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Hello, and happy Movember! Also, the Stay Home Because You’re Well Day (Nov 30) fits so well this year! We all got to stay at home a whole lot more this unusual year.
November is an awareness month of many important health issues, especially cancers, but we thought we would focus on other less known November associations that might bring a smile to your face. Thus, November is Family Stories Month and National Gratitude Month, and it also supports World Kindness Week plus, for those of you who are more business minded, the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
Genetics in history
November is very rich with historical facts related to molecular biology and focusing specifically on our favourite topic, it was only on November 22 2012 that the first direct image of DNA was ever demonstrated! The DNA image was captured by Dr. Enzo di Fabrizio using electron microscopy by stretching a DNA thread across nanoscale silicon pillars. Even then, this was not a single chain of a double helix DNA molecule, but at least seven DNA molecules so technically we are still waiting for the first image of a single DNA double helix.
Image adapted from Gentile F et al. 2012. Nano Lett 12(12):6453-8
For our series of women contributing to the world of genetics, we will mention someone who never knew of her significant contribution to science because her personal (molecular) data was essentially appropriated from her without consent. We are talking about Henrietta Lacks, a female African-American cancer patient whose cancer cells were collected without her permission, and used to establish the first immortal human cell line that turned out to be one of the most important and most researched cell lines in medical science. The cell line that was established (also without the patient's consent) is still used to this day, nearly 70 years later! Believe it or not, her family did not find out of this breach of protocol until 1975 and then only by chance. While at the time patient consent was not customarily sought, this particular incident has become so famous that it has brought greater awareness to the consent process and privacy protection. Nevertheless, that did not stop further abuse of the Lacks family privacy when the genome sequence of the HeLa cell line was published in 2013 with the family only informed after the fact. Today Henrietta Lacks is a well recognized and honoured figure in the sciences and the cancer cell line established from her biopsy continuous to be used for scientific advances.
Short educational video
This month's first short video is about the two basic categories of DNA mutations that that can be probed for with DNA tests: 1) Germline or the genetic mutations that we have inherited from our parents and are born with, 2) Somatic, or those that arise during our lifetime. Watch the video to find out when DNA testing takes place for either type.
The second video is a trailer of the 2017 HBO movie "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" starring Oprah Winfrey.
The latest publications
Our first featured article is a review of the much anticipated second report from a defected Chinese scientist proclaiming to provide the evidence behind the synthetic origins of SARS-CoV-2 virus. This particular piece focuses on the accusation of academic fraud committed specifically to hide the true origin of the virus by publishing a series of fake animal viruses related to SARS-CoV-2. What do we think of these allegations? Read on to find out.
Our second featured article is a quick summary of the top themes emerging from the 2020 largest conference on human genomics. Read on to find out which aspects of future medicines are already present today!
What would you like to learn about the topic of DNA? We love the questions that keep coming in and your suggestions are valuable input for our upcoming content, so keep them rolling in!
The latest news
At the end of October, Merogenomics attended the largest conference dedicated to human genomics which was put on by the American Society of Human Genetics. We expect the Merogenomics blog to continue to be enriched by the content stemming from this amazing event. We were especially drawn to the genetics related to pregnancy and newborns, cancer, and autism. Stay tuned for some amazing articles!
Merogenomics is proud to announce the signing of another medical clinic that will be distributing medical DNA tests provided through Merogenomics! You now have the option of using Summerwood Medical Centre, located in Sherwood Park, to obtain your important private clinical DNA tests with medical oversight. Click on the clinic logo below to see the types of DNA tests that can be procured at their clinic. These include state-of-the-art gene panels for hereditary cancer predisposition, and cardiovascular conditions as well as neurodevelopmental conditions such as epilepsies or autism. Contact us for further details.
At the start of November, Merogenomics also had an online presentation of the full genome sequencing and pharmacogenetic testing we provide for a few doctors and one student. We hope to generate some video content from the presentation soon! More can be found about online presentations right below. Merogenomics is also looking for partners willing to help market the events to like-minded groups. Contact us for details of the benefits provided to our partners.
Merogenomics is offering online educational seminars for 4 different DNA testing target groups: DNA testing for healthy screening, DNA testing for undiagnosed conditions, DNA testing in cancer and DNA testing during pregnancy. Each target group has one Thursday a month dedicated to it. Merogenomics wants to offer rapid access to a solid background education for those who want to investigate DNA testing beforehand. If you are planning to purchase DNA testing, Merogenomics encourages you to attend our educational seminars as Merogenomics promotes a thorough background education prior to any purchase of a DNA test.
Please click on the DNA target groups image below to proceed to an Eventbrite landing page.
How you can help educate others with this information
Happy genomes and stay tuned for future exciting research and innovations!