DNA deepens mystery of Newfoundland’s lost Beothuk people

October 19, 2017

Ontario Genomics funded a project to help understand the complex origins of Canada, and the relatedness (or lack thereof in this case) between Maritime Archaic people and the Beothuk. The technology being developed by Hendrik Poinar’s group at McMaster University has kept them at the forefront of paleo-DNA technology. Poinar has leveraged this funding to secure funding from other sources, including Illumina. The surprising results of this study were published in Current Biology (Duggan et al., 2017, Current Biology 27, 1–8) and appeared in a recent Globe and Mail article

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Ontario Genomics appoints three new board members

October 18, 2017

The Chair of the Ontario Genomics Board of Directors, Brian Underdown, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Deb Stark, Dr. Benjamin Rovinski and Dr. Alan Winter to its Board. Dr. Stark is the former Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and brings a wealth of experience…

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Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code makes its Canadian debut at Science North

October 12, 2017

The Smithsonian Institution’s first state-of-the-art exhibition about genomic science, Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code, opens October 7, for the first time in Canada at Science North in Sudbury, Ontario. The exhibition examines the complexities of the genome — the complete set of genetic or hereditary material of a living organism — and chronicles the remarkable breakthroughs that have taken place since the completion of the Human Genome Project more than a decade ago. It will be at Science North until January 7, 2018.

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Gene silencing drug opens new era for rare genetic disease treatments

October 11, 2017

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. unveiled positive results from a late-stage clinical trial of the drug patisiran for the treatment of familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy. Patisiran works by interrupting the production of a specific disease-causing protein through a process called RNA interference (RNAi), which eliminates unwanted proteins. Because RNAi can be easily tuned (in theory) to any disease, this may herald a new class of medicines.

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AI startup Deep Genomics raises US$13M

October 10, 2017

The founding principle of Toronto-based Deep Genomics is “that the future of medicine will rely on artificial intelligence (AI), because biology is too complex for humans to understand.” After success at the startup assistance program run by University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, Deep Genomics has now closed a Series A financing deal that will allow it apply AI to search across 69 billion molecules to identify 1000 potential drugs.

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The making of a genomics strategy for the Ontario agriculture and agri-food sector

October 5, 2017

On September 25th, 2017, Ontario Genomics, in partnership with the Synthesis Agri-Food Network and supported by Genome Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, held a workshop to discuss “The Genomics Strategy for the Ontario Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector”. Over 80 leaders from across Ontario’s diverse and strong agriculture and agri-food sector attended…

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Ontario Genomics welcomes Canadian innovation leaders

October 5, 2017

The past week saw the appointments of leaders in key positions across Canada’s and Ontario’s research and innovation ecosystem, including Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, and CEO of the newly created Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Bettina Hamelin, President and CEO of Ontario Genomics, would like to congratulate Dr. Mona…

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Does your genome predict your face? Maybe not quite yet

September 27, 2017

J. Craig Venter and Human Longevity published a paper making the bold claim that it can identify individuals using their genomes to predict what their faces looks like. But criticism over social media and BioRxiv has called this into question, or at least stated this technology needs more development before being robust enough to predict faces from genomes.

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Genetic tests to guide brain cancer treatment

September 22, 2017

Doctors at Sick Kids have developed tests to analyze the molecular makeup of individual brain tumours, leading to the possibility of personalized treatment. Hospitals from around the world are sending their patient’s tumour samples to Sick Kids for this molecular analysis.

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