Posts tagged with "DNA"

NB Pure illustration by Heather Skovlund (Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels) for 360 Magazine

Summer Tips for Melanoma Prevention

Protect yourself from melanoma without becoming deficient in vitamin D

By Leah Johnston, RDN

Don’t be so quick to overlook concerns around melanoma just because it’s often viewed as preventable. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers and the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, there is a conflict between how we prevent melanoma and how we ensure we are getting enough vitamin D. Sun exposure is the main source of this essential vitamin, but it’s also the primary culprit in the formation of melanoma. With May being Melanoma Awareness Month, it’s time to take notice and learn how we can protect our skin while still absorbing enough vitamin D.

The Stats

Cases of melanoma have been rising over the last few decades, especially among young adults, as it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer among people aged 25 to 29. According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, one person dies from melanoma every hour of every day. The American Cancer Society reports that the risk for getting melanoma is approximately 2.6% (1 in 38) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for Blacks, and 0.6% (1 in 167) for Hispanics. While fair skin poses a higher risk, darker complexions are also at risk.

How Melanoma forms

Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin and give skin its brown or tan color. It’s when melanocytes start to grow out of control on the skin’s top layer that cancer can develop and then spread to other parts of the body. Usually appearing as a brown or black spot or mole, melanoma is most commonly found on the chest and back for men and legs for women. It’s best not to ignore any irregular spots you may find on your skin because this cancer can also appear in other colors or patterns. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds can damage DNA in cells and significantly increase the risk of melanoma. Early detection is important for effective treatment.

Tips for melanoma prevention:

  • Use a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen all year when outdoors. This will help protect against sun damage, which can occur even when the sun might be hiding behind a cloud.
  • Limit sun exposure during the middle of the day when the UV rays are at their peak. Instead, plan outdoor time for the morning or later afternoon to lessen the risk. 
  • Opt for a spray tan over laying out by the pool. If you love to have a tan, spray tans are a safer option and will help protect the longevity of your skin.
  • Schedule annual skin exams with a dermatologist. This is especially important if you have fair skin or immediate family members who have had melanoma, such as a parent or sibling.

The importance of Vitamin D

What doesn’t vitamin D do? Known as the sunshine vitamin, the human body absorbs an inactive form of vitamin D from the sun, food, or supplements and converts it into an active form of vitamin that it can use. In its active form, vitamin D plays many roles in the body.

Bone Health: Vitamin D and calcium work together to maintain bone health and density. Calcium cannot be absorbed into bones without the help of vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency can result in bone softening, known as osteomalacia, and muscle weakness. Osteoporosis can also be associated with vitamin D deficiency due to the lack of calcium absorption. Both osteoporosis and melanoma affect older adults making it essential to couple melanoma prevention strategies with vitamin D supplementation.

Immunity: Recently, researchers have been investigating a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. While this research is still in its infancy, scientists have been finding that low vitamin D status may result in the increased severity of symptoms and higher mortality rate. More research is needed in this area.

Inflammation: Research has shown an association between vitamin D status and inflammation-related autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D also helps to regulate insulin levels for diabetes management.

Depression: People with depression are more likely to have low vitamin D levels. A 2011 study found that women who ate more foods rich in vitamin D had a lower risk of depression than women who got less vitamin D in their diets. Vitamin D has also demonstrated the ability to improve the symptoms of depression.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 15 mcg (600 IU) for most children and adults up to the age of 70, according to the National Institutes of Health. Adults who over 70 need 20 mcg (800 IU) daily.

Tips for getting enough Vitamin D:

  • Get outside but be strategic. As previously discussed, the best time to be in the sun is in the morning or later afternoon. Plan your days to limit your exposure to the midday sun.
  • Add at least one vitamin D rich food into your daily diet. These may include fortified dairy and non-dairy beverages such as milk or orange juice, fortified cereals, salmon (wild caught contains more than farmed), sardines, and egg yolks. Wild mushrooms or those that have been treated with UV light are a good plant source of the vitamin. 
  • Take a daily Vitamin D supplement. This may be particularly important if you live in regions of the world that are further from the equator, such as the Midwest. If you struggle to remember or don’t enjoy taking pills, NB Pure has a Vitamin D3 supplement in the form of a spray for the utmost convenience.
  • Have your doctor check your vitamin D levels at least once a year. Getting an annual physical is important for your long-term health. Ask your doctor to make sure they check your vitamin D levels at that visit.

The sun may be the main reason for the increasing rates of melanoma, but it’s also our number one source of vitamin D. It is possible to protect yourself from developing melanoma and ensure that you are obtaining ample amounts of vitamin D to prevent the consequences of a deficiency.

Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging: to live your healthiest life by Greg Macpherson for use by 360 Magazine

Reversing the Aging Process At A Cellular Level

By: Greg Macpherson, pharmacist, author, “Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging

You might think that the occasional gray hair, fine line and wrinkle starting to stare back at you in the mirror is a sign that time is starting to have its impact felt, but these visible changes as we age are just a symptom of what has been going on at a cellular level inside your body for decades. We all know that you can’t change time, but recent advances in our understanding of aging at a cellular level mean that in the not too distant future we will be able to change the impact that time has on our cells.

And it’s about time. Right now, despite the decades and billions of dollars that have gone and continue to go into attempting to understand and solve the diseases associated with advancing age like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular disease, we have not made the progress we should.

Researchers are now starting to ask the question – what if we change track and seek to understand the aging process? By slowing aging, we not only spend decades longer in good health, but we push the diseases associated with old age down the road–possibly avoiding them all together.

 Why We Decline with Age

With better questions come better answers, progress, and breakthroughs. Nearly a decade ago, in the absence of a single theory regarding aging, scientists reached a consensus on nine key areas of our cells that decline in function as we age. These key areas are called the nine hallmarks of aging, and they all have something in common. If you make them worse, you age faster. If you make them better, you slow the aging process down.

Identifying the hallmarks of aging has given researchers cellular targets to focus on, and has unleashed an incredible amount of human capital focused on solving, or at least reducing, the ravages of aging on our bodies. Researchers armed with tens of billions of dollars in research grants and private equity are now racing to find the answers. And the prize is huge–resolving the aging process, deferring the diseases of older age and extending the time we spend in middle age in good health by decades will transform humanity and will both disrupt and create a trillion dollar industry overnight.

Progress is being made at an accelerating rate, and there are now therapies that have  been proven in mice models that are now making their way into clinical studies. Rapamycin, a pharmaceutical that is typically used for organ transplant recipients, because of its ability to help the body avoid rejecting the organ, is now understood to extend life in mice by up to 60%. Senolytics, molecules that help the body identify and remove senescent cells that increasingly accumulate as we age and literally poison the healthy cells that surround them, have extended life in mice by up to 30%. Metformin, a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes has been identified to significantly reduce cancer rates and extend life.

And these are just a few of the compounds that have been identified that shift the effect of time on our bodies. These and more molecules being developed right now, plus strategies for healthy aging that have been identified from the blue zones around the world where people live to 100 and beyond at a much higher rate than the rest of us, are amongst the many healthy aging strategies that I featured in my book, “Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging, to Live Your Healthiest Life.”

As a pharmacist with 30 years of experience, I have spent the last decade working in the biotechnology arena associated with anti-aging, translating the complex world of anti-aging science to make it available for the rest of us. By understanding the nine hallmarks of aging­–adopting simple strategies from the blue zones, and sharing the breakthrough molecules that have not been available to humans in previous generations– I’ve put together a step-by-step, healthy aging strategy. We can all adopt  this strategy and, in the process, significantly alter our aging trajectory and making healthy aging much more of a certainty.

Why DNA Matters

One example of a hallmark of aging is “genomic instability,” which is another way of saying that the negative changes to our DNA in our cells that happen as we age. Your DNA is your cellular instruction set and defines what it means to be a human versus every other living species on our planet. Your DNA is responsible for the difference between a skin cell and a heart cell, a neuron and an insulin producing cell.

Your DNA are molecules that sit at the center of almost every single cell in your body, helping it function, live and thrive. Your DNA does this in an incredibly hostile environment as it deals with the external stress of pollution, mutagenic foods and chemicals, UV light and X-rays, and the internal insults of oxidative stress. Due to these factors your DNA is damaged between 50,000 and 100,000 times per day, per cell.

Because of the importance of having a healthy instruction set, your cells spend a huge amount of resource on the repair and maintenance of your DNA and as we age, and this process starts to decline, which has significant effect on the health of your cells. Take a quick look at the back of your hand compared to the skin on the inside of your wrist to get a sense of the difference between cells exposed to UV damage that hits your DNA.

DNA damage is happening right now in every cell in your body, and over time it affects the ability of your cells to function effectively. Starting as early as your 30s, by supporting DNA repair and maintenance through making lifestyle changes and by taking molecules, like hobamine, NMN and apigenin, as outlined in my book, it can help your body keep your DNA and the other hallmarks of aging in good shape. By following the roadmap of this breakthrough strategy in a healthy aging, you will age better than previous generations have ever been able to achieve.

Biography

Greg Macpherson is a pharmacist, entrepreneur and author of, “Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging: To Live Your Healthiest Life.” For more than a decade, he has been working in the biotechnology sector, specifically focusing on the aging process at the cellular level. This work led him to discover ways to harness the nine identified, scientific hallmarks of aging, which is the premise of his book that addresses the natural aging process, how to age more favorably and simple strategies to slow the aging process and build a functional longevity plan. Beyond theory and concept, Macpherson has used his entrepreneurial spirit to further develop solutions to this new paradigm of aging, described in his book, by launching SRW Laboratories, a science and research based company that curates the latest biotechnology research to formulate natural products designed to help slow the onset of aging and disease, and develop evidence based solutions for those who are experiencing age-related health concerns. SRW, which stands for Science, Research and Wellness, is Macpherson’s natural world laboratory that will develop the preventative formulas from nature required to slow down the aging process based on the nine hallmarks of aging, which include mitochondrial dysfunction, telomere attrition and cellular senescence, to name a few. With aging being the single biggest risk factor for developing disease, Macpherson’s mission to slow the aging process at a cellular level could help millions of people delay the onset of diseases associated with advanced aging like Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
greg macpherson headshot for use by 360 Magazine

Murderous History illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Murderous History Series

TRUE CRIME MYSTERIES PULLED STRAIGHT OUT OF HISTORY

MURDEROUS HISTORY

ALL-NEW SIX PART SERIES PREMIERES SUNDAY APRIL 25 at 9PM ET/PT ON SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL

No fingerprinting? No DNA tests? No psychological profiling? No problem. Smithsonian Channel steps back in time to investigate history’s most shocking murder mysteries and reveal how they were solved in the upcoming all-new series, Murderous History. On the heels of the channel’s recent success in true crime, historians guide viewers through the sinister undercurrents of various city’s past where odd and lethal scandals perplexed historical detectives and expose the dark undercurrents of society. From the devastatingly bombed streets of London to industrial Chicago to Nazi Berlin, each episode captures nail-biting criminal investigations to prove that everything is not always what it seems. Murderous History premieres on Smithsonian Channel Sunday, April 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

At the scene of every crime is a story of a time, the place, and its people. This six-part series steps back in time to examine the most gruesome and compelling murder mysteries of the past 200 years, viewed through the lens of the eras and cities in which they took place. Through cinematic reenactments, we follow the determined investigators and complex perpetrators while revealing how each case made its own mark on history.

They happened in times of war and peace, during daylight and darkness, and to victims old and young. These are the stories of the most heinous murders of the 19th and 20th centuries, some which have faded from memory and others that continue to haunt their host cities to this day. Join us as we travel back to some of history’s defining moments when detectives had to overcome the limited tools of their era—and often invented new forensic techniques on the fly—in a race to catch the killers before they struck again.

Murderous History is produced by Warehouse 51 Productions Ltd. for Smithsonian Channel. The executive producers are TKTK from 51 Productions and John Cavanaugh for Smithsonian Channel. 

About Smithsonian Channel

Smithsonian Channel, a ViacomCBS Inc. brand, is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing factual entertainment, available in HD and 4K Ultra HD across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel, winner of Emmy and Peabody awards, is the home of popular genres such as air and space, travel, history, science, nature and pop culture. Among the brand’s hit series are Aerial America, America in Color, America’s Hidden Stories, Apollo’s Moon Shot, The Pacific War in Color and Air Disasters, as well as critically acclaimed specials that include The Green Book: Guide to Freedom, Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier, Walk Against Fear: James Meredith and Princess Diana’s Wicked Stepmother. Smithsonian Channel is available internationally in Canada, Singapore, Latin America, the UK and Ireland.

Woman at Computer by Mina Tocalini for 360 Magazine

UVA’s DNA Discovery

Scientists have identified a group of drugs that may help stop a leading cause of vision loss after making an unexpected discovery that overturns a fundamental belief about DNA.

The drugs, known as Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors, or NRTIs, are commonly used to treat HIV. The new discovery suggests that they may be useful against dry macular degeneration as well, even though a virus does not cause that sight-stealing condition.

A review of four different health insurance databases suggests that people taking these drugs have a significantly reduced risk of developing dry macular degeneration, a condition that affects millions of Americans.

“We are extremely excited that the reduced risk was reproduced in all the databases, each with millions of patients,” said Jayakrishna Ambati, MD, a top macular degeneration researcher at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “This finding provides real hope in developing the first treatment for this blinding disease.”

Targeting Macular Degeneration

The new discovery comes from Ambati; Fred H. Gage, PhD, of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies; and collaborators around the world. The work rewrites our understanding of DNA, revealing for the first time that it can be manufactured in the cytoplasm of our cells, outside the cell nucleus that is home to our genetic material.

The buildup of a certain type of DNA in the cytoplasm, Alu, contributes to macular degeneration, the researchers found. This buildup appears to kill off an important layer of cells that nourishes the retina’s visual cells.

Based on this discovery, the researchers decided to look at drugs that block the production of this DNA, to see if they might help prevent vision loss. They analyzed multiple U.S. health insurance databases – encompassing more than 100 million patients over two decades – and found that people taking NRTIs were almost 40% less likely to develop dry macular degeneration.

The researchers are urging further study to determine if these drugs or safer derivatives known as Kamuvudines, both of which block a key inflammatory pathway, could help prevent vision loss from dry macular degeneration.

“A clinical trial of these inflammasome-inhibiting drugs is now warranted,” said Ambati, the founding director of UVA’s Center for Advanced Vision Science. “It’s also fascinating how uncovering the intricate biology of genetics and combining it with big data archeology can propel insights into new medicines.”

Ambati, of UVA’s Department of Ophthalmology, previously determined that NRTIs may help prevent diabetes as well.

Findings Published

The researchers have published their findings in the scientific journal PNAS. The research team consisted of Shinichi Fukuda, Akhil Varshney, Benjamin J. Fowler, Shao-bin Wang, Siddharth Narendran, Kameshwari Ambati, Tetsuhiro Yasuma, Joseph Magagnoli, Hannah Leung, Shuichiro Hirahara, Yosuke Nagasaka, Reo Yasuma, Ivana Apicella, Felipe Pereira, Ryan D. Makin, Eamonn Magner, Xinan Liu, Jian Sun, Mo Wang, Kirstie Baker, Kenneth M. Marion, Xiwen Huang, Elmira Baghdasaryan, Meenakshi Ambati, Vidya L. Ambati, Akshat Pandey, Lekha Pandya, Tammy Cummings, Daipayan Banerjee, Peirong Huang, Praveen Yerramothu, Genrich V. Tolstonog, Ulrike Held, Jennifer A. Erwin, Apua C.M. Paquola, Joseph R. Herdy, Yuichiro Ogura, Hiroko Terasaki, Tetsuro Oshika, Shaban Darwish, Ramendra K. Singh, Saghar Mozaffari, Deepak Bhattarai, Kyung Bo Kim, James W. Hardin, Charles L. Bennett, David R. Hinton, Timothy E. Hanson, Christian Röver, Keykavous Parang, Nagaraj Kerur, Jinze Liu, Brian C. Werner, S. Scott Sutton, Srinivas R. Sadda, Gerald G. Schumann, Bradley D. Gelfand, Fred H. Gage and Jayakrishna Ambati.

Jayakrishna Ambati is a co-founder of Inflammasome Therapeutics, iVeena Holdings, iVeena Delivery Systems and DiceRx; a full list of the authors’ disclosures is included in the paper.

The research was supported by UVA’s Strategic Investment Fund, the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award, the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute and many other generous contributors. A full list is included in the paper.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to the Making of Medicine blog.

Male Pattern Baldness article illustrated by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

Everything You Need To Know About Male Pattern Baldness

The average person loses anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs a day—it’s part of the natural hair cycle and won’t make a difference on the scalp.

It only becomes a problem when there isn’t new hair to replace the ones that you’ve lost. A medical condition, it can be caused by a number of things from medications to hormonal changes.

Genetics can play a role as well. If anything, that’s what causes androgenic alopecia aka male pattern baldness.

Think you might have it? Want to know what some of the possible treatments are? If so, be sure to read the rest of the post!

What Is Male Pattern Baldness?

Male pattern baldness is a condition that causes loss of hair in men. In the United States, it affects nearly 50 million individuals. In fact, it’s said that more than half of all men will experience it to some extent by the age of 50.

And while it doesn’t pose any health threats, it can be psychologically distressing.

What Causes Male Pattern Baldness? 

Male pattern baldness has to do with the male sex hormones aka androgens. More specifically, they have an effect on the hair growth cycle. Instead of producing new strands to replace the ones that have fallen out, the hair follicle shrinks.

Over time, this leads to baldness.

While the condition is often inherited, it can also be caused by other things such as medications and certain cancers. In cases like that, it’s often accompanied by a rash or peeling of the scalp.

Who’s At Risk?

When do men start balding? It depends, but male pattern baldness typically occurs when an individual is in his 30s or 40s (the likelihood increases with age). With that said, it can also happen during the teen years after puberty. 

Since it’s genetic, those with a family history of the condition are also at a higher risk of developing the condition. This is especially true if it runs on the material side of the family.

Common Symptoms 

Male pattern baldness shows up in a telltale shape. That is, it often starts as a receding hairline with thinning strands around the hair.

Over time, it’ll continue to move backward, forming an “M” shape. Eventually, as the hair becomes shorter and finer, it’ll create a horseshoe pattern with hair on the sides of the head.

Depending on the severity, the hairline may continue to recede until all of the strands are gone.

Treating Male Pattern Baldness 

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for male pattern baldness. Having said that, there are treatments available for those who’d like to improve their appearance. 

Medications

There are a couple of medications that can help with the condition, one of which includes a topical lotion or foam. Available over-the-counter, it works best on the crown of the head.

Keep in mind, however, that it can take several months for you to see results. Also, the medication must be used indefinitely to preserve the effects.

And while it’s typically well-tolerated, it can cause side effects such as itching, irritation, or swelling of the skin.

In addition to that, there’s a prescription medication that you can take orally. Put it simply, it prevents DHT, a male hormone, from shrinking the hair follicles on the scalp. In doing so, it can slow the progression of baldness.

As with the lotion, however, the effects will be reversed if the pill is stopped.

Wigs 

Wigs can be used to cover receding hairlines, thinning hair, or complete baldness. The best part is that they come in a variety of colors and styles so that you can choose the one that’s right for you.

You can also work with a professional wig stylist for a more natural look.

Hair Weaves 

Weaves are basically wigs that are sewn into your hair. There’s just one thing—you must have enough hair for them to work with.

Unlike wigs, which can easily come off, weaves will always stay on, even if you’re running or swimming. However, they must be sewn again whenever new hair growth occurs.

Hair Transplants 

A hair transplant is the most invasive option and because of this, it’s often considered to be the last resort. How does it work?

A doctor will remove hair from areas of the scalp that still have active growth and transplant them to balding areas. Generally speaking, multiple treatments will be necessary.

Common side effects include numbness on the treated areas of the scalp, swelling, and scarring. The new hair may also appear less dense over time depending on the density of follicles in the transplanted area.

Is Male Pattern Baldness Preventable?

Currently, there’s no known way to prevent the condition. With that said, some researchers believe that it may help to reduce stress. Ultimately, this has to do with the fact that stress can contribute to hair loss by increasing sex hormones.

Given that, you may want to participate in relaxing activities such as walking or listening to soothing music.

Understanding Male Pattern Baldness 

Now you know all about male pattern baldness. As you can see, it can be caused by various things from medications to genetics. Fortunately, there are ways to treat the condition. When in doubt, consult with your primary care doctor!

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Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

New COVID-19 Strain In Southeast Asia

By Eamonn Burke

A mutation of the COVID-19 virus called D614G has been discovered in Southeast Asia, mostly in Malaysia and the Philippines but also in China. The outbreak can be traced back to a man who did not quarantine after his trip from India, causing a 45-case outbreak in Malaysia. The man has since been fined and sentenced to five months in prison. D614G is the leading strain in the United States and Europe, after being discovered in Chicago in June. Now the mutation is quickly spreading across Asia and the entire world.

The mutation is estimated to be up to 10 times more infectious, but “We still don’t have enough solid evidence to say that that will happen,” says Phillipines’ Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Verviers. A study from Johns Hopkins points to evidence showing that the new virus is not more deadly than the previous strain. Benjamin Cowling of University of Hong Kong agreed: “(D614G) might be a little bit more contagious. We haven’t yet got enough evidence to evaluate that.” A Cell Press paper also corroborates this, saying that the strain will most likely not impact vaccine development. However, Malaysia’s Director-General of Health, Noor Hisham, warns that this may mean that vaccine studies may be incomplete without accounting for the new strain.

A mutating virus is far from an exceptional thing, because it is how they can continue to spread. In fact, the genome of the coronavirus changes about 2 times a month, according to Science Magazine. Some of them help the virus reproduce, others damage it, and some are neutral. These changes can be just a single letter in the genetic code, but it can make the virus much more transmissible. Dr Thushan de Silva, at the University of Sheffield, says that there is not enough evidence to say whether the D614G mutation helps or harms the virus, but he knows that it is not neutral.

This comes as the FDA has just granted emergency authorization for COVID-19 spit tests, which will make testing much easier and much wider spread. The SalivaDirect test, developed at Yale University, will expedite testing by eliminating a time consuming step in the process.

Meanwhile, the United States passes 170,000 deaths from the virus, with infections of children rising as they return to school. New information from the CDC says that rates of COVID-19 in children are increasing. While they make up only 7% of cases in the country, they are responsible for over 20% of them. In addition to this, and in contrast to previous beliefs, “Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx compared with adults and that children can spread the virus effectively in households and camp settings.”

Data to reinforce this claim can be found in the rising cases among children at schools that have already reopened, including 7,000 in Alabama. Many schools have debated or committed to reversing course and going online. These rising cases correlating with schools reopening “may explain the low incidence in children compared with adults,” says the CDC, suggesting that children’s perceived resistance to transmitting the virus may have been partly a result of simply staying inside – a sobering reminder of the ever changing narrative of COVID-19.

360 Magazine, Ahmaud Arbery, Politics

Everything you need to know about DNA ancestry tests

A DNA ancestry test is essentially the way you can learn every single detail about your family genealogy through the genes, a process that has become quite popular over the last few years as people’s interest in their history has grown exponentially.

Believe it or not, the genetic ancestry testing allows to examine the DNA to the point where you can find the most unbelievable variations that offer the clues you want to know in order to determine where your ancestors came from, and even the connection between the families.

This relationship is usually one of the most revealing details when making a DNA ancestry, given the fact that the more related two families or individuals are, the more variation patterns these groups will share.

Getting to this point, it is important to know there are different types of ancestry DNA tests that exist right now. In case you don’t know any of these, here are the most famous.

Mitochondrial DNA testing

This one essentially identifies the vast number of genetic variations that take place in the so-called mitochondrial DNA. This is probably the most complex testing considering there’s an incredible number of DNA and cell structures that are checked in order to provide the results.

One of the most curious aspects of this type of test is the fact that while both females and males can use the Mitochondrial DNA testing, its main purpose is essentially to provide information about the direct ancestral line of the woman. Also, it preserves the data about her ancestors, which is quite useful since this information usually get lost from the historical records.

Y chromosome testing

As it name suggest, this type of testing is the opposite of the previous one, meaning that only males can take it and its main purpose is to check the whole ancestry line in the man’s direct line.

On the other hand, this type of genetic testing is sometimes used to determine different questions such as whether two different groups or families are related even when they have the same surname.

Nucleotide polymorphism testing

This type of test evaluates the widest variations across someone’s entire genome. Once this part is done, the results are then compared with those of other people who have also taken this specific test in order to give an estimate of the ethnic background.

This is the most famous type of testing of all, considering this is the one that people use to determine the percentage of all ethnicities they have in their genes. For example, someone could be 25 percent African, 50 percent Asian, 20 European, etc.

X-DNA testing

This one really comes in handy for inheritance patterns and it is known for being part of the autosomal test, which is the procedure that only focuses on the 22 different chromosomes’ pairs that don’t have any sort of association with someone’s sex.

As it name suggests, the X-DNA testing looks exclusively at the X-chromosome, which is present not only males but also in females. After all, while men always get the X-chromosome only from their mothers, women receive it from each of her parents.

People usually get this test in order to examining every single detail of the chromosome in question. The reason? Experts concluded this will spot inheritance patterns not only for traits but also for different types of illnesses that the person can suffer in the future depending on their ancestry.

Ethnic Makeup test

The main goal of this type of DNA test is to determine the population clusters of people’s ancestry and the so-called biographical makeup.

In order to understand the purpose of this test, it is crucial to know that the Homo Sapiens were nomadic species that traveled every single continent and nation. Throughout the years, this specimen created tribes that eventually migrated to other parts of the world, being the reason why every single person is made up of numerous percentages of ethnicities.

This information is easily determined by this test, which gives the person who goes through it the most accurate prediction of the biographical makeup. What’s quite outstanding about this type of DNA ancestry test is the fact that it shows a map with the different ancestral locations.

Rapidly detecting invisible dangers to food

When food is recalled due to contamination from bacteria such as salmonella, one may wonder how a tainted product ended up on store shelves. New technology being developed at the University of Missouri could give retailers and regulators an earlier warning on dangers in food, improving public health and giving consumers peace of mind.

The biosensor provides a rapid way for producers to know if this invisible danger is present in both raw and ready-to-eat food before it reaches the store. Annually, more than 48 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses in America, such as salmonella, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Current tests used to determine positive cases of salmonella — for instance culturing samples and extracting DNA to detect pathogens — are accurate but may take anywhere from one to five days to produce results,” said Mahmoud Almasri, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the MU College of Engineering. “With this new device, we can produce results in just a few hours.”

In this study, researchers focused on poultry products, such as chicken and turkey. The biosensor uses a specific fluid that is mixed with the food to detect the presence of bacteria, such as salmonella, along a food production line in both raw and ready-to-eat food. That way, producers can know within a few hours — typically the length of a worker’s shift — if their products are safe to send out for sale to consumers. The researchers believe their device will enhance a food production plant’s operational efficiency and decrease cost.

“Raw and processed food could potentially contain various levels of bacteria,” said Shuping Zhang, professor and director of the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine. “Our device will help control and verify that food products are safe for consumers to eat and hopefully decrease the amount of food recalls that happen.”

Researchers said the next step would be testing the biosensor in a commercial setting. Almasri said he believes people in the food processing industry would welcome this device to help make food safer.

The study, “A microfluidic based biosensor for rapid detection of Salmonella in food products,” was published in PLOS ONE, one of the world’s leading peer-reviewed journals focused on science and medicine. Other authors include Ibrahem Jasim, Zhenyu Shen, Lu Zhao at MU; and Majed Dweik at Lincoln University. Funding was provided by a partnership between MU, the Coulter Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.

This study details the latest findings for this interdisciplinary team of researchers who have developed multiple biosensors and published results of their previous findings in Scientific Reports, Biosensors and Bioelectronics and Electrophoresis.

Genetic Immunity Presents at First Russian-Chinese HIV Congress in Moscow

Peter Boros, Genetic Immunity’s President presented the Company’s pDNA-based platform technology and clinical trial data relating to HIV in front of an esteemed gathering of HIV experts.

As part of the presentation, Genetic Immunity announced the launch of a Phase III clinical trial for the company’s lead product candidate, a therapeutic HIV vaccine, to be conducted at the Moscow City Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS, with the planned enrollment of up to 200 patients. Upon successful completion, Genetic Immunity plans to apply for marketing approval in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region.

“It was an honor to have been invited and to present in front of such a highly regarded group of HIV experts from Russia, China and the United States. I believe our presentation was well-received and we are all looking forward to a successful trial completion. If marketing approval is granted, our therapeutic HIV vaccine could introduce a paradigm shift in treating HIV,” stated Boros.

The DermaVir platform contains a novel plasmid DNA that encodes most HIV genes. The vaccine is administered topically using the DermaPrep medical device.

“Mr. Boros gave an excellent presentation about Genetic Immunity’s therapeutic vaccine platform with a special emphasis on the company’s HIV results to date. I look forward to completing the planned Phase III trial, and – upon a successful result – to treating patients with a very promising new vaccine product,” added Professor Alexey Mazus, Head of the Moscow City Center for the Prevention and Control of AIDS.

Abu Dhabi x World Ocean Summit 2019

Government of Abu Dhabi Announced as Host of World Ocean Summit 2019.

This year’s World Ocean Summit, held in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, has brought together over 500 leaders from the private sector, civil society and government to explore the development of a sustainable ocean economy through innovative financing and technologies as well as bold new efforts to implement the world’s sustainability commitments. It is the largest World Ocean Summit yet, and underscores The Economist Group’s doubling down on this topic, in no small part through announcing the launch of the World Ocean Initiative, an effort that will translate the momentum and focus of the World Ocean Summit into a year-round programme on the ocean that leverages the full capabilities of The Economist Group.

Carrying this momentum forward, The Economist Group is pleased to announce the Government of Abu Dhabi as the host of World Ocean Summit 2019. Abu Dhabi has a close relationship with the ocean, through its history as a centre for pearl diving, its resilient coral reefs and its mangroves sea grass meadows that provide valuable services in the face of climate change.

Bringing the World Ocean Summit to Abu Dhabi presents a unique opportunity to amplify the conversations on the sustainable development of the ocean in the Middle East and the wider region, and equally provides a platform for Abu Dhabi to share its innovative approaches to conservation, and developing a vibrant and sustainable ocean economy, with the rest of the world.

The challenges facing the ocean are global, and the World Ocean Summit 2019, which will be held March 5th-7th, will bring the bold discussions and diverse audiences that characterise the World Ocean Summit into a new part of the world, and host stimulating conversations on the topics of ocean financing, governance and innovation. A key priority for World Ocean Summit 2019 will be to foster greater cooperation and collaboration between different groups, and to serve as a bridge between the development of economic policies and protecting the marine environment. It intends to build a truly global community for the creation of a sustainable ocean economy. Through the World Ocean Initiative, The Economist Group will build a programme of work across these topics and themes throughout 2018 to ensure that we continue to play a role in fostering progress against the global community’s commitments on the ocean.

 

To know more about World Ocean Summit 2019 in Abu Dhabi, watch video here.