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Hello, and happy National Women’s Equality Day!
The month of August also celebrates National Surgical Oncologist Day on August 22 and National Grief Awareness Day on August 30, but neither of those seemed like the best choice for a greeting. August was also the month when, in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was established by Congress from the generous bequest of James Smithson, a British scientist that strangely never had any ties to America – he never traveled there and never corresponded with anyone there. His motives remain shrouded in mystery.
The Smithsonian Institution has since grown to be a global leader in scientific data accumulation and education and that certainly includes DNA sequencing. Since 2013, the institute has been touring a famous exhibit dedicated to human genome sequencing called Unlocking the Life's Code that is still going strong to this day! Check out the website’s current tribute to women scientists. The institute is also involved in the Global Genomic Initiative. This is a project aiming to understand and preserve the earth’s biodiversity by compiling the DNA of every species on the globe - it does not get any bigger than this. The race is on as capturing this DNA information will allow, in theory, to preserve the existence of a species forever, even potentially reviving it if it has gone extinct.
You will recall that we discussed Charles Darwin in the July newsletter and August is also a historic moment in his biography. In 1831, a 22 year old Charles Darwin was invited on a scientific voyage of the HMS Beagle for a two year survey of South America that played a pivotal role in the formation of his scientific theories on evolution. It was Charles Darwin that first proposed the radical idea that apes and humans evolved from a common ancestor; a theory definitively proven with modern DNA sequencing.
Short educational video
This month's first short video is on the origin of humans as presented by the Smithsonian Institution.
The second video is dedicated to the topic of hereditary cancer, another theme in this month’s newsletter. It is yet another installment from a presentation made for the Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Society and is a must see for anyone who is dealing with cancer: patients, family members of patients, physicians or students. At nearly 15 minutes, it is Merogenomics' second longest video ever posted. This video picks up where the video of January’s Newsletter left off and discusses how frequently the hereditary DNA contributes to cancer development among cancer patients as well as what type of genes and mutations are involved with a special focus on structural mutations, or mutations that involve large segments of DNA (which are still largely understudied and underappreciated in clinical diagnostics). The video distills a lot of published science into easy to understand language.
The latest publications
This month we are continuing with some educational information based on the sequencing of the first, multi-generational family in Canada to have themselves screened for health predispositions using the full genome sequencing that we introduced in last month's newsletter. The first article goes into depth about the concept of carrier DNA status - where an individual has only one mutated gene out of the two copies inherited from parents - but demonstrates that this can lead to certain complications as well.
Our second featured article has also been influenced by the Edmonton family’s DNA sequencing and it is the first installment of a review of the 23andMe DNA tests for health and wellness outcomes. 23andMe is one of the most popular direct-to-consumer DNA tests available (meaning no doctor is required for a test order, unlike all of the DNA tests promoted by Merogenomics) and it is worth knowing what clients will be getting in return for their investment. The next installment, expected to be published at the end of August, will include a comparison between the 23andMe results and the full genome sequencing for one of the family members.
We are always looking for content that interests you, so if you have any specific questions, we'd love to hear from you! We could produce an article or a video related to any of the questions you might have.
The latest news
Remember that the catalog of tests offered through Merogenomics is now available online! For an easy overview of the type of tests for specific target groups, see the image below.
Tests we promote range from $399 USD to over $10,000 USD, depending on what’s required.
At the end of July, Dr. Mikolaj Raszek, along with other local doctors, was mentioned on CTV News in promotion of an upcoming presentation dedicated to topics on the quality of life. See below for the event details, while the link will take you to the CTV News segment. Let's not dwell on the pronunciation of Dr. Raszek's name in the clip! ;)
On September 26th, Dr. Mikolaj Raszek, Dr. Ganz Ferrance and Dr. Nicole Wilson will present on different topics related to whole-body holistic health. Dr. Raszek’s talk will be dedicated to what causes cancer and what can be done to prevent it including, if time permits, a review of the scientific research on spirituality and cancer survival. The event will take place at the Wingate By Wyndham Edmonton West hotel and will include snacks, coffee breaks, and live music at the end of the night with all of the proceeds going to the Creating Hope charity. Approximately 50 spots are available and discount tickets are currently still on sale for few more days. Hope to see you there!
How you can help educate others with this information
Happy genomes and stay tuned for future exciting research and innovations!
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