Charlie Gorichanaz
BBG Extra Credit
April 29, 2005
Genetics Shown As Aid To Hypertension Care;
Study Points Way To Better Diagnosis and Targeted Individual Treatment

Researchers from Montreal, Quebec, are thanking a new genetic database for better treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension). The researchers found that there are different types of hypertension, and they run in families. Within five years, individual blood tests for custom treatment will be available. Forty-six chromosomal areas have been identified to coincide with hypertension. The different genes that have been found to trigger hypertension are set off by environmental factors, such as stress, nutrition, or socio-economic factors. Once the blood tests are utilized, patients can be prescribed the correct medication the first time, saving the health care system at least half of the $1,500 currently spent on hypertension patients. (Canada) Since most people don’t know they have hypertension until after their first heart attack or stroke, the testing should help a great deal.
On The Trail Of Disease Genes

Dr. Francis S. Collins was a leading gene-hunter/researcher throughout the 80’s and 90’s. He is currently the head of the Human Genome Project, but continues to pursue gene hunting. His latest find was a genetic variation that explains some people’s higher likelihood to get diabetes.
Collins stressed that knowing the 3 billion letters of DNA does not do anything for us, but understanding the under ten-percent of useful information contained within. Therefore, extensive comparison between many people and researching specific genes will be extremely beneficial. This also helps find genes that play a roll in illness, and can be treated by various means through research.
Charlie Gorichanaz
72 Extra Credit Articles
April 1, 2004
Inflammatory Genes

This article summarizes a recent study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. The conclusion was that inflammatory genes may be why African Americans and/or other minorities might be at a higher risk of disease.
Many diseases seem to affect African Americans more so than Caucasians, such as heart disease, organ rejection, and AIDS. Part of the reason is a lack of adequate healthcare, but this cannot explain the vast difference between populations. The hidden cause: genetics. Some races may simply have genes that determine their likelihood of becoming infected with a certain disease, and genetics screening could be used to treat patients based on risk.
Genetic colonialism ; REGULATION; Good enough for U.S., good enough for Mexico?
For many years, Mexico has had a ban on genetically-modified corn, but a study finds that this ban i
impossible. For thousands of years, Mexican farmers have carefully managed crops – through saving previous year’s seeds, trading seeds with other farmers, and experimentation.
Since corn pollinates from hundreds of feet away from the source plant, genetically changed corn can spread to a neighbor’s crops easily.
The US has allowed corn in its borders that has been intentionally modified for better resistance to pests, but Mexico still does not allow such corn. Scientists there still need to weigh the effects.
Profiling at birth is rejected
A government commission to examine the pros and cons of genetic profiling at or before birth recently declared the issue should be re-examined in five years.
Pros: Medical advice tailored to your genetic makeup
Cons: Tests could reveal a baby will have a disorder that will result in death, or that severe mental incapacitation will occur. These sticky ethical issues might also serve as another way for insurance companies and employers to discriminate.
Charlie Gorichanaz
BBG Extra Credit
May 27, 2005
Pick His Ties

This article was interesting, especially because we had just covered sex-linked traits in class. Apparently, a gene that plays a role in color vision is found on the X chromosome, meaning women tend to have two… If a man’s gene is screwed up, he is screwed, because he only has one X chromosome. Women have a backup, so they are more likely to have better color vision. Perhaps this is why more women tend to be better with deciphering colors and patterns, especially when involving shades and hues that are very similar.
Perfecting the Human
This article was more of a general point-raiser than anything else. It discussed the future, more or less. The possibility for brain-to-brain communication was discussed, and is apparently being worked on using animals connected by wires to the brain. Also, sleep may become much less necessary, and studying and being intelligent could be very, very easy. People could live much longer, perhaps indefinitely. All of these and much more could soon be a reality thanks to nanotechnology and intense research, so the article says. A valid point was raised: throughout all of history, ou
technology has concentrated outward, on controlling our environment. The new direction seems to be concentrated inward, on perfecting ourselves. It will soon be possible for two men to have a baby, each giving half their genetic material. Women will be able to bear children into their 80’s by turning off their reproductive systems until later. Genetic, robotic, information and nano technologies will rule in the very near future. The article also discussed how DARPA funds much seemingly far-fetched research, and points out that DARPA funded many such projects in the past, which turned out to be world-shattering, such as: the Internet, the computer mouse, computer graphics, large scale integrated circuits, speech recognition and translation, and more. The significance of the soldier and defense research in technological advances was also discussed.
A Gene for Susceptibility to Tuberculosis
Researchers working with mice may have discovered the gene that plays a major role in TB. By comparing DNA of two species of mouse, the scientists isolated a region they dubbed the susceptibility to tuberculosis region. One of the mouse species die within 5 weeks of TB infection, while the other lives up to 8 months. Once the region was discovered, the hunt for individual genes began. They narrowed it down to a single gene: the intracellular pathogen resistance gene. It is linked to how macrophages die upon infection. The gene can either call for necrosis or apoptosis (tightly controlled cellular suicide).

Bending to Bar Codes; Is a One-Gene Method to Define Species Truly Effective?
Scientists in Canada, notably biologist Paul D. N. Hebert, recently suggested re-coding every living species by a sort of barcode – one based on their DNA. The scheme uses a fragment from the cytochrome c oxidase I gene, which is part of the mitochondrial gene. Public favor has helped the plan surface, but backlash in the scientific community could prove fatal to the $2-3 billion plan. Many researchers claim that the Hebert identification would have trouble distinguishing between close sister species, the very trouble that classic taxonomy faces. They warn that oversimplification could be a bad thing, especially with a 2% error rate, which Hebert claims is fine for animal identification. He and colleagues have demonstrated several proofs of concept, including quickly distinguishing between previously indiscernible species of butterfly.
Charlie Gorichanaz
BBG Extra Credit
May 20, 2005
Staying Safe in the Sun

This author of this article is a dermatologist and a swim coach. He pointed out that swimmers have a much greater risk of skin cancer than non-swimmers simply because of sun exposure. While people with blue eyes, light hair and fair skin types are more at risk, the main factor is sun exposure. Also, the author says that quitting swimming would be far worse than the risks of skin cancer, so you should do what you enjoy, but take steps to be as safe as possible:
1. Avoid the Sun: In the swimmer or runner’s case, exercise indoors when possible, or during the early-morning or evening/late-night hours.
2. Use Sunscreen: Self-explanatory
3. Use Protective Wear: For swimmers, wear suits with the most coverage. Also, wear a cap: foreheads, ears, and tops of heads are common locations for skin cancer
4. Stamp Out Free Radicals: UV radiation causes increased free radicals, so take antioxidants to reduce the effects of these. Common antioxidants are vitamins C, A and E.
5. Examine Your Skin: Know your skin, and note any changes. If something is different, talk to your doctor. Early diagnosis is the bes
6. protection against fatality from skin cancer.
7.
DNA’s Moody Temperament; Gene Variant Linked to Depression-Ready Brain
Researchers have discovered a key in the depression mystery: a particular gene that appears in a short and a long version. People with the short version tend to have little control over neural reactions to negative events. This gene creates the serotonin transporter protein, which plays a vital role in the brain’s emotional circuitry.
The short gene caused people to have high daily anxiety, which researchers found led to depression. They concluded that the long gene didn’t prevent depression directly, but it did help people deal with negative stimuli, which in effect lessened the tendency to become depressed.
Roughly half of the population carries at least one copy of the short gene. This has a evolutionary link as well. There was an advantage to having increased fear throughout history, but there was also a need for “optimistic and more-fearless” types.
Tracking Family History
This article was a basic guide to determining if you are more susceptible to certain conditions than other people. You should know the major medical history and dates of onset of disease for all of your close relatives, including parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and first cousins. The common-sense advice of the article was that any signs of disease or anything else in your family could mean you are more likely to get it – meaning you should take steps to prevent abnormality – namely, exercise, eat a proper diet, and quit smoking.
Though nothing is 100% curable, most diseases that may be genetic are not going to set in 100% of the time. With the exception of certain genetic diseases such as Huntington’s disease, knowing your family history can help you take positive steps, and perhaps prevent the outbreak of a disease or illness in your body.
Charlie Gorichanaz
BBG Extra Credit
April 29, 2005
Genetics Shown As Aid To Hypertension Care;
Study Points Way To Better Diagnosis and Targeted Individual Treatment

Researchers from Montreal, Quebec, are thanking a new genetic database for better treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension). The researchers found that there are different types of hypertension, and they run in families. Within five years, individual blood tests for custom treatment will be available. Forty-six chromosomal areas have been identified to coincide with hypertension. The different genes that have been found to trigger hypertension are set off by environmental factors, such as stress, nutrition, or socio-economic factors. Once the blood tests are utilized, patients can be prescribed the correct medication the first time, saving the health care system at least half of the $1,500 currently spent on hypertension patients. (Canada) Since most people don’t know they have hypertension until after their first heart attack or stroke, the testing should help a great deal.
On The Trail Of Disease Genes

Dr. Francis S. Collins was a leading gene-hunter/researcher throughout the 80’s and 90’s. He is currently the head of the Human Genome Project, but continues to pursue gene hunting. His latest find was a genetic variation that explains some people’s higher likelihood to get diabetes.
Collins stressed that knowing the 3 billion letters of DNA does not do anything for us, but understanding the under ten-percent of useful information contained within. Therefore, extensive comparison between many people and researching specific genes will be extremely beneficial. This also helps find genes that play a roll in illness, and can be treated by various means through research.
Charlie Gorichanaz
BBG Extra Credit
April 29, 2005
Biotech Company Bets on Cattle’s Future;
Beltsville’s MetaMorphix Hopes DNA Testing for Tenderness and Taste Will Catch On

Blood samples are taken from cattle at Cargill Inc.’s feedlots, and shipped to MetaMorphix Inc.’s lab for analysis. Cows that are deemed to have genetic traits to produce tender, delicious meet are fed a more expensive fattening diet for longer, while the other cows will get the regular cheap diet, and their meet will be used for meat pies, etc…
Several labs are working on this, so competition could be intense. The future could involve labeling of meat based on guaranteed tenderness and other qualities.
This method avoids all of the ethical problems of cloning and genetic hybridization, since the testing is only used to determine which cows will be the best producers of good meat. The tests could also be used to choose which cows should mate. The tests might run about $45. (36 million cattle are processed yearly in the U.S.
This technology is also being used for pigs. MetaMorphix even sells pig semen.
Charlie Gorichanaz
BBG Extra Credit
April 15, 2005
Security Breach a Recipe for Disaster;
Virologists Fear Next Pandemic May Come From Lab Blunder

Many people fear that world health officials are not doing enough to prevent the escape of a deadly flue virus, or other viruses. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control say that the outbreak of an epidemic is likely – which is why the WHO ordered immediate destruction of Asian Flu strain samples sent to thousands of labs in 18 countries. Fifty years ago, that same strain killed over 4 million people.
Recently, laboratory testing kits sent to over 3,600 labs in the US and Canada have caused a scare – a technician in Canada found bird flu, which swept Asia, outside the sample kit, meaning many could have been affected.
(In China I believe) Recently 17 security breaches involving deadly viruses took place, including an incident where an army medic accidentally stabbed herself with Ebola.
G
enetics Play Role in Nutrition
Nutritional genomics (nutrigenomics) is the study of how foods interact with genes, and the positive or negative effects concerning diseases. Some diseases being looked at affect minority populations disproportionately in the US – coronary disease, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
Nutrigenomics can explain those cases, as well as alcohol tolerance and tolerance for other foods such as onions and chili peppers.
A related field is nutritional anthropology, concerning the study of how the body adapts over generations to foods people depended on for a long period. Examples include developing a tolerance for lactose via genetic mutation in people who kept dairy herds 10,000 years ago. An extremely high percentage of non-Northern Europeans are lactose intolerant as adults. This also suggests that most Americans are probably better-tuned to a diet other than the typical American diet – and this will be especially true and important as the white majority becomes the minority (around 2050).
Soon researchers will develop more individualized food pyramids, etc, because the current materials assume that all Americans are the same.
Your Ancestry Might Surprise You;
Global DNA Study Aims to Trace Links of Distant People, Unravel Migration

Charlie Gorichanaz
BBG 2nd Hour
January 28, 2005
Enlisting Viruses To Battle Bacteria
As the effectiveness of antibiotics continues to decrease because of bacteria’s development, a long-abandoned idea is coming to light once again: using viruses to fight bacteria. This seems like a natural solution, since viruses and bacteria are natural enemies.
Scientists at the University of Maryland, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union are conducting research in the area, and feel that there is tremendous potential.
The viruses that destroy bacteria are called bacteriophages, or simply phages. They are abundant in soil, water, plants, sewage, etc., so if they can be utilized, the future of bacteria-fighting will be much brighter.
As technology gets better, scientists are better able to target the phages, and to achieve the desired resul
However, it is still very difficult to isolate the needed phages from the unneeded ones, so as not to destroy cells that should not be destroyed. It is also hard to identify certain phages, so there is more work to be done.
Within five years, some therapies may start to role out.