Researchers make breakthrough on genetic mutations   October 2002 - ABC
A team of Israeli scientists have discovered a cell repair 
system that guards against genetic mutations and disease. 

Scientists Zero in on Gene for ADHD  October 2002 - Reuters
Icelandic Genes Offer Wealth of Disease Clues  October 2002 - Reuters

Safer gene therapy technique revealed  October 2002 - New Scientist

Ancient DNA defence 'still at work'  October 2002 BBC
A complex DNA protection system that evolved
hundreds of millions of years ago so that the first
primitive organisms could protect themselves is still at
work today, according to American researchers. 

Safer gene therapy technique revealed  New Scientist - October 2002
Gene therapy replaces defective genes with healthy versions within 
the chromosome of patients' cells, where that they can be replicated 
for a lifetime. Current methods of insertion use various viruses to 
ferry the genes, but the viruses insert them at random locations.

Malaria: The secrets within the mosquito and parasite genomes   

Scientists discover gene that fights breast cancer   ABC News - October 2002

Gene Tied to Deadly Prostate Cancer  ABC News -  October 2002

Molecular "spark of life" discovered   July 2002 - New Scientist
  The molecule that triggers the fertilization of a 
  mammalian egg and prompts it to begin growing 
  and dividing has been discovered. The identification 
  of this "spark of life" is significant for work on infertility 
  treatments, male contraceptives and cloning.

Single Gene Makes Mice Big-Brained, Study Finds   July 2002 - Yahoo

Gene Helps Determine Anxiety, Study Finds  July 2002 - Yahoo

The 'Lost Tribe' of Appalachia  June 2002 -
The genetics of the rare diseases common to a mysterious 
sub-population in Appalachia called the Melungeons
Superbug  resistance genes found  June 2002 - New Scientist 
   The key to antibiotic resistance in one of the world's 
   most virulent "superbugs" has been found in a cluster 
   of genes located in one region of its genome. The discovery 
   should pave the way for the development of new, targeted drugs.

Common Gene Mutation Linked To Drug Addiction
Complete genome map 'in 2003'   April 2002 - BBC

Epilepsy 'master gene' found  BBC - March 2002

Scientists have deciphered the complete genetic instructions   BBC News - December 20, 2001

Huge Genetic Variation Found in Human Beings

July 12, 2001 - Reuters

The notion of a uniform genetic blueprint for human beings took a tumble on Thursday, as the most detailed examination yet of variations in the genetic makeup of people detected unexpectedly large individual differences.

Researchers with Genaissance Pharmaceuticals Inc. of New Haven, Connecticut, found astonishing variance at the genetic level in 82 unrelated people primarily from four racial backgrounds -- white, black, Asian and Hispanic.

In studying 313 genes -- out of the 30,000 identified by human genome scientists -- the Genaissance researchers found that for each gene, there actually are on average 14 versions that can be inherited by a given person from parents.

The researchers said their findings should cause scientists to rethink the definition of the human genome, or genetic map.

``We've looked at the largest number of individuals and diverse populations that's ever been done,'' said Gerald Vovis, Genaissance chief technology officer and senior vice president and an author of the study appearing in the journal Science.

``The most surprising finding that came out of here was the fact that we found an enormous amount of variation within these genes which had not been known before,'' Vovis said in an interview.

Vovis said the genetic differences may help explain why people respond differently to various medications. Whether a patient possesses a certain version of a given gene could determine whether a particular drug would be beneficial, do nothing or even harm the patient, the researchers said.

The hope is to be able to harness the knowledge of an individual's unique genetic makeup in order to tailor disease treatments to that specific person, Vovis added.

Vovis said he foresaw a day when patients would provide a blood sample to their doctor to allow for a genetic examination that could guide treatment decisions. He acknowledged some patients might fear this private genetic information could be misused or exploited.

``We have concerns about it,'' Vovis said. ``We are very well aware of the fact that in order for people to take benefit from this, they are going to have to feel that their genetic information is being treated in a confidential manner.''

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health, told Reuters the study adds ``considerable optimism'' to using a gene-variation strategy to find hereditary contributions to diseases.

``We have been talking a lot about how similar all of our genomes are, that we're 99.9 percent the same. That might tend to create an impression that it's a very static situation. But that 0.1 percent is still an awful lot of nucleotides (genetic building blocks),'' Collins added.

The scientists who in February unveiled the sequencing of the entire human genome -- a human being's complete allotment of genes -- said it took 30,000 genes to make a person.


Genaissance researcher J. Claiborne Stephens, lead author of the new study, said if that is accurate then ``the functional complement of the human genome is going to be a repertoire of something like 400,000 to 500,000 gene versions.''

The researchers studied the genetic makeup of 21 whites, 20 blacks, 20 people of Asian descent, 18 Latinos and three American Indians. The groups proved to have a certain degree of genetic idiosyncrasies, likely because their ancestors had a common history in a geographical region over thousands of years, whether in Africa, Asia, Europe or the Americas.

The two groups that shared the highest number of rare genetic variants with one another were the blacks and Latinos. The Asians shared comparatively little with the other groups.

``What we didn't see was any variation that really defined what might be considered to be an ethnic group,'' Vovis said. ''What we did see, however, was that different versions of a gene may be present at higher frequencies in one group of a geographical origin over another.''

Vovis said Genaissance has conducted a clinical trial showing how genetic differences between people affect the effectiveness of a certain drug used to treat asthma, and launched another trial in April involving medication used to control high blood cholesterol levels.