Research aims to reduce use of chemical pesticides

Which creepy-crawlies can be harnessed to act as the most effective natural method of pest control?

Research aims to reduce use of chemical pesticidesFields used to grow food are naturally crawling with insects – but which ones can help crops just by being there? A University of Alberta research program aims to find out. Using next-generation DNA analysis, researcher Boyd Mori of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences is looking to see which creepy-crawlies can be harnessed to act as…

Program launched to diagnose genetic diseases in children

Children are disproportionately affected as genetic diseases typically manifest during childhood

Program launched to diagnose genetic diseases in childrenA new pilot program aims to find answers and better treatments for children living with rare genetic conditions. The Undiagnosed Disease Program, launched in January, is a collaboration between the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI) and University of Alberta researchers from medical genetics and pediatric neurology to provide a diagnosis to patients in the…

Landmark research could lead to better understanding of diseases

Answer to a fundamental question that has eluded scientists since the discovery of DNA

Landmark research could lead to better understanding of diseasesUniversity of Alberta researchers have found an answer to a fundamental question in genomic biology that has eluded scientists since the discovery of DNA: Within the nucleus of our cells, is the complex package of DNA and proteins called chromatin a solid or a liquid? In a study published in the journal Cell, the research team, led…

Our close bond with dogs has a long history, study shows

Dogs were certainly useful but 'people clearly had emotional attachments to their dogs from the very beginning’

Our close bond with dogs has a long history, study showsThe close bond between humans and dogs stretches back into the last ice age, according to new international research involving a University of Alberta archeologist. Genetic analysis of the remains of 27 ancient dogs shows that at least five major ancestry lineages had diversified by 11,000 years ago, “demonstrating a deep genetic history of dogs…

Don’t squish that spider!

We may be genetically programmed to fear spiders, but they're here for a reason. Leave them alone to eat other insects

Don’t squish that spider!“The itsy-bitsy spider climbed up the water spout. …” So many people are afraid of spiders, but I’ll bet almost none of them can tell you why. According to a new study out of Columbia University, it may be genetic. Our ancestors had to fear spiders – in Africa, where our roots all take us,…

Gene therapy appraisals may limit new drugs in Canada

Canada's separate environmental protection oversight unnecessarily delays development and approval

Gene therapy appraisals may limit new drugs in CanadaBy Nigel Rawson and Mackenzie Moir The Fraser Institute The federal government plans to move ahead with major revisions in regulations governing the tribunal that sets ceiling prices for new prescription drugs in Canada. Revisions include: replacing countries with relatively higher drug prices with lower price countries in the international price-comparison analysis'; enforcing hard thresholds…

Cool the hype around genetics and health care

We are a long way from identifying definitive biomarkers to illness and personalized gene therapies are likely generations away

Cool the hype around genetics and health careBy Nicole Letourneau and Suzanne Tough University of Calgary Genetics will save the day – that’s the message you see constantly in the media and even in academic literature. But it's a message that can distract us from providing quality care now. Newspapers herald breakthroughs in finding genetic biomarkers for autism. Magazines trumpet finding a…

Keeping young, ambitious and talented people in Alberta

There’s already a strong engineering, finance and transportation capability in the province. We need to build on that in the new economy

Keeping young, ambitious and talented people in AlbertaA new study related to abandoned coal mining in the United Kingdom and the movement of displaced workers offers insight for Albertans. Not many of us read the online peer reviewed academic journal Nature Human Behaviour. That’s why occasionally perusing the back pages of The Economist makes sense. The Oct. 26, 2019, Economist reviews an…

Genetics strongly influence our predisposition to mental illness

It is becoming increasingly clear that our genes influence everything from our personality traits to specific psychiatric disorders

Genetics strongly influence our predisposition to mental illnessNature has been pitted against nurture for centuries. People have always pondered the question of whether human behaviour is primarily dictated by genetic hard-wiring or by our experiences and environmental factors. The debate has lasted so long because we know comparatively little about the functioning of the human brain. As a result, disorders of the…

Donor-conceived people need to know their medical history

The first international Genetic Identity Day comes just as Health Canada seeks to prevent people from knowing their genetic identity

Donor-conceived people need to know their medical historyBy Juliet Guichon and Ian Mitchell University of Calgary and Barry Stevens People have a moral right know their medical, social and cultural history, and the identity of their genetic parents. And this right applies to those who have been adopted or conceived by egg and sperm that were either sold or given. This moral…