Manual The Genetic Strand: Exploring a Family History Through DNA

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But when Watson was quoted last month, seeming to suggest that Africans may not possess the same aptitude or intelligence of other races he later apologized , he was forced to leave his prestigious job as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. The whole episode was a lesson in the many perils of wedding science to concerns that are, at heart, social. Ball won the National Book Award for nonfiction in for his book "Slaves in the Family," an exploration of his South Carolina ancestors, who owned thousands of slaves prior to the Civil War. The book centers around locks of hair from Ball's ancestors, mostly clipped, wrapped and labeled between the late s and mids and hidden away, like "a strange treasure," in a desk that had been passed down the family line for years.

Edward Ball (American author)

Ball decided to see what tales those strands of hair told by having them tested at DNA and forensics labs, and he schooled himself in the field's intricacies in the process. Not only do we get a good ol' fashioned family mystery full of bizarre twists and relatives with colorful names Polycarp Constant Lecorgne? Cases end in melodrama. The drama of Ball's DNA adventure, which includes having his own DNA and that of a couple of living relatives tested, involves the surprise finding that his family may not be as purely white as he'd been raised to believe.

Had his ancestors produced offspring with Native Americans and blacks and simply snapped those branches of kinfolk off the family tree to keep it racially pristine? As Ball is quick to point out, sex between the races wouldn't have been uncommon, despite the stifling social taboo against it. A small percentage of white Americans possesses genes from sub-Saharan Africa, while many blacks carry European ones.

Is ‘DNA tourism’ the next travel trend for millennials?

The races mixed plenty but privately, and at great risk to social standing and physical safety. Ball uses genetics to peek through the boudoir curtains. What he comes up with is more uncertainty. His family's biological past doesn't offer itself up so easily, even with precision tools like genetic testing.

Bristol Palin has book deal. Karanam, N. Tumor-treating fields elicit a conditional vulnerability to ionizing radiation via the downregulation of BRCA1 signaling and reduced DNA double-strand break repair capacity in non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Kumar, M.


  1. Exploring a Family History Through DNA.
  2. A Family with a Past;
  3. Coin Shooting: Finding Small Treasures with a Metal Detector.

Li, L. Science Signaling , 10 , p. Lips, E. Breast Cancer Research , 13 5 , p. Mirza, M. New England Journal of Medicine , 22 , pp. Navarro, A. Translational lung cancer research , 6 Suppl 1 , pp. Oza, A. Olaparib combined with chemotherapy for recurrent platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer: a randomised phase 2 trial.

The Lancet Oncology , 16 1 , pp. Ramos-Esquivel, A. Robson, M. New England Journal of Medicine , 6 , pp. Severson, T. BRCA1-like signature in triple negative breast cancer: Molecular and clinical characterization reveals subgroups with therapeutic potential.


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  • Molecular oncology , 9 8 , pp. Swisher, E. Rucaparib in relapsed, platinum-sensitive high-grade ovarian carcinoma ARIEL2 Part 1 : an international, multicentre, open-label, phase 2 trial. The Lancet Oncology , 18 1 , pp. Tahara, M. Cancer Science.

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    Tsai, K. PD-1 and PD-L1 antibodies for melanoma. The clinical utility of genetic analysis of breast cancer biopsies with a single-gene or a set of genes test or with a multi-gene panel is an ongoing debate. Mini-panel tests are sometimes preferred over multi-gene panel NGS test, keeping in mind the affordability factor.

    However, a multi-gene panel NGS test can provide better insights into the predisposition of a person, towards hereditary cancer. In a recent publication, NGS analysis of a person using a multi-gene panel helped to identify a new gene — MRE11A — that can be associated with familial breast and endometrial cancer.

    Pre-emptive testing of first- and second-degree relatives of breast and ovarian cancer patients with multi-gene panel NGS tests can be used very effectively for risk prediction.

    Going further, knowledge about ones genetic predisposition can help to adopt frequent surveillance measures and perhaps help to prevent the actual incidence of cancer, in susceptible individuals. Inborn errors of metabolism IEM are congenital disorders that are caused by mutations within a single gene. Some IEM disorders are characterized by inability to breakdown and absorb nutrients, resulting in delayed development and malnutrition.

    How to Create a Family tree from your DNA matches With Ancestry's New DNA Matches Beta

    Symptoms of 3-MCC deficiency include vomiting and diarrhea in infants, weak muscles and feeding problems in children. This enzyme is required for the regulation of other enzymes involved in the catabolism of fats and proteins. Another important function of this enzyme is regulation of expression of other genes Bao et al.

    Symptoms of the deficiency of this enzyme include feeding problems in infants, breathing difficulties, skin rashes and alopecia. In some cases, a deficiency of this enzyme can be fatal to infants.

    MORE BY EDWARD BALL

    Recently, a couple was referred to Strand Life Sciences for genetic diagnosis. The unfortunate couple had lost two children, one at the age of 3 years and the other just 4 days old. Unable to conceive, they consulted a renowned geneticist in Hyderabad and discussed the symptoms that their young son age 3 years had suffered from. The geneticist- pediatrician suspected the incidence of either a genetic mutation causing either 3-MCC deficiency or holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency, in the lost children Tammachote et al. The Strand Clinical Exome test was used to differentiate between these two possibilities in order to provide an accurate diagnosis.

    He remained sickly throughout his infancy and finally succumbed to his health issues at the age of 3 years. Medical investigations to understand the causes of his problems had been inconclusive. However, a dried blood spot from this child was obtained and preserved during these investigations. Treatment OptionsTripti was advised treatment with Afatinib, a targeted therapy molecule. This drug inhibits the activity of the EGFR protein, which is mutated in most adenocarcinoma cases. However, her oncologist noted that the tumor persisted and response to afatinib therapy waned, a few months into the therapy.

    A fresh biopsy of the lung tumor was advised to understand the genetic profile of the persistent NSCLC, in a second attempt. The StrandAdvantage Gene Tissue Specific Test Lung was prescribed for identification of mutant genes as well as other molecular markers.

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    The couple had lost their first child at the age of 4 days and Rohit at the age of 3 years. Figure 1. Pedigree Chart- Rohit, Preetha and Jayachandra. Considering the consanguinity in the family, the Strand Clinical Exome test was prescribed to understand whether inheritable mutations that could cause an IEM were present in the family. DNA extracted from the dried blood sample from Rohit was used to understand if the child had 3-MCC deficiency or holocarboxylase synthetase deficiency.

    The HLCS gene codes for an enzyme — holocarboxylase synthetase- that adds a molecular tag- biotin- to various enzymes that are engaged in the breakdown of fats and proteins. When the HLCS gene is mutated, this tagging function is inefficient and results in reduced breakdown of fats and proteins for production of energy. Figure 2. This variation was confirmed by sequencing with reverse primer in two independent experiments. Strand offers a Mutation-Specific Test MST which is designed to identify specific mutations in the genomes of family members of probands index patients.

    These tests are fast and highly specific. Essentially, she has one normal copy of this gene and one mutant copy. Figure 3. Bao, B. Human holocarboxylase synthetase with a start site at methionine is the predominant nuclear variant of this protein and has catalytic activity. Biochemical and biophysical research communications , 1 , pp. Fonseca, H. Gene , 2 , pp.