This blog is intended to provide information to educate readers about molecular testing and genetic sample collection and DNA Genotek products. Some of the information on this blog represents emerging scientific research or data developed for research purposes only. More information here.
Welcome to The Genetic Link, a blog providing new insights into DNA and RNA sample collection by DNA Genotek. DNA Genotek is a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies, Inc.
DNA Genotek has been a leader in the biostabilization technology field for many years and throughout that time, many customers, like you, have used our Oragene product line. The expertise we have garnered in this field allowed us to transfer our knowledge of saliva collection and stabilization to address a new challenge: the ambient temperature stabilization of blood and blood components.
Over the past few months, we’ve been posting a series of blog articles on the topic of genetics and mental health. This month, we have an exciting story to share with you on the growing role of genetics in understanding a range of psychiatric disorders from an institution that is breaking new ground in this important research area.
Once again, it is time for my annual review of DNA Genotek’s year and to highlight the top 10 items that I believe made an impact in 2013. Like previous years, there’s been a lot of exciting activity and choosing only 10 items is always a challenge. After much reflection, these are the 10 things that I will remember most about 2013 at DNA Genotek.
We always enjoy hearing about how our customers are using our products for innovative projects. Recently, we learned about a new project in Germany called GeneTalk, which uses Oragene to collect DNA from saliva. GeneTalk is what many physicians and scientists working on human next generation sequencing (NGS) data sets have been waiting for. We know that NGS is an effective method for identifying rare disease causing variants associated with genetic disorders and as a valuable tool for diagnosing and treating many other diseases. The challenge in analyzing the sequence variants of a patient is to discriminate between all the variants without medical relevance and the mutations that actually have an impact on the disease. Many believe that a large database of exomes from healthy controls may help to create this benchmark and thus speed up the identification of the mutations causing genetic disorders. This is where GeneTalk comes in.
DNA Genotek is proud to provide a high level of service and support to our customers. We know that our success as a company is tightly integrated with the success of our customers and we are committed to providing access to a team of skilled scientists and creative resources to optimize genetic projects from sample collection through to downstream processing.
While reading a recent publication in the American Journal of Human Genetics Part B entitled DISC1 in Adult ADHD Patients: An Association Study in Two European Samples , I was immediately intrigued by the first sentence of the abstract: “The DISC1 gene was named after its discovery in a Scottish pedigree with schizophrenia (SCZ) patients.”  This inspired me to do a little background reading regarding the discovery of the DISC1 gene and, as it turns out, it’s a pretty interesting story. Therefore, for the third blog in our Genetics and Mental Health Series, I would like to tell you how this curious gene came to be associated with ADHD.
Last month we posted our first blog article in the Genetics and Mental Health Series. We discussed incorporating genetic analysis into research programs to uncover differences in traits and diseases, or to potentially improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients. This month we would like to expand on that idea by exploring how our traits and personality characteristics are controlled by two things: our environment and our genetics. A person’s genes and their environment interact to affect their mental health and behaviour, and this interaction, referred to aptly as the gene-by-environment interaction, is a very interesting, if challenging, area of research.
At the 2013 American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG) conference in Boston last month, we launched the first version of DNA Genotek’s Activity Calendar for science fanatics. We wanted to provide ASHG attendees who visited our booth a way to celebrate scientific achievement in a fun way. The end result is a glossy, full color, 13-month desk calendar that features a variety of puzzles, challenges and games. Each month includes an online challenge which must be completed to be entered into a draw for a 32GB Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi version).
The author of this article, Nicholas Ramdass, is a Sales Manager at DNA Genotek Inc. Oragene is truly a DNA collection device that has a global impact. Currently, Oragene is used for the non-invasive self-collection of DNA from saliva in more than one hundred countries and on six continents. As a salesperson at DNA Genotek, I have the privilege of working with some of the world’s leading researchers who are studying every aspect of genetics from mental illness to cancer, and from chronic health issues to the very rarest of diseases. My favorite part of my job has always been helping researchers find solutions for projects with complex collection logistics, especially those that transcend international boundaries.
One of these projects is led by Dr. Khai Chung Ang, a researcher studying the genetics of human skin color and susceptibility to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Based at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Dr. Ang and team have been utilizing Oragene to assist in the collection of DNA samples from ethnic populations on opposite ends of the world. Dr. Ang’s research investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms of East Asian and Amerindian peoples’ pigmentation as phenotypically, the susceptibility to skin cancer in these populations do not behave in a linear fashion between those of European ancestry (lighter skin) and African ancestry (darker skin). As a result, Dr. Ang set out to collect one thousand DNA samples from three different populations: a Malaysian population to represent East Asians, an Amerindian population in the Commonwealth of Dominica in the Caribbean, and participants in the United States.
The author of this article, Lisa Gamwell, is a Sales Development Analyst at DNA Genotek.
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