Genomics Blog

October 5, 2014 6:15 AM
Letting the genie out of the bottle: 23andMe expands to Canada
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Guest post from Olivia Lee, law student turned medical student at the University of Ottawa, and former policy intern with Genome Canada.

On Wednesday October 1st, 23andMe, American pioneer in direct-to-consumer genetic testing services, announced that it now offers exclusive health and ancestry services to the Canadian market through The announcement comes a year after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to the company, instructing it to cease providing unreliable health information that could potentially lead consumers to misinformed decisions regarding their health.  Effectively forced to limit its services to genealogical information, the company has set sights north of the boarder to Canadian consumers, 20 000 of whom have already sought 23andMe’s genomic based “health reports.”  Its expansion into a market without genetic discrimination laws nor specific direct to consumer genetic testing regulations seems to be a promising solution for a company looking to overcome regulatory setbacks. 

October 30, 2014 7:39 AM
Personalized Medicine: Genomics Helps BC Pharmacists Target the Right Drugs for the Right Patient
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Media Release, October 28, 2014. A new research project that aims to make personalized medicine a reality for patients is launching in a number of community pharmacies across British Columbia.

The “Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy” project is the first of its kind in North America. The project is funded by Genome BC and the BC Pharmacy Association (BCPhA), with the research component led by a team at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UBC). It will position the pharmacist as the health care provider through which patient genetic information can be acquired, assessed, and used to guide drug therapy decisions.

October 28, 2014 8:34 AM
Seeking Science in Turkey – Part 2
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One of the things I like about travel is that not only do I learn about the new place, I also think of familiar places at home that may be similar. Last year I saw the similarities between the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia and Big Hill Springs Provincial Park near Cochrane Alberta.

When I was seeking science in Turkey, I came across several instances where I looked at the geology and thought of places I have visited at home in Alberta.

Cappadocia is a region of Turkey that attracts visitors for a wide variety of reasons. It is of significant cultural and historic interest. It is also an area for active adventures such as hiking, mountain biking, and early-morning balloon rides over a geologically interesting topography fine-tuned by erosion. I remarked to my travelling companions that I thought it was like our Drumheller on steroids.

Was it? Here’s what I know:
October 22, 2014 10:21 AM
Spooky Science Ready to Spark Fun and Interest in the Sciences
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Media Release, October 22, 2014. This week’s Spooky Science activities are designed to give youngsters a taste of science wrapped up in a bunch of Halloween fun.

While he didn’t get the chance to attend such an event when he was a child, Luc Roberts, a doctoral student majoring in biochemistry, now has the chance to organize it through the Let’s Talk Science Outreach program at the University of Lethbridge. “I really enjoy Spooky Science night. Everything’s exciting to younger children; they really like science and nothing is impossible. They have all these ideas and it’s good if you can get them interested in science at a young age,” says Roberts. “I see a lot of students here who came to some of our other Let’s Talk Science events. It’s nice to think that some people are joining the sciences because of us.”

October 20, 2014 9:14 AM
Seeking Science in Turkey – Part 1
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William Rosen’s book Justinian’s Flea has proven to be most influential for me. A year ago.  I explained how this book inspired my holiday plans to visit Croatia. This year when the opportunity came to visit Istanbul, the epicentre of Rosen’s book, I couldn’t resist. In 542 AD, the bubonic plaque spread from Constantinople plunging the European world into chaos. Now I’m seeking science in one of history’s most strategic places. I’m visiting the treasures of Turkey.
October 15, 2014 3:32 PM
Government of Canada Announces New Research Projects to Bring Genomics Solutions to Industry Challenges
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Media Release, October 15, 2014. The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) and Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO of Genome Canada, are pleased to announce the first 12 projects selected for funding under Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP). The announcement was made at Wallenstein’s Feed & Supply Ltd., where the Minister toured the company’s animal feed production facilities.

GAPP projects partner academic researchers with “users” of genomics (e.g. industry, provincial governments, non-profits, or other organizations) to translate innovations that are expected to have considerable economic and social impacts within the near term.