Aug 5, 2009 | 1
It might not be super high-res, but researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have described the first full structure of the HIV-1 genome.
The paper, published online today in Nature, maps out the virus' genome down to a one-nucleotide resolution with the help of a technique call SHAPE—selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension—to paint the full, previously unknown picture of the virus (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group).
"The technique is thus akin to zooming out on a map and getting a broader view of the landscape at the expense of fine details," writes Hashim Al-Hashimi, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in the accompanying views piece.
Like viruses such as the common cold and hepatitis C, HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus) is made up of single-stranded RNA that folds into a convoluted architecture. Previous studies have focused on various parts of HIV, but the new research presents the bird's-eye-view of the full genome. "The study … is a considerable achievement, showing the feasibility of obtaining 'aerial' views of large genomic RNA structures that reveal their architecture and possible functions," Al-Hashimi writes.
May 6, 2009 | 1
Last week, we reported on an ongoing eBay auction for personal genome sequencing, analysis, and interpretation by Knome, Inc., a genetics company in Cambridge, Mass. At the time, no one had placed a bid.
But since then, someone did: The auction closed Monday afternoon, with a single bid at the $68,000 minimum Knome had set.
"We don't know who the [auction's] winner is," says Knome's Ari Kiirikki. "We know it's a male and we know he's from Europe." But as soon as the payment goes through, probably within days, the company will learn his identity, he adds, and the unknown man will join about 20 others who have had their genes sequenced by Knome.
Apr 30, 2009 | 2
Last week, bidding kicked off at $68,000 on a 10-day eBay auction whose prize includes personal genome sequencing, analysis, and interpretation services provided by Cambridge, Mass.–based genetics firm Knome, Inc. The auction's winner also participates in a roundtable discussion with Knome's geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians to review the winner's sequence data, not to mention a private dinner with George Church, co-Founder and Knome's chief scientific advisor.
All of that would seem to be a bargain, considering just two years ago it cost an estimated $2 million to sequence the genome of Nobel Prize winner James Watson, and Knome normally charges more than $99,000 for the service.
Oct 21, 2008 | 1
Ten people today allowed their genetic maps to be publicly displayed on the Web in the name of research. The effort is part of Harvard Medical School's Personal Genome Project (PGP), which aims to create a large public database of human DNA to aid researchers in their quest to find the causes and cures for genetic maladies.
The first 10 volunteers, dubbed the PGP-10, include project director and Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church; Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker; technology writer Esther Dyson; Duke University science editor Misha Angrist; Keith Batchelder, CEO of Genomic Healthcare Strategies in Charlestown, Mass.; Rosalynn Gill, founder of personalized health company Sciona in Aurora, Colo.; John Halamka, technology dean at Harvard Medical School; Stanley Lapidus, chairman and CEO of Helicos BioSciences Corp. in Cambridge, Mass.; Kirk Maxey, founder of the research biochemical company Cayman Chemical based in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and James Shirley, senior scientist at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute.
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