Tag : research

Written on Apr, 11, 2018 by in ,

In the modern fast-paced worlds of research and medicine, disease models that take us closer to the real-life situation are highly desirable. While we can’t discredit the power of in vitro cell culture methods to provide important clues about biological processes, mechanisms of disease, and response to drugs, the availability of life-like tissue systems such as organoids provides obvious opportunities to study these aspects of human biology in a much more realistic manner. (more…)

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Written on Feb, 20, 2018 by in , ,

Genetic variability can be defined as the genetic differences that exist within or between populations of individuals, and explains the remarkable differences between humans, despite the fact that we share 99.5 % of our DNA with each other.

Genetic variability includes differences in both the coding and non-coding regions of our DNA and is brought about by variants. Simply put, variants are genotype alterations (e.g., mutations) that may or may not result in observable changes (e.g., a novel trait, disease). For any given gene or allele present in a population, a number of variants exist. Variants may be benign e.g., those governing hair and eye color, or pathogenic e.g., the variants associated with some types of cystic fibrosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and hereditary cardiomyopathy, to name a few.  

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Written on May, 17, 2017 by in ,

“Hello and welcome to our biobank! How can I help you today?”

“I’d like 20 aliquots of blood from Caucasian males aged 30-40 years old who were exposed to asbestos.”

“Coming right up! Would you like a list of blood types with that?”

Human biobanks are like libraries but instead of humanity’s collection of literature, they contain samples from humanity itself. Like something out of a sci-fi movie, you can now go online and order any number of biospecimens including blood, plasma, saliva, marrow, urine, amniotic fluid, purified DNA, stem cells and cerebrospinal fluid.  Each sample is maintained and screened for common and particular features and contaminants. All samples are acquired after informed consent has been obtained from donors according to the Declaration of Helsinki (the cornerstone document on human research ethics).

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