Did You Know?
Did you know that the word "genome" is a combination of the words
"gene" and "chromosome"?
Did you know that if the genome was a book, it would be the equivalent
of 800 dictionaries? It would take a person typing 60 words per minute, eight hours
a day, around 50 years to type the human genome. You would need 3 gigabytes of storage
space on a computer to hold all of this information, and yet, all of it is contained
inside the microscopic nucleus of a cell so tiny that it could easily fit on the
head of a pin! Source: Facts About DNA by Dr. Hsien-Hsein Lei, http://www.eyeondna.com/2007/08/20/100-facts-about-dna/
Did you know that the results of phase II of the "haplotype map"
of the human genome (HapMap) were published in the October 18, 2007 issue of Nature
magazine? Recent research suggests that the variations on human chromosomes are
organized into blocks of DNA, which come in a relatively small number of varieties
(called haplotypes) and, which are relatively large in size. The knowledge of such
a haplotype map would greatly facilitate the identification of genes causing common
genetic diseases by lowering the number of SNPs needed to study. The second generation
of the haplotype
map of the human genome contains three times more genetic markers than the
first version unveiled in 2005. In the prestigious magazine Nature, the Consortium
explains that the higher resolution of this second version offers a greater ability
to detect the genetic variations involved in certain illnesses; studies the structure
of human genetic variation and makes it possible to learn how certain environmental
factors influence the human genome. This research could result in new methods for
the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Did you know DNA barcodes use a small fragment of an organism’s
DNA – a portion of a single gene – to identify the species to which an organism
belongs? They are powerful tools, which can be used to help catalogue biodiversity.
DNA barcoding began in Canada, and Canadian scientists continue to lead international
work aimed at developing a complete catalogue of the Earth’s life forms. It may
one day be possible to scan an organism to discover its complete genetic makeup.
It has taken 250 years to catalogue some 15 per cent of the world’s biodiversity.
But with many species now under threat, the Canadian Barcode of Life Network seeks to develop comprehensive
DNA barcode libraries, in a much faster way, for all the world’s birds and fishes,
and then of other animals, fungi, plants and protists (these are often single-celled
Did you know that knock-out mice are model organisms in which specific
genes have been inactivated? As part of the North American Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis (NorCOMM) Project,
these model organisms make it possible to understand the role of genetic changes
in the development of human diseases. The International Knock-out Mouse Project
is a worldwide effort to generate knock-out mutations in every gene in the mouse
genome – and is widely considered to be the next most important step following the
Human Genome Project.
Did you know that hockey player Jason Blake, who has been diagnosed
with cancer, has a reasonable expectation of recovery due to the discovery of a
drug that came as a result of research by Genome Canada Project Leader Dr. Tony Pawson of the Simon Lunenfeld Research Institute?
Dr. Pawson discovered how stopping cell division can stifle cancer.
Did you know that Canadian scientist Dr. Scherer heads a team of
the country’s leading geneticists, developmental pediatricians and genome scientists
taking part in a 10-nation
project studying autism?
With funding from Genome Canada, the team is working on isolating genes that may
make someone susceptible to autism. Once those genes have been identified, physicians
will be able to diagnose the condition much earlier and treat it more effectively.
Did you know that genomics is being applied to agriculture in order
to produce crops that are bigger, better, more nutritious and more resistant to
Did you know that our genes are remarkably similar to those of
other life forms? For example, we share 98 per cent of our genes with chimpanzees
and 99 per cent with mice - a striking demonstration of the continuum of life. (Sources:
ScienceDaily Oct. 13, 2006 and CNN.com Dec. 4, 2002)
Did you know that our genes represent only 2 per cent of the DNA
in our chromosomes? The other 98 per cent is non-coded DNA. Scientists still don’t
know the purpose of this non-coding DNA. (Source: Your World, Biotechnology &
You (published by the U.S. Biotechnology Institute), Vol. 10, issue No. 2)
Did you know that the concepts of "genes" only dates back to the
19th century and an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel? Mendel used his garden for
a now famous series of breeding experiments with pea plants. He orchestrated various
matings, placing pollen from one pea plant on the female flower parts of another
to determine how different traits are inherited. (What is a Genome?, The Institute
for Genomic Research, 2001)
Did you know that April 2008 will mark the 55th anniversary
of Dr. James Watson's and Dr. Francis Crick's discovery of the double helix? In
March of 1953, after many years of attempting to understand and elucidate the DNA
structure they proposed the complementary double-helical configuration. Subsequently,
Dr. Watson, Dr. Crick and Dr. Maurice Wilkins received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for
"their discoveries of the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance
for information transfer in living material." (The Nobel Prize, www.nobel.se)
Did you know that Canada has played a major role in developing
treatments for diabetes? In 1921 Dr. Banting, along with fellow researchers, discovered
insulin the most widely used treatment for Type I diabetes. In May 2000 a team of
researchers from the University of Alberta announced they had successfully transplanted
human pancreatic cells into people living with Type I diabetes, called islet cell
transplantation. This type of treatment for people with diabetes can lead to independence
of insulin injections and no longer having to watch what they eat. Go Canada! (Canadian
Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.ca)
Did you know that a team led by Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui from the Hospital
for Sick Children in Toronto discovered the defective gene and molecular defect
responsible for cystic fibrosis in 1989? It is estimated that one in every 2,500
children born in Canada has cystic fibrosis. (Hospital for Sick Children, History
of the Research Institute – Discoveries and Achievements, www.sickkids.on.ca
& Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, www.cysticfibrosis.ca)
Did you know that Canadian scientists discovered a gene (AR) that
protects women against breast cancer? In 2001, a team of Quebec researchers, led
by Dr. François Rousseau of the Human and Molecular Genetic Research Department
(HMGRD), Hôpital Saint-François d'Assise Research Centre, Centre hospitalier universitaire
de Québec (CHUQ), made the major breakthrough identifying certain variants of this
gene which provide women with greater protection against breast cancer. (Canadian
Genetic Diseases Network, www.cgdn.ca)