Genes and environment: complex interactions at the heart of personalized medicine

Personalized medicine uses methods of molecular analysis, especially genetic sequencing and transcription, in order to simultaneously identify genetic mutations to evaluate each individual’s risk of contracting a given disease. It seems that there is more than a single mechanism at hand, as proven by the work of a team of geneticists at the University of Geneva’s (UNIGE) Faculty of Medicine, and the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.

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Highly evolvable malaria-carrying mosquitoes

Anopheles mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting human malaria parasites that cause an estimated 200 million cases and more than 600 thousand deaths each year. However, of the almost 500 different Anopheles species, only a few dozen can carry the parasite and only a handful of species are responsible for the vast majority of transmissions.

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Ron Appel and the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics honoured with the BioAlps Award 2014

Professor Ron Appel, co-founder and Executive Director of the SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, was honoured with the BioAlps Award 2014 to recognize his major contribution to the creation and successful development of the SIB. By providing the necessary bioinformatics infrastructure for medical and life science research, the institute is instrumental to good science in Switzerland.

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Parental origin of the genetic code matters for obesity

High-throughput technologies have opened new perspectives to unravel the genetic cause of various diseases or physiological traits, such as body mass index (BMI). Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) measure the correlation between genetic and phenotypic variation in large groups of individuals. However, the discovered genetic associations, even combined, account for only a small fraction of the BMI heritability – in part due to the complexity of obesity. Almost all previous studies assumed that the effect of all genetic variants is the same regardless of whether they are inherited from the mother or the father.

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