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.
Schistosomiasis is a tropical disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is transmitted through contact with fresh water contaminated with the parasite’s larvae.
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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Baker’s yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae as it is also known, is among the best-studied experimental organisms.
Genes are small sections of DNA within the genome that code for proteins. They contain the instructions for our individual characteristics – like eye and hair colour.
Gene therapy is when DNA is introduced into a patient to treat a genetic disease. The new DNA usually contains a functioning gene to correct the effects of a disease-causing mutation.
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.
In biology, evolution is the change in the characteristics of a species over several generations and relies on the process of natural selection.
Genetic engineering refers to the direct manipulation of DNA to alter an organism’s characteristics (phenotype) in a particular way.
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.
Humans and mice share many common genetic features and by examining the physiology, anatomy and metabolism of a mouse, scientists can gain a valuable insight into how humans function.
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.
Mitosis is a process where a single cell divides into two identical daughter cells (cell division).
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.
Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disorder in which red blood cells develop abnormally.
Cells are the basic building blocks of living things. The human body is composed of trillions of cells, all with their own specialised function.
A chromosome disorder results from a change in the number or structure of chromosomes.
Cystic fibrosis is a relatively common genetic condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick, sticky mucus.
Different versions of a gene are called alleles. Alleles are described as either dominant or recessive depending on their associated traits.
Electrophoresis is a technique commonly used in the lab to separate charged molecules, like DNA, according to size.
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.
DNA fingerprinting is a method used to identify an individual from a sample of DNA by looking at unique patterns in 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.
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