Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog

Science Shows Well in Time's "100" List But Something's Missing

Posted on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 @ 04:24 PM

On Sunday, I had a chance to thumb through Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” issue. The list is broken into 5 categories: Titans, Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, and Icons. 

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Tags: life sciences, DNA, healthcare

Is DNA the Key to Preventing a Digital Dark Age?

Posted on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

The image accompanying this post is of the Phaistos Disk. It was created in about 2000 BCE in Crete. Its front and back surfaces are covered with nearly perfectly preserved etchings, but we don't have much of a clue about what it all means. Why does this matter? It matters because the photos, data, research, and other information that matters to us today barely has a chance of lasting 2 decades, much less 2 millennia. 

Experts, including Vint Cerf who is widely credited as the "father of the internet" and who is now Google's Vice President and Chief Evangelist, believe that much of the information that distinguishes the 21st century is at risk of being lost to future generations. A gaping chasm in humankind's understanding of our era could be called a digital dark age. 

So how would this happen?

The 21st century could become a victim of its own remarkable technological advancement. We've made tremendous progess in data storage over the past few decades. The smartphone in your pocket, for instance, holds far more data than did PCs from even a decade ago, and the price of that storage has fallen dramatically. However, the ability to hold onto that data for -- in optimal cases -- more than twenty years is incredibly rare, and even when the data is pristine, it's not always easy to make sense of it. If you've stumbled upon a cache of floppy disks recently, it is unlikely that your current computer can do anything with them. 

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Tags: Big Data, DNA, health data

Complete DNA Sequencing for the Domestic Cat? Done!

Posted on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

An international team of researchers announced this month that they have sequenced the entire genome of the domestic cat. Specifically, they have sequenced the genome of Cinnamon, a female Abyssinian cat from the University of Missouri. Because there are roughly 250 diseases that cats and humans have in common, the research has implications for improving human health, as well as the the health of the internet's favorite furry friend. 

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Tags: human genome, DNA, DNA sequencing

Deleting HIV

Posted on Tue, Aug 05, 2014 @ 12:30 PM

The numbers are daunting:

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Tags: DNA, HIV, AIDS

The Map of Biomedicine

Posted on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @ 12:58 PM

Who doesn’t like a scientific breakthrough? The media buzzes with news from the frontiers of science that directly affects us: biological and medical research. The stories that really get our attention are those in which new technologies solve medical mysteries or save lives.

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Tags: cancer, clinical trials, DNA sequencing, DNA, biomedicine, map of biomedicine

DNA Day 2012 is Here: Some Thoughts

Posted on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

April is a good month to step back and think a little bit about one of my favorite subjects: DNA. April 20th is National DNA Day. Organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA's double helix. I would like to share a few of my thoughts on this incredible and still mysterious molecule.

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Tags: genomic data, DNA, DNA Day, genome, Human Genome Project, National Human Genome Research Institute, NHGRI

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