Baker’s yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae as it is also known, is among the best-studied experimental organisms.
Since the 1960s, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become increasingly important to scientific research. It has many characteristics that make it a valuable model for studying human genetics and disease.
While the fruit fly has a long history as a model organism, the nematode worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) has only been used as a model organism since the early 1960s.
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.
Much of our current knowledge about the mechanisms of early development in vertebrates comes from studies using the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) and Western clawed frog (Xenopus tropicalis).
The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is one of the most well understood of all the model organisms.
DNA sequencing is the process of determining the order of bases in a length of DNA. Its development has helped to dramatically advance our understanding of genetics.
There are lots of different mutations that can occur in our DNA.
Tuberculosis is a disease caused by a bacterium that mainly affects the lungs to cause a persistent and, occasionally bloody, cough.
The National DNA Database (NDNAD) holds the DNA profiles and samples from a select number of UK individuals.
Illumina sequencing has been used to sequence many genomes and has enabled the comparison of DNA sequences to improve understanding of health and disease.
In 2005, 454 Life Sciences launched the first next-generation DNA sequencer – a big leap forward in DNA sequencing technology.
The ‘Central Dogma’ is the process by which the instructions in DNA are converted into a functional product. It was first proposed in 1958 by Francis Crick, discoverer of the structure of DNA.
Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disorder in which red blood cells develop abnormally.
Shotgun sequencing involves randomly breaking up DNA sequences into lots of small pieces and then reassembling the sequence by looking for regions of overlap.
Selective breeding involves selecting parents that have characteristics of interest in the hope that their offspring inherit those desirable characteristics.
Schistosomiasis is a tropical disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is transmitted through contact with fresh water contaminated with the parasite’s larvae.
Salmonella are a group of bacteria that cause a wide spectrum of diseases. They are able to cause significant morbidity, and in some case, mortality, in both humans and animals.
Pharmacogenomics is the tailoring of drug treatments to people’s genetic makeup, a form of ‘personalised medicine’.
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.
Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy are two inherited muscle-wasting diseases caused by mutations in the same gene on the X chromosome.
Mitosis is a process where a single cell divides into two identical daughter cells (cell division).
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.
Spread by mosquitos, malaria is one of the most common infectious diseases and a global public health challenge.
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.
Huntington’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that usually develops in middle to late adult life.
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and, if left untreated, causes AIDS.
Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer is a rare condition, but it is the commonest inherited syndrome that predisposes sufferers to early-onset colorectal cancer.
Hereditary haemochromatosis is also known as iron overload disease. It is an inherited disorder in which iron accumulates in the blood because too much is absorbed by the intestines.
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.
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