Posts tagged with "DNA"

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.

Norway, Georgia, India and China triumph at World Chess Championship in Saudi Arabia

Described by players as a championship to remember, the World Open and Women’s Blitz Chess Championships kept onlookers from across the world with bated breath for the jam-packed affair. Saudi Arabia welcomed male and female players from 55 countries, among them 10 men and 11 women of world’s top players, in an effort to become a sporting hub and a beacon for change.

After a suspenseful opening which saw his initial defeat, World No.1 Magnus Carlsen (Norway) found his groove and reclaimed his supremacy as Champion of World Open Blitz Chess. In the Women’s Championship, Georgian mother-of-two Nana Dzagnidze fulfilled her dream and snatched the gold with her stellar performance.

For the Rapid Chess category, Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, fondly known as ‘The Tiger from Madras’, remained unbeaten against some of the highest IQs in the world and swiftly emerged as winner. The Women’s Championship was dominated by Chinese Grandmaster Ju Wenjun, who won the gold medal as the only player to finish with a win rate of nearly 80%.

Watch the video here

King Salman World Open and Women’s Chess Championships 

The Inaugural 2017 King Salman World Open and Women’s Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships

Full of surprises after day 1 rounds
The inaugural King Salman World Open and Women’s Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships have begun, held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the first time in history, with Chinese classical chess champion Ju Wenjun achieving a perfect opening score. Meanwhile the World Number One, Magnus Carlsen, got off to a less than ideal start. Surely, he will look to improve on his game today.

The event, running until 30th December, marks an important advance in Saudi Arabia’s mission to become a sporting hub capital and provides a refreshing inclusion of women in such high profile public events.

The event has attracted attract more than 200 players from all over the world, providing aspirational role models for players in the region and sees famed male and female chess players compete on the World stage for a chance to prove their strategic prowess against some of the highest IQs in the world.


Content now available:

26th December, 12pm: Opening Ceremony Web Film

27th December, 2pm: Opening ceremony event, key highlights, GVs Rapid Rounds 1-5; IV Magnus Carlsen; IV Georgios Makropoulos, Acting President of FIDE; IV Kosai Al-Fawaz, Investment & Marketing Advisor to the President of the General Authority for Sport His Excellency Turki bin Abdulmohsen Al-Sheikh

Additional content coming:

29th December, 10am: IVs Rapid Round Winners; GVs Rapid Rounds 6-15; GVs Award Ceremony

31st December, 10am: IVs Blitz Round Winners; GVs Blitz Rounds; GVs Award Ceremony; GVs Closing Ceremony
Watch here: 

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4OlK1hJsEs&t=6s