This week, the Pacific Biosciences SMRT Grant announced the lucky winner of the World's Most Interesting Genome competition. The contest was voted on by the public and a dingo named Sandy won the day. But was that the right decision? No, Sandy is kind of like a doggo and it's clear that voters let her cuteness win out over far more interesting genomes.
Tagged With genome
Remember those slightly horrifying sites that mash up two faces to tell you what your hypothetical babies might look like? With genome sequencing and "virtual embryos", we might actually be able to do that — using science. Those days are not quite here yet, but New Scientist has an intriguing report about a company called GenePeeks. We already screen for common genetic disorders by testing the DNA of prospective parents.
Somewhere 11,000 years ago, something weird happened to a dog. It got cancer — and the really damn freaky part is that the cancer could survive even outside of its canine host. That unknown dog is long dead now, but its tumour cells have improbably lived on, continuing to sprout on the genitalia of dogs all over the world.
If — like most of us — your entire understanding of DNA and genetics can be traced back to CSI reruns, you're probably under the impression that your genome is unique; that it defines you completely. But scientists increasingly believe that's not that case. In fact, we need to start thinking about our genomes differently.
There's a fascinating report over at SMH today by Steve Dow talking about Australian geneticist Richard Cotton, who wants to live in a world where each person carries around their genome sequence in their mobile phones. Then, when it comes time for users to think about getting the groove on to procreate, a simple bump of the smartphones will dictate whether or not your offspring could be negatively impacted by your combined faulty genes. Who said romance was dead?
We collect an astonishing amount of digital information. But as the Economist recently pointed out, we've long since surpassed our ability to store it all. Big data is here, and it's causing big problems.
In 2003, we mapped the human genome, the 20,000-ish genes we all share. It cost $US3 billion. Today, you can literally spit in a cup, place the saliva in the mail and get a peek at your own genome.