Gene Genie #3: What’s in Our Genetic Future?

Bratz Genie Magic Fortune TellerGene Genie here at Genetics and Health today. Let’s look into my crystal ball and see what’s in our genetic future.

  • Dave Bridges at Biochemist in Exile discusses mutations in the PP1-GM that can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Perhaps an important target for future therapies.
  • Lisa Lee at DNA Direct Talk works at a company that is always looking to the future. She is running a series of interviews with genetic counselor Elizabeth Varga (no, not Elizabeth Vargas) about having an inherited blood clotting disorder, factor V Leiden. And don’t miss the treasure trove of information on Ashkenazi Jewish diseases, there are more than just Tay-Sachs.
  • Keith Robison at Omics! Omics! thinks back to the first time he heard about cancer and weaves it into a description of the cellular ecology of cancer. The future of cancer treatment will involve more than just understanding the tumors as isolated entities, but also the environment that surrounds them.
  • Bertalan Mesko of ScienceRoll introduces GeneForum and the Genetic Alliance, two organizations that are working to make sure that genetics isn’t as incomprehensible tomorrow as it is today.
  • Marie Godfrey of Gene Forum shares Eugene’s story. He noticed a family history of neurological illness and after creating a family history, Eugene confirmed that it’s been in his family for at least five generations. Marie also welcomes you to submit your own story. Look into your past to understand your future.
  • Laura Collins of Are you “Eating With Your Anorexic?” wants to see into the future to know what genes are involved in eating disorders. But she also realizes that to do so, people will need to become study participants and give blood (samples).
  • Kristina Chew of Autism Vox compares how the DSM diagnosis of autism has changed over time just as the definition of gene has changed as well. What will the future hold for autistic children and their families?
  • Mary Emma Allen of Alzheimer’s Notes wants to know if Alzheimer’s disease is genetic. The better question to ask the crystal ball is: What specific genetic factors that cause Alzheimer’s are inherited? And how many and in what combination with environmental factors lead to the disease?

And from me at Genetics and Health, I draw your attention to the NALP1 gene that has been associated with vitiligo, a skin condition that results in irregular pale patches of skin. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease in which the cells that make pigment in the skin, melanocytes, are destroyed. NALP1 appear to be involved in the first line of defense against viral and bacterial infection and could lead to autoimmune disease if the gene becomes overactive. Researchers predict that the NALP1 gene may be involved in other autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases such as type 1 diabetes, Addison’s disease, thyroid disease, and lupus.

Gene Genie thanks everyone for their contribution to genetic knowledge but she thinks she should buy a new crystal ball. It seems that the future of the genome revolution is full of hidden surprises. But one thing Gene Genie knows for sure – Larry Moran at Sandwalk will be hosting the next issue of Gene Genie on April 7, 2007. You can submit your post at

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