The Wellcome Sanger Institute will be sequencing the genomes of 25 new animals this year to mark its 25th Anniversary. A public vote is being used to determine five of those, all UK-natives, and I am championing a species from the ‘Dangerous’ category – the Leathery Sea Squirt! Continue reading
Terrifying but ingenious mummification was an option for everyone in Chile and Peru, 7,000 years ago…
Most genetic diseases are the result of a mutation that means a particular protein is made incorrectly, or not made at all. The idea of gene therapy is to infect cells – just how a virus would – with a small amount of DNA containing a replacement copy of the affected gene which slips into the cell’s genome and starts making the missing protein. The principle is elegant, but many challenges stand between the theory and successful use of gene therapy with real patients. In the last few years a number of advances have been made that have the potential to make gene therapy – something the medical community almost gave up on a decade ago – a powerful tool which could treat or even cure tons of diseases. What could be cooler than using the very tools viruses like HIV have painstakingly evolved to infect us with for our own benefit?
That’s right: I made a GIF: Genes are strings of bases within your DNA that contain the code to make different proteins. If a mutation occurs in the gene and changes the sequence of letters, it can change which protein subunits the cell uses to make the protein. This creates a mutant protein which may not function corrrectly, ot may stop the protein being created at all