Archive by category | American Society of Human Genetics

ASHG 2009: Sequence, and then sequence again

Believe it or not, some people are complaining that now the ASHG meeting has too much genomics. This comes after years of dire warnings that the society was ignoring genomics at its own peril. Friday morning featured yet another all-genomics platform session, with multiple talks on sequencing whole human genomes.  Read more

ASHG 2009: Personal genomics fears overblown?

One of the major themes of this meeting is personalized medicine – the promise that some day, doctors will be able to tailor treatments for all of us based on our genetic makeup. Scientists and researchers are excited about the future prospects of personalized medicine, but there are also huge questions about how useful it will really be. Social scientists are wondering: can patients can handle genetic information? Will they overreact upon learning they have some small increase in risk for a disease? Or will the information wash over them like the myriad public service announcements exhorting us to eat right and get more exercise – messages that, apparently, most of us have learned to ignore?  Read more

ASHG 2009: Honolulu-bound

Nature reporter Erika Check Hayden (twittername patsycat21) will be covering this year’s American Society of Human Genetics meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, from 20-24 October. Check back here for her coverage, as well as guest posts from Chris Gunter (girlscientist), director of research affairs at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama, and former Nature editor extraordinaire.  Read more

ASHG 2008: Huntington surprises

Albert LaSpada of the University of Washington in Seattle was able to reverse Huntington symptoms in a mouse model of the disease using a transgene expressing PGC1alpha. He presented details of his study on Wednesday, but gave a little additional background at a press conference this afternoon. It’s one of those lovely genetics discovery stories that not only offers promise for a devastating disease, but comes together so neatly when looked at in hindsight, I just had to relate it.  Read more

ASHG 2008: 1000 Genomes, some numbers

I couldn’t leave this be. I’ll be writing more about it soon, but these numbers are just staggering. David Altshuler gave a status report on the 1000 Genomes project, which aims to plumb the depths of human variation (I’m still waiting for the 1KG handle to take off). As it nears completion of its three pilot phase projects, it’s generated 3.8 trillion bases of genome sequence. Although they haven’t yet sequenced 1,000 genomes, that is technically 1,000 human genomes worth of sequence data. Altshuler said that if you take the amount of data that was in GenBank at the start of the project, they put in roughly that amount more for each week of September and October.  Read more

ASHG 2008: Something I didn’t know about November

It’s family history month, explained Ed McCabe of UCLA, president elect of the American Society of Human Genetics. This was at a press conference announcing the society’s statement on ancestry testing, but he wasn’t advertising for direct-to-consumer testing companies. Rather he suggested that this Thanksgiving, we should take the time to ask our elders about where we came from. Learning about the cultural richness of family history, he said, is very different from knowing that your genes say your are 40% european, for example.  Read more