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January 1, 2019

Volume 37 Issue 1


Welcome to GenOmics!

We cover the latest Genomics news that matters most to Alberta, Canada and the World. The Genome Alberta newsletter for the Omics Generation

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In This Issue
Genomics Enterprise News Up arrow

May you live in interesting times was an apt way to describe 2018. Science seemed take a lot of heat from politics and pop culture, but managed once again to launch a pretty good counter offensive with headline-worthy discoveries and breakthroughs.

Our editing and writing elves are taking a bit of a holiday breather from the latest news, and instead offer this whirlwind tour of the year that was. Our next newsletter will light up your Inbox in mid-January with another edition of Genomics in Society.

All the best for 2019 from all of us at Genome Alberta!

Best DNA testing kits: Discover the secrets stored in your genes

The future arrived in 2018 because PC World has decided to review the best direct-to-consumer testing kits in the marketplace. There is an explainer on what DNA testing is and the criteria they used for the review. Their choices are broken down into multiple categories including Best bang-for-your-buck, Best DNA kit for genealogy, Best kit for privacy, and Best DNA kit. There is even an ‘at-a-glance’ summary much like the magazine does for tech equipment.

Top ten science stories of 2018 from New Zealand

Science Media Centre in New Zealand went for the biggest national and international science stories that made headlines down under.

WATCH: Top science stories of 2018

Gene therapy for blindness, bigger brains and bigger cancer risk, scientific fraud, quantum processor used in genetic study, and of course the CRISPR babies all find a spot in this 2 minute video from Technology Networks. You can also find more details on each story.

Top science stories of 2018 for the people

Science for the People is a long-format interview program heard on many radio stations in Canada and the U.S. and is available online. The program explores the connections between science, popular culture, history, and public policy now and into our future. This 60 minute podcast included writers from Science News to come up with the best stories of the year.

The biggest tech lies of 2018

Gizmodo is all about technology and the site knows how to dig into tech while having a little fun at the same time. What Facebook knew and when, size creates competition, and AI, all find a spot in Gizmodo’s pointed poke at some of the big tech developments of the last 12 months.

The top 10 of 2018 in obesity & health

Strange diets and misinformation has made for an interesting few years in the health information realm. ConscienHealth is a website focused on obesity and health. It took a look back at 2018 to see what stood out as making the grade or needing further investigation. The site also served up “The Biggest Whoppers of 2018 in Health and Obesity”.

Listen: The top ten quotes of 2018

Health News Review uses independent reviewers to look at health related articles and, much like a film or book reviewer, gives them an objective review. Stories which make a specific claim about the efficacy of drugs, medical tests, diet advice, supplements etc, are chosen for a review and reviewers use set criteria to analyze the content. Apart from the reviews, the site also has a regular podcast which provides greater insight into some of the issues facing healthcare today. In this 20 minute podcast, some of the more memorable moments around precision medicine, Alzheimer’s cures, and ‘science-ploitation’ are collected in a very listenable production.

Global highly cited researchers 2018 list reveals influential scientific researchers and their institutions

This is the 5th year for the citation list which has grown to include 4,058 researchers. U.S. researchers are represented the most often, followed by the UK, and mainland China. Canada comes in at a distant 7th but not bad in a list of 80 countries. The link offers a sortable list of the results.

Top 10 stories and book picks for 2018

Even when other stories had the better part of a year’s worth of momentum, November’s news about gene-edited babies managed to make it into second spot in Science News’ year-end list. Genetic genealogy to track down criminals, genetic tools to eradicate mosquitoes, and climate chage were also considered noteworthy. Each heading includes a link to a full story.

We’ll stick with Science News for one more list. This one covers the favorite science books of 2018 from the site’s writers and editors. They said it was a “banner year for science books”.

10 science stories in 2018 that made us go, “Whoa, that’s awesome”

Trust Vox to come up with a unique headline to cover fat bears, a new standard for the kilogram, and the power of trees. Vox is an interesting online site with a range of stories that appeals to an eclectic audience. They also have a decent stable of writers to get the job done. Check out their year-end offering and then check back in the New Year for more from the folks at Vox.

Top 25 biotech companies of 2018

There is some truth to the expression “follow the money” so why not look at some of the companies leading the biotech pack in the past year to get some idea of where the sector is headed. Genetic Engineering and Biotech News ranked companies by their market capitalization as of October 30, 2018. The story has a lot of pop-up ads – another case of following the money….

These are the eight trends that will shape the world in 2019

Lists to cap off the year that just flew by also need the support of crystal ball gazers. Wired magazine turned to some of the top science and technology talent to see what lies ahead. No flying cars or floating cities are on the horizon – but we can look forward to enhancing our senses, monetizing motherhood, and top notch fake videos.

Forbes magazine also looked over the horizon with its look into "A Crystal Ball: Some Healthcare Predictions For 2019."

What we learned in 2018: Science, health, and medicine

The New York Times has a feature which summarizes new highlights throughout the year whether it is the NFL, history or politics. The end of the year versions are always worth reading. When the editors opened up their story files in science they chose gene editing, ants and our genetic legacy to name a few. The medical files coughed up conflicts of interest, flu shots, and hemophilia, while the climate change files had almost too much information to choose from. Each section has additional links to the featured content so you can drill down as much as you need to. Just try not to run out of your NYT free stories!

The top 10 research stories of 2018

Cancer, MS, climate change, and subatomic particles make the list from the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary showcased breakthroughs in asthma treatment, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, and sepsis. University of Manitoba led with targeting brain tumour cells and also featured the work of Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg who was inducted into Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2018.

The top 10 APAC food science and research stories of 2018 under the microscope

Round up of the most-read stories related to food science and research from the year gone by. This list was compiled by Food Navigator which is a website covering food & beverage development & technology in the Asia-Pacific region. If your research interests need some market context, this is a quick tour of important trends.

And if you are wondering what food trends lie ahead, this Washington Post story reminds you that there is a “little science to predicting food trends — but there’s a lot of guesswork, too”.

From spectacular orchids to towering trees – 2018's top new plant discoveries

The good news is that more than 100 new plant species were found but The Guardian story comes with a warning that extinction may be near for many new discoveries. In addition to the new plants, 44 new fungi are making it into the databases. There is even a new species of allspice! At the other end of the size scale is a new rainforest tree which will tower over the allspice by 24 metres. BBC also covered the new finding with its "The secret life of plants: Ten new species found this year".

Looking back on 2018: Our 10 most popular interviews

Labiotech is an online site covering the European Biotechnology Industry. Some of the site’s content is presented in the form of a Q & A with experts in the field. This roundup includes industry leaders specializing in CAR-T cell and gene therapies, anti-Alzheimer’s disease drugs, more effective pain relievers, and biomaterials from spider silk.

New Blog Post

We have added a new post to the Genome Alberta blog pages. Visit us at www.genomealberta.ca/blogs
Our latest blog: "Genomics 2018: A year on our blogs - Genome Alberta"

Trending Stories Up arrow

Stay tuned for our next newsletter for the latest in trending stories. In the mean time, follow us on Twitter to keep current with buzzing science conversations.

And as always, feel free to submit your ideas!

Alberta Epigenetics Network News Up arrow

Stay tuned for our February newsletter for all things Epigenetics, or visit us at epigeneticsnetwork.ca

Genomics in Society Up arrow

To get your latest full version of Genomics in Society news, visit genomealberta.ca/newsletters

Our next newsletter will come your way mid-January.

Events Up arrow

Genome Alberta has an extensive Events Calendar on our website. Visit GenomeAlberta.ca to see all the events, and sign up for our newsletters while you're there!

International Plant & Animal Genome XXVII

PAG brings together over 3,000 leading genetic scientists and researchers in plant and animal research, and over 130 exhibits, 150 workshops, 1100 posters and over 1800 abstracts. And better yet it happens in warm and sunny San Diego!

Canada’s Genomics Enterprise will be there and we hope to see there.

When: January 12th – 16th
Where: Town and Country Hotel, San Diego

More details available at the conference website.

Researching Wellness - Take Two Speaker Series

The Take Two Speaker Series is the embodiment of what researchers, creators and scholars do at the University of Lethbridge. In launching this series, faculty across all disciplines are celebrated for the ways they approach key issues at local, national and global levels.

In this session:

Jennifer Copeland - Kinesiology & Physical Education
It is now well-accepted that “exercise is medicine”; habitual physical activity is associated with lowered risk of myriad chronic conditions and greater longevity. My own research moves beyond morbidity and mortality and takes a broader view of health and wellness across the lifespan. In this talk, I will give an overview of the evidence that our movement behaviour also influences non-disease health outcomes that are particularly important to older adults, such as functional capacity, mobility, cognitive function, and quality of life.

Roy Golsteyn - Biological Sciences
The wildflowers of Alberta have a positive effect upon wellness because they are a sure sign of the return of summer after a long winter. The flowers may hold even more potential for wellness since they contain chemicals that hold great potential as future medicines. The Prairie to Pharmacy Program at the University of Lethbridge is investigating the science behind our wildflowers. The flowers also act as the place where scientific and Indigenous knowledge can be shared.

This is a free event.

When: February 7, 2019, 3:00-5:00pm
Where: University of Lethbridge, room AH100

Visit the event page for more information.

2019 AAAS Annual Meeting

Science transcending boundaries: The 2019 AAAS annual meeting theme explores ways science is bringing together people, ideas, and solutions from across real and artificial borders, disciplines, sectors, ideologies, and traditions.

WHEN: February 11-14, 2019
WHERE: Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC

For registration and information, visit the AAAS Annual Meeting website.

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