If you know anything about epidemiology, you know that the iconic Broad Street pump in the Soho district of London is the site of what is considered to have been the first modern, epidemiological study.
Ebola's a death sentence — or at least, that's the popular wisdom. And in the current West Africa outbreak, that's not far from the truth. The Ebola survival rate in Guinea might be somewhere around 30%.
On October 12, the Ebola crisis hit home in a new way, as the first case of person-to-person transmission of the virus was reported in Texas. A nurse who helped treat the Liberian man who died from the virus has tested positive for the disease, despite wearing a gown, gloves, mask, and other protective gear while in contact with the victim.
Ebola (EBOV), a single-stranded RNA filovirus, causes infections characterized by immune suppression and a systemic inflammatory response. This results in impairment of the vascular, coagulation, and immune systems, leading to multiorgan failure and shock (in some ways resembling septic shock).
But while overwhelming challenges in controlling and treating this disease remain, the availability of genomic and proteomic data accumulated and shared by researchers since the virus’ discovery in 1976 has already translated into invaluable knowledge about the deadly RNA virus, pinpointing potential targets for diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.
Background: The MinIONTM is a new, portable single-molecule sequencer developed by Oxford Nanopore Technologies.It measures four inches in length and is powered from the USB 3.0 port of a laptop computer.The MinIONTM measures the change in current...
The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute late Tuesday (September 30) released a new Ebola genome browser to assist global efforts to develop a vaccine and antiserum to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus.
The team led by University of California, Santa Cruz researcher Jim Kent worked around the clock for the past week, communicating with international partners to gather and present the most current data. The Ebola virus browser aligns five strains of Ebola with two strains of the related Marburg virus. Within these strains, Kent and other members of the UC Santa Cruz Genome Browser team have aligned 148 individual viral genomes, including 102 from the current West Africa outbreak.
UC Santa Cruz has established the UCSC Ebola Genome Portal, with links to the new Ebola genome browser as well as links to all the relevant scientific literature on the virus.
“Ebola has been one of my biggest fears ever since I learned about it in my first microbiology class in 1997," said Kent, who 14 years ago created the first working draft of the human genome. "We need a heroic worldwide effort to contain Ebola. Making an informatics resource like the genome browser for Ebola researchers is the least we could do.”
Scientists around the world can access the open-source browser to compare genetic changes in the virus genome and areas where it remains the same. The browser allows scientists and researchers from drug companies, other universities, and governments to study the virus and its genomic changes as they seek a solution to halt the epidemic.
by Hai Nguyen Thanh, Liangjie Zhao, Qigen Liu Giant freshwater prawn (GFP; Macrobrachium rosenbergii) is an exotic species that was introduced into China in 1976 and thereafter it became a major species in freshwater aquaculture.
Kevin Whaley, the CEO at Mapp Bio isn't much given to publicly discussing ZMapp, the remarkable new treatment for Ebola, at all. At a time when every public biotech company with a preclinical program for Ebola is clamoring for attention, Whaley has given precious few interviews. And when he has talked about ZMapp, he's been careful to say that the company doesn't know whether it works and has lots more work to do. If anything, the air of mystery has only heightened the lurid 24/7 cable news attention given to ZMapp, which could help revolutionize the way in which outbreaks are treated in years to come.
The mechanisms that underlie the origin of major prokaryotic groups are poorly understood. In principle, the origin of both species and higher taxa among prokaryotes should entail similar mechanisms[mdash]ecological interactions with the environment paired with natural genetic variation involving lineage-specific gene innovations and lineage-specific gene acquisitions. To investigate the origin of higher taxa in archaea, we have determined gene distributions and gene phylogenies for the 267,568 protein-coding genes of 134 sequenced archaeal genomes in the context of their homologues from 1,847 reference bacterial genomes. Archaeal-specific gene families define 13 traditionally recognized archaeal higher taxa in our sample. Here we report that the origins of these 13 groups unexpectedly correspond to 2,264 group-specific gene acquisitions from bacteria. Interdomain gene transfer is highly asymmetric, transfers from bacteria to archaea are more than fivefold more frequent than vice versa. Gene transfers identified at major evolutionary transitions among prokaryotes specifically implicate gene acquisitions for metabolic functions from bacteria as key innovations in the origin of higher archaeal taxa.
Many common diseases, such as asthma, diabetes or obesity, involve altered interactions between thousands of genes. High-throughput techniques (omics) allow identification of such genes and their products, but functional understanding is a formidable challenge. Network-based analyses of omics data have identified modules of disease-associated genes that have been used to obtain both a systems level and a molecular understanding of disease mechanisms. For example, in allergy a module was used to find a novel candidate gene that was validated by functional and clinical studies. Such analyses play important roles in systems medicine. This is an emerging discipline that aims to gain a translational understanding of the complex mechanisms underlying common diseases. In this review, we will explain and provide examples of how network-based analyses of omics data, in combination with functional and clinical studies, are aiding our understanding of disease, as well as helping to prioritize diagnostic markers or therapeutic candidate genes. Such analyses involve significant problems and limitations, which will be discussed. We also highlight the steps needed for clinical implementation.