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Scientists Use Pocket-size Device to Map Human Genetic Code

The MinION works by detecting the change in current flow as single molecules of DNA pass through a nanopore

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Scientists have found a way of mapping out human DNA.
Scientists have found a way of mapping out human DNA.
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  • Scientists have found out technology that can map human genetics
  • This will be done with a DNA sequencer
  • This technology can bring a revolution in the field of study of genetics

Scientists have assembled the most complete human genome to be mapped with a single technology using a new pocket-size portable DNA sequencer, which they say could one day make genome mapping quick and simple enough to do at home.

“If you imagine the process of assembling a genome … is like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, the ability to produce extremely long sequencing reads is like finding very large pieces of the puzzle, which makes the process far less complex,” said Nick Loman, a professor at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection who co-led the work.

This discovery in the field of genetics can bring revolution. VOA
This discovery in the field of genetics can bring revolution. VOA

Understanding and interpreting the human genome is a cornerstone of modern medicine, offering a wealth of information about a person’s inherited genetics risks, the antibodies they have, or how their diseases — such as cancer — have developed.

The first mapping of the human genome — essentially a person’s genetic recipe — was completed in 2003. It cost government-funded scientists $3 billion and 13 years of work.

Also Read: Mummies’ DNA Reveals Egyptians Relatives From The East 

‘Landmark for genomics’

Loman said the mini-sequencer may soon allow genome mapping to become a routine part of medical care.

“At the moment, sequencing is quite laborious and occurs in expensively equipped laboratories,” he said. “But in future, we can imagine sequencing using pocket-size devices in [doctors’] surgeries, in clinics and even in people’s own homes.”

DNA sequencing is an expensive process which is expected to become cheaper in future. Wikimedia Commons
DNA sequencing is an expensive process which is expected to become cheaper in future. Wikimedia Commons

The MinION works by detecting the change in current flow as single molecules of DNA pass through a nanopore — or tiny hole — in a membrane. Mapping a human genome with this device costs around $1,000.

“This is a landmark for genomics,” said Matt Loose of the University of Nottingham, who worked with Loman. “The long reads that are possible with nanopore sequencing will provide us with a much clearer picture of the overall structure and organization of the genome than ever before.” VOA

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Genetics May Play Big Role In Kid’s Snacking Patterns

The children with the genetic variant related to fat taste sensitivity were found to consume snacks with higher energy density

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These genes can cause heart failure. Pixabay
These genes can cause heart failure. Pixabay

Parents, take note! The types of snacks a child chooses could be linked to genetics, a new study has claimed.

The researcher investigated whether genetic variants in taste receptors related to sweet preference, fat taste sensitivity, and aversion to bitter green leafy vegetables influenced the snacks chosen by the study participants.

They found that nearly 80 percent of the study participants carried at least one of these potential at-risk genotypes that could predispose them to poor snacking habits.

ALSO READ: App to help scientists study cancer genetics

“Kids are eating a lot more snacks now than they used to, and we think to look at how genetics can be related to snacking behavior is important to understanding increased obesity among kids,” said Elie Chamoun from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

“This new research could help parents understand how their kids taste and tailor their diet for better nutritional choices,” Chamoun added.

genetic
The researchers also tested the participants’ saliva to determine their genetic taste profile. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Scientists Use Pocket-size Device to Map Human Genetic Code

They discovered that kids with a sweet tooth, who have the gene related to sweet taste preference, ate snacks with significantly more calories from sugar. They also ate those snacks mostly in the evening.

“It’s likely these kids snacked more in the evening because that’s when they are at home and have more access to foods with high sugar,” said Chamoun.

The children with the genetic variant related to fat taste sensitivity were found to consume snacks with higher energy density. People with this genetic variant may have a low oral sensitivity to fat and therefore consume more fatty foods without sensing it, the researcher said. (IANS)

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