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  • Fake viruses? SARS-CoV-2 origins conspiracy theories Part 3

    21/10/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    The last two blog posts we have dedicated to going over a controversial, non-peer reviewed online report outlining reasons why the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been of natural origin. The authors promised to follow up that initial report with further proof of why a number of published coronavirus genomes from different animals are fake. We were really curious what kind of evidence they would propose to build their case to claim an academic fraud of such massive proportion, and this is what this post is about.


  • SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus origins alternative theories – do they hold up against science? Part 2

    10/10/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    This is the second post of a two part series dedicated to analyzing the conspiracy theories regarding the SARS-CoV-2 origins that are different from the widely accepted “natural origin”, where we offer a contradictory, equally controversial viewpoint to a synthetic origin theory, and review the authors’ “smoking gun” evidence of why the SARS-CoV-2 was engineered.


  • SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus origins alternative theories – do they hold up against science? Part 1

    28/09/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    Earlier this month a deeply controversial and outright shocking report came out purporting to provide smoking gun evidence that SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was laboratory engineered. With a title like "Unusual Features of the SARS-CoV-2 Genome Suggesting Sophisticated Laboratory Modification Rather Than Natural Evolution and Delineation of Its Probable Synthetic Route" this report promised to have some incriminating statements so obviously we were going to investigate it, and see how the published science stacked against their claims.


  • What is genetic mosaicism?

    14/09/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    In this post we will discuss what might seem like an obscure topic but is a very real-life issue: being composed of more than one genome. Or in other words, situations where an individual carries two different types of genetic information in the cells of their body. This is especially significant for those who are interested in prenatal DNA testing.


  • Hearing loss DNA testing

    08/08/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    In this post we wanted to recount the story of a family with children that presented with hearing loss with no prior family history. It turned out to be very unique account of unsuspected genetics - a paradigm that will continue to happen with greater frequency as more people chose to analyze their DNA. This story demonstrates the potential power of proactive screening of one’s genetic state, and even hints at when it might become a necessity with regards to planning a family.


  • Human genome project twenty years later

    26/06/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    On this day (June 26th) in 2000, the completion of a working draft of the human genome reference was announced by President Bill Clinton. Today you can sequence your entire genome in mere hours but the very first human genome sequence that was decoded was an enormous undertaking of thousands of scientists from around the world in a project spanning more than a decade and at an estimated cost of $3 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money! And like any good story, there always has to be some controversy.


  • Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

    25/04/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    We naturally build antibodies against infectious agents that we come into contact with. Thus if someone gets infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus then they will produce antibodies against it. But now imagine, it would be pretty handy if you could have access to such antibodies without the need of infection. So how do we get our hands on such antibodies that we could use for treatment?


  • Options for prevention of COVID-19, options for treatment of COVID-19. What does research find?

    07/04/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    Perhaps this article is massively overdue. It is in fact a continuation of what we touched upon in our very first foray into studying the structure of SARS-CoV-2, when we mentioned one study which looked into potential compounds that could inhibit viral infection. The need for this story has since massively expanded, so in this post we will take you so deep that we peer into atomic structures and traverse the landscapes of biological molecules and list some our favourite chemicals that we found that might have protective capabilities against COVID-19!


  • COVID-19 coronavirus and ethnicity differences

    20/03/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    One of the more compelling questions that has been asked around with regards to the Wuhan coronavirus is whether it infects different ethnic groups to a different extent. One paper was published recently that attempted to answer that question, and showed that indeed there could be racial differences for coronavirus infection based on what type of genetic mutations different populations might have. So let’s break it down.


  • Wuhan corona virus uniqueness – what does science say?

    09/03/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    The origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has not been conclusively demonstrated. Meaning we do not know how it started to infect humans. There has been a tremendous amount of confusion and rumours with regards to whether this virus was human engineered rather than originating from nature. So let’s pose the nasty question: could the virus be synthesized by humans? To answer this we will dive deep into current scientific understanding of the architecture of this virus, and find out what makes SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus unique enough to have stirred so many controversies so quickly.


  • Genetics of love

    09/02/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    Could love be genetically driven? There seem to be strong arguments that say yes. The components of adult romantic love are actually similar to the intense love between parents and infants. It has been proposed that the already existing design used for offspring caring might have been evolutionarily adopted for use between the mates. There is support for the notion that romantic love and parental offspring bonding share a biological signature, including genetic footprint underpinning it.


  • Most gossiped about genetic news of 2019

    12/01/2020
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    It is that time of the year again where we continue our tradition of looking at some of the most frequently shared articles on social media relating to DNA and genetics. These vignettes are in stark contrast to the typical information shared on the Merogenomics blog which is carefully vetted for scientific accuracy - but just as entertaining to read. Also unlike the typical content of the Merogenomics blog, the content produced for social media’s viral output can at times be absolutely outrageous!


  • Alberta Health Services genetic testing 2019 overview

    06/11/2019
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    The world of genetics and genomics is vast both in private access to medical genetics as well as public. But how vast is it here in Alberta? We catalogued all of the different tests available in the Alberta Health Care Genetics and Genomics program.


  • Can anti-aging be programmed?

    11/04/2019
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    The maximum lifespan of a given species, along with its particular aging process, is believed to be rooted in genetics. With the introduction of technologies that allow for the decoding of entire human genomes, it is no surprise that anti-aging research is currently exploding. If aging is built-in into our DNA program, then without a doubt the most controversial approach to anti-aging would be to remove the program from our DNA. Is that even feasible?


  • Pregnancy screening options and the role of NIPT

    31/03/2019
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    The primary concern and screening available for women is that for chromosomal abnormalities. Until the recent introduction of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), the screening program consisted of testing for specific blood markers (whether protein molecules or smaller chemicals) and an ultrasound, in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. According to obstetrics guidelines, pregnant woman is supposed to be clearly told about her screening and testing options, and that includes traditional approaches, NIPT and even diagnostic invasive testing. Diagnostic invasive testing carry small but real risk of pregnancy loss. This is the primary reason why NIPT has gained so much in popularity because women don’t want to undergo diagnostic testing if they don’t have to, and place their pregnancy at risk. But because traditional screening is nowhere near as accurate as NIPT, with traditional screening, lots more women end up undergoing confirmatory diagnostic testing that they would not have to if they took the NIPT test in the first place.


  • Caregivers of patients with rare diseases

    28/02/2019
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    Being a rare disease caregiver is an intimate story of compassion, as almost all caregivers live in the same household as their care recipient, and this usually involves caring for an immediate relative. For most, it is a tale of familial love and enormous dedication, which is staggering in proportion to what a daily routine of a typical adult might be. Only 1% is dedicated to the care of non-family members. Caregivers are modern-day heroes, quietly going about their demanding lives, without fanfare, and unfortunately too often, without much support to ease their difficult duties. On this international Rare Disease Day we dedicate this post to the topic of those who take care of the people afflicted with such conditions.


  • Genetics of sexuality

    09/02/2019
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    Valentine’s Day is coming and that day has become synonymous with the celebration of romance, partnership, love… and potentially sex at the end of the romantic, seductive day. Of course, the reality often strikes far from the fantasy, but fulfilled sexuality is a normal expectation of a healthy lifestyle, and perhaps there is no other day throughout the year that we go to such lengths to please and seduce each other. So to celebrate this unique day, we want to delve into the genetics of sexuality!


  • Most gossiped about genetic news of 2018

    11/01/2019
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    For a third year in a row, we are recounting the most shared genetic stories on social media so this has become our tradition to start the year. It is a collection of stories where the only metric we look at is the number of shares on stories about anything related to DNA. These can range from totally absurd, to very fascinating pieces of content that we would otherwise never come across if it wasn’t for this yearly review. Here are the most shared DNA-related stories on social media in 2018!


  • DNA quality consequence on your DNA test results

    06/12/2018
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    So you want to sequence your genome, all of your DNA, and look deep into the hidden secrets of your biological code? Then you sure will want to get quality information! It is easy to get excited about the results, but the majority of people who purchase any type of commercial DNA sequencing test, and even many of those selling it, actually have a poor understanding of the complexity of the process and the meaning of the results. With the speed of new DNA sequencing tests coming onto the market (at least 10 medical DNA tests are released per day, and who knows how many non-medical tests), many of them, if not the majority of the available tests on the market, will be providing DNA results that do not have any scientific validation, and hence no actual utility apart from having a bit of fun. However, while you are having some fun, you have to remember that you are disclosing access to your most private and precious biological information, your DNA. Instead, DNA information should be closely guarded by families, and retained for serious medical needs.


  • Human versus gorilla DNA – size does matter!

    30/09/2018
    Posted by:

    Dr.M.Raszek


    There are two types of technologies used to sequence genomes, any genomes. The most common one takes the genome that is cut up into millions of short fragments, and it is these short bits of your genome that are all being decoded by the instrument all at the same time. Computers then put all of these fragments back together to assemble your genome by comparing with an existing reference of what a human genome looks like. Basically imagine if you shredded a book in one of those office shredding machines, and afterwards you had to put it back together. Except that for a human genome, you wouldn’t be shredding one book, you would be shredding a whole bunch of bookshelves worth of books, and then putting it back together. On the other side of the spectrum is a long read DNA sequencing technology. As its name implies, it is a technology that can decode long stretches of DNA at a time. In this case the equivalent would be to try to put the book together with entire pages intact, as opposed to everything being shredded.


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