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Tuesday, November 14, 2000

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find related articles. powered by google. BioMedNet Genetic screening promises 14 disease databanks in UK
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"Geneticists in the UK today saw at last the fruits of a hard-won campaign to secure more funding for genomic research to aid public health, with over £8 million going toward DNA databases to study the causes of common diseases.

The government's Medical Research Council (MRC) confirmed awards totalling £8.3 million to 14 groups around the territory that specialise in conditions such as heart disease, breast cancer, hypertension, leukemia, kidney failure, degeneration of the retina, and multiple sclerosis."

"Conscious that its latest awards raise the sensitive issues behind genetic screening, the MRC emphasizes that this current work is very different from the proposed study of DNA samples from much larger numbers of people, the Population Biomedical Collection (PBC). This controversial program, which would allow research on the interactions between genes, environment and lifestyle, only recently completed a public consultation exercise. It is backed by the MRC in association with the Wellcome Trust, the UK's biggest provider of funds for science research, and the National Health Service.

The PBC and the DNA collections are different but complementary pieces of research, says Porteous, who is a member of the working party advising the Wellcome Trust on the large-scale study. The PBC is concerned with "environmental and genetic effects on health risks later in life rather than on individuals [with diseases]," he said."
find related articles. powered by google. The New Scientist Gene collection
"Britain's largest ever DNA collection project has been announced by the Medical Research Council. Genetic material from thousands of sick people will be collected and stored in databases across Britain."

""Perhaps the most ambitious is the colorectal cancer project in Scotland," says Rawle. "They're planning on taking samples from every person with colorectal cancer in Britain - that's a tremendous challenge."

Ellen Solomon at King's College London will lead a DNA breast cancer project. Mutations in single genes cause some cases of breast cancer, but most probably involve mutations in many genes, says Solomon.

Her team will take DNA samples from families with only slightly more cases of breast cancer than most. This suggests that they have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, but that predisposition involves mutations in more than just one or two genes."

find related articles. powered by google. BioMedNet Here come the lawyers
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"In 1993, a researcher at the Miami Children's Hospital, with the encouragement and help of families of victims, discovered the genetic basis for Canavan disease, a disease of the central nervous system that affects 1 in 6,400 Ashkenazi Jews. The mutation, on chromosome 17, was patented, and the researcher developed a genetic test. Four parents and three nonprofit groups filed a lawsuit in a Chicago federal court claiming "misappropriation of trade secrets," because they used children's blood and tissue without consent to file the patent.

Reference: Marshall, E. 2000. Families sue hospital, scientist for control of Canavan gene. Science 290(5494):1062."

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Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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