomics, microbiology and engineering, the University of Toronto professor has developed a highly successful biotechnology approach to inexpensively, effectively and safely clean up industrial solvents in soil and groundwater. According to Edwards, whose technique has already been used to restore more than 500 sites around the world, we’ve only just begun exploring “the enormous, untapped potential of anaerobic microbes.”

Read More

The apple that never browns: The introduction of convenience into genetically modified foods

February 24, 2017

The first genetically modified, non-browning apples will soon go on sale in the United States.
While genetic modifications in the past have been mainly defended as a way to protect crops, the Arctic Apple is one of the first GMOs marketed directly to consumers as more convenient. The controversial fruit could be a turning point in the nation’s highly polarizing debate over genetically modified organisms.

Read More