A stem cell is a cell with the unique ability to develop into specialised cell types in the body. In the future they may be used to replace cells and tissues that have been damaged or lost due to disease.
Selective breeding involves selecting parents that have characteristics of interest in the hope that their offspring inherit those desirable characteristics.
Genome editing is a way of making specific changes to the DNA of a cell or organism. An enzyme cuts the DNA at a specific sequence, and when this is repaired by the cell a change or ‘edit’ is made to the sequence.
GMOs are organisms that have had their characteristics changed through the modification of their DNA.
CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome editing tool that is creating a buzz in the science world. It is faster, cheaper and more accurate than previous techniques of editing DNA and has a wide range of potential applications.
DNA fingerprinting is a method used to identify an individual from a sample of DNA by looking at unique patterns in their DNA.
Genome mapping is used to identify and record the location of genes and the distances between genes on a chromosome. Genome mapping provided a critical starting point for the Human Genome Project.
Electrophoresis is a technique commonly used in the lab to separate charged molecules, like DNA, according to size.
Helminths are worm-like parasites that survive by feeding on a living host to gain nourishment and protection, sometimes resulting in illness of the host. There are a variety of different helminths from the very large to the microscopic.
PCR is a technique used in the lab to make millions of copies of a particular section of DNA. It was first developed in the 1980s.
A genome is an organism’s complete set of genetic instructions. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build that organism and allow it to grow and develop.
DNA sequencing produces huge amounts of data essentially comprising of lots of short sections of DNA letters. The first step is to check that the sequence is of the highest quality before we start to piece the sections together.
After a genome has been sequenced, assembled and annotated it needs to be shared in a format that is easily and freely accessible to all. This can be done via a database called a genome browser.
In biology, evolution is the change in the characteristics of a species over several generations and relies on the process of natural selection.
We’ve sequenced the genome, put it back together and identified the genes, but now we need to find out what this genome can tell us and how it compares to other genomes.
After the sections of DNA sequence have been assembled into a complete genome sequence we need to identify where the genes and key features are, but how do we do this?
After DNA sequencing is complete, the fragments of DNA that come out of the machine are all jumbled up. Like a jigsaw puzzle we need to take the pieces of the genome and put them back together.
Cells are the basic building blocks of living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells, all with their own specialised function.
Schistosomiasis is a tropical disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is transmitted through contact with fresh water contaminated with the parasite’s larvae.
African trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease transmitted by the tsetse fly. It gets its nickname ‘sleeping sickness’ because symptoms can include a disturbed sleep pattern.
Malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable disease if tackled early enough. However, there are growing problems with drug resistance that are posing a threat to the global fight against malaria.
DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is a long molecule that contains our unique genetic code. Like a recipe book it holds the instructions for making all the proteins in our bodies.
Spread by mosquitos, malaria is one of the most common infectious diseases and a global public health challenge.
A model organism is a species that has been widely studied, usually because it is easy to maintain and breed in a laboratory setting and has particular experimental advantages.
A timeline depicting the key events in the history of genomics and genetic research alongside those in popular culture. From the discovery of DNA, and the election of Roosevelt, right through to whole genome sequencing and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon for the first time.
Cells divide and reproduce in two ways, mitosis and meiosis. Mitosis results in two identical daughter cells, whereas meiosis results in four sex cells. Below we highlight the keys differences and similarities between the two types of cell division.
Mitosis is a process where a single cell divides into two identical daughter cells (cell division).
A chromosome disorder results from a change in the number or structure of chromosomes.
Inheritance is the process by which genetic information is passed on from parent to child. This is why members of the same family tend to have similar characteristics.
Meiosis is a process where a single cell divides twice to produce four cells containing half the original amount of genetic information. These cells are our sex cells – sperm in males, eggs in females.
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