Scott Vrieze, External Collaborator at Genes for Good 1. What is Genes for Good? Genes for Good is a research study led by Dr. Goncalo Abecasis at the University of Michigan, with the goal of discovering genes that affect risk for physical and mental health. Making these discoveries benefits from very large numbers of participants who are continually engaged with the study over time. To do this, we have created a Facebook App (apps.facebook.com/ genesforgood) where individuals may sign up, answer questions about their health and habits, and provide a saliva sample. DNA in the saliva will then be genotyped and tested for association with the health information. This kind of study has been quite successful in finding risk genes for a wide variety of diseases, and Genes for Good will continue this tradition, hopefully on a larger scale with many tens of thousands of participants. 2. What is your role in the Genes for Good study and how does your professional background fit? Genes for Good is intended to be an open platform. Researchers who are interested in contributing can very easily do so. I am a clinical psychologist interested in mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and […]
Earlier this month, Human Variome Project International Ltd signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with WHO setting out their formal relationship. At the heart of this agreement lays their collaboration in achieving WHO’s goal: to provide the leadership in global health matters that relate to human genomics, with a particular emphasis on service delivery and safety in low- and middle-income countries. The public health implications of advances in human genetics and genomics are of increasing importance to all professionals working in the field. This Memorandum of Understanding gives a new initiative to WHO. While it has always had a small program on genetics and health, focusing mainly on genetic diseases for some time, this new program would bring a change in focus to the broader issue of human genomics and public health.The Human Variome Project‘s key contribution will be to give a voice to the various health professionals working in human genetics and genomics. The agreement sets out a number of specific areas for collaboration: Creating a co-ordinated international electronic forum to facilitate discussion and interaction between experts, including health professionals, researchers and academics, on matters related to human genomics, global health and service delivery and safety Organizing international meetings on matters related to human genomics and public […]
Canadian Open Genetics Repository (COGR) is the creation of a unified, open-access, clinical-grade genetic database. The project is to last three years and is funded by the government of Canada through Genome Canada and the Ontario Genomics Institute. It is great to see data access issues in genetics research being addressed by national governments.
Soon (August 2nd) we are going to have our fourth Hack Day. As the time is passing and we are getting closer and closer to it, we have decided to remind you how the participants of our last event brainstormed and came up with new ideas and plans. I suggest you take a look at the Summary of our previous Hack Day that was focused on developing Data Discovery tools for genomic research. We are very excited about the upcoming Hack Day where we will further develop the ideas and prototype Data Discovery tools to support the work of genetics research. You are very welcome to join us. The tickets are free and there will be a nice lunch. Detailed agenda is being prepared and will be available very soon. We are looking forward to seeing you in Cambridge. 🙂
The following is the winning essay from the DNAdigest write for data sharing essay competition. The essay is written by Eilish Wells. What is the current state of data sharing in 2014 and how can we encourage best practices for ethical and efficient data sharing? by Eilish Wells Data sharing has become the topic of heavy debate, around ethical, legal and funding issues; particularly concerning the sharing of patient records from the National Health Service (NHS). Data Sharing is a concept that has received noticeable support from many sources and it is often considered a crucial tool to further scientific understanding in every field. It has even been described as the ‘fourth paradigm: data intensive scientific discovery’ (1) and, if correctly used, has the potential to unlock many questions that have so far eluded researchers. January 2013 saw the collaboration of seventy organisations to form the Global Alliance for Genetics and Health (GAGH). The alliance now has 148 members and is an international non-profit organisation with an aim to ‘tackle the challenges of genomic and clinical data sharing’ and ‘to make it possible to share and interpret this wealth of information’. (2) GAGH was initially driven by the fall in […]
How do you imagine the future of data sharing in healthcare or research? This post was written by Clara Podmore as one of the honorable mentions for our data sharing essay competitions. Since the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 by Watson and Crick, research in the field of human genetics has progressed at an incredible pace and is now clearly impacting the way medicine is being practiced and taught. The vision is that better understanding of genetics will not only allow identification of individuals at risk of developing a given disease and hence enable prevention, but that it will also allow personalisation of medical care to patients. For example, treatments will be prescribed more appropriately to patients based on their genetic information, hence improving drug response while decreasing the number or risk of side effects of medication, such as potentially fatal drug reactions. In addition, the identification of mutations, which are faults in DNA which may lead to disease, will provide a better understanding of the disease process and hence provide new targets for drug development. In this present time, when obtaining a DNA sample is a fairly non-invasive procedure and can be done simply by taking […]
The Makings of a Meta-Analysis or: How I Wasted Dozens of Hours Obtaining Publicly Available Data This post was written by Andrew Magee as one of the honorable mentions for our data sharing essay competitions. Phylogenies are estimates of the genealogical relationships among species, and are increasingly critical to research in a vast and rapidly expanding number of scientific disciplines, including evolutionary and conservation biology, comparative genomics, medicine and epidemiology. The process of estimating phylogenies from genetic sequence data is technically demanding and computationally intensive: many modern estimation techniques rely on Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, which can require a great deal of expertise to apply and hundreds or thousands of CPU hours to perform. Given their incredible utility and the effort required to estimate them, it is crucial that phylogenetic data are readily available to the scientific community. There have been numerous initiatives to promote the permanence of and increase access to phylogenetic data, among these are strict journal and publisher policies and even a government mandate for publicly funded projects. Stated reasons for such policies are variable, but reproducibility and accountability, foundational ideas of science, are common. Still, despite policies mandating data sharing, and a clear […]