Genomics Blog

April 17, 2015 1:55 PM
Canada's Minister of Science and Technology welcomes you to DNA Day
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Francois Bernier & Jay IngramWe're pretty excited to see that our 5th DNA Day in Canada has come together to bring some of Canada's best genetics experts online so you can learn more about genetics and how your DNA makes you who you are.  We did a technical rehearsal last week to make sure our Google video Hangout was going to work in the Cybera video room and it looks great thanks to their help.
The Hangout will feature Dr. Francois Bernier, head of the Department of Medical Genetics at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, and Jay Ingram a well know Canadian science broadcaster and founder of Beakerhead. (pictured at right). Also joining us from Edmonton on the hangout will be Dr. Carolyn Fitzsimmons,  Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta's Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science. She specializes in livestock genetics, so paired with Dr. Bernier we'll have the bases covered.
April 24, 2015 3:00 PM
LISTEN: No Beetles Allowed
Don't transport firewood between campgrounds

The weather is warming up and many of you will soon be heading out to your favourite camping spot to relax and spend some time sitting around an open fire. That means stocking up on firewood either by purchasing it at the campground or finding a place where you can chop your own.
Before you start moving firewood around from place to place think of what may be hiding in the nooks and crannies of that wood. There could be tiny bugs just waiting for a free ride to a new home and a new supply of food.
University of Alberta Researcher Janice Cooke has this note of caution.
April 23, 2015 2:15 PM
That's a Wrap on another DNA Day in Canada
Tuesday, April 21st was our 5th DNA Day in Canada. We make an extra effort every April to raise awareness about DNA and the impact the science of genetics in having on our world. From giving a better understanding of diseases to how to make certain treatments more effective the science is changing the way medicine is practiced. We use genetic technology in developing new and better crops and it isn't always about genetic modification. Understanding genetics means we can select plant varieties or livestock traits far more efficiently. The study of genetics can take us so many places.
April 22, 2015 10:54 AM
The rude behaviour of the Mountain Pine Beetle
A couple of years ago Janice Cooke and her team were able to use genomics to prove that mountain pine beetles had developed an appetite for Jack pines. The beetles had previously preferred to dine out on the lodgepole pine but with the jump to a new species, the mountain pine beetle has a dinner buffet that goes clear across Canada's forests from the west to the east.

Janice and her TRIA team started out with funding from Genome Alberta and the Government of Alberta, and now has new funding from NSERC to expand the work and study the complete ecology of the epidemic.  They have been able to look at the how the beetle introduces a blue stain fungus into the tree and force it into defence mode. And they have also found why - the subsequent reaction of the tree is a source of nutrition for the beetle. As you'll hear in this podcast from freelance broadcaster Don Hill, that is a very poor and destructive way for beetles to treat Canada's pine trees.
April 21, 2015 3:39 PM
High school students participate in fourth annual Let’s DO Science Day
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Media Release, April 21, 2015. High school students from across southern Alberta will participate in a variety of science activities at the University of Lethbridge during Let’s DO Science Day on Thursday, April 30. Let’s DO Science Day will be filled with numerous fun, hands-on science activities to expose students to several different streams of science and encourage them to think about potential careers and futures in post-secondary education.

April 15, 2015 9:25 AM
Genetically engineered Salmonella promising as anti-cancer therapy
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Media Release, Washington, DC, April 14, 2015 -
A new study has demonstrated that genetically modified Salmonella can be used to kill cancer cells. The study is published in this week's issue of mBio, an American Society for Microbiology online-only, open access journal.

"There has long been interest in using genetically engineered microbes to target and destroy cells within solid tumors. I think this study goes a significant way in developing some strategies that will help in the overall means of using Salmonella as part of a cancer therapy," said Roy Curtiss, III, PhD, who was involved with the research. Dr. Curtiss is University Professor of Microbiology and Director, Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology and Center for Microbial Genetic Engineering, the Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University.