BetaKit: Biobox Analytics Launches Platform To Help Scientists Analyze Genomic Data

BetaKit: Biobox Analytics Launches Platform To Help Scientists Analyze Genomic Data. “Founded in 2019 by a trio of University of Toronto graduate students including [Christopher] Li, Hamza Farooq, and Julian Mazzitelli, BioBox offers a subscription-based data analytics platform for scientists working with next-generation sequencing data. The startup’s platform allows researchers to analyze genomic information.”

Engadget: NVIDIA and Harvard researchers use AI to make genome analysis faster and cheaper

Engadget: NVIDIA and Harvard researchers use AI to make genome analysis faster and cheaper. “Scientists from NVIDIA and Harvard have made a huge breakthrough in genetic research. They developed a deep-learning toolkit that is able to significantly cut down the time and cost needed to run rare and single-cell experiments. According to a study published in Nature Communications, the AtacWorks toolkit can run inference on a whole genome, a process that normally takes a little over two days, in just half an hour. It’s able to do so thanks to NVIDIA’s Tensor Core GPUs.”

Science News: Some Neandertal genes in people today may protect against severe COVID-19

Science News: Some Neandertal genes in people today may protect against severe COVID-19. “A new study looked at a stretch of DNA on chromosome 12 where a haplotype — a cluster of genetic variants that are inherited together — that affects susceptibility to the coronavirus is located. For each copy of the Neandertal haplotype a person inherited, the risk of needing intensive care fell approximately 22 percent, researchers report in the March 2 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

EurekAlert: New tool facilitates inclusion of people of diverse ancestry in large genetics studies

EurekAlert: New tool facilitates inclusion of people of diverse ancestry in large genetics studies. “Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have typically excluded diverse and minority individuals in the search for gene variants that confer risk of disease. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and other institutions around the world have now developed a free-access software package called Tractor that increases the discovery power of genomics in understudied populations. A study of Tractor’s performance and accuracy was published in Nature Genetics.”

Birmingham Business Journal: UAB researchers build database for Covid therapy discovery

Birmingham Business Journal: UAB researchers build database for Covid therapy discovery. “UAB’s new database, PAGER-CoV, has nearly 12,000 pieces of genetic information on the SARS-CoV02 virus. This is information that researchers and physicians can use to craft individualized treatments against the disease. PAGER-CoV is an extension of PAGER, a database of gene sets created by Jake Chen, a professor in the Department of Genetics at UAB and associate director of the Informatics Institute in the UAB School of Medicine.”

23andMe Blog: 23andMe’s New COVID-19 Severity Calculator

23andMe Blog: 23andMe’s New COVID-19 Severity Calculator. “The COVID-19 Severity Calculator* allows people to see how certain non-genetic factors may impact the risk for hospitalization due to the virus. Using only data from 23andMe customers who consented to participate in our COVID-19 Research Study — and no data from outside sources — the tool looks at such things as age, exercise frequency, and health history, which may contribute to the likelihood of hospitalization from contracting the virus.”

News-Medical: Study sheds new light on genetic risk factors that make individuals susceptible to severe COVID-19

News-Medical: Study sheds new light on genetic risk factors that make individuals susceptible to severe COVID-19. “Even as tens of thousands of Americans test positive for COVID-19 each day, physicians still aren’t sure why some people experience mild to no symptoms while others become critically ill. New research led by Robert E. Gerszten, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) sheds new light on the genetic risk factors that make individuals more or less susceptible to severe COVID-19. The findings, published in a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, illuminate the mechanisms underlying COVID-19, and potentially open the door to novel treatments for the disease.”

EurekAlert: Historical bias overlooks genes related to COVID-19

EurekAlert: Historical bias overlooks genes related to COVID-19. “A historical bias — which has long dictated which human genes are studied — is now affecting how biomedical researchers study COVID-19, according to new Northwestern University research. Although biomedical researchers know that many overlooked human genes play a role in COVID-19, they currently do not study them. Instead, researchers that study COVID-19 continue to focus on human genes that have already been heavily investigated independent of coronaviruses.”

The Verge: Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates

The Verge: Scientists rename human genes to stop Microsoft Excel from misreading them as dates. “There are tens of thousands of genes in the human genome: minuscule twists of DNA and RNA that combine to express all of the traits and characteristics that make each of us unique. Each gene is given a name and alphanumeric code, known as a symbol, which scientists use to coordinate research. But over the past year or so, some 27 human genes have been renamed, all because Microsoft Excel kept misreading their symbols as dates.”

New York Times: DNA Linked to Covid-19 Was Inherited From Neanderthals, Study Finds

New York Times: DNA Linked to Covid-19 Was Inherited From Neanderthals, Study Finds. “A stretch of DNA linked to Covid-19 was passed down from Neanderthals 60,000 years ago, according to a new study. Scientists don’t yet know why this particular segment increases the risk of severe illness from the coronavirus. But the new findings, which were posted online on Friday and have not yet been published in a scientific journal, show how some clues to modern health stem from ancient history.”

BetaNews: Ancestry. com announces COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing

BetaNews: Ancestry.com announces COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing. “With the current pandemic continuing to grow in some areas, and unemployment rising even faster than food prices, we need problem solvers. Help at this time comes mostly from doctors and scientists, but can also come from other surprising areas. If you’ve recently taken an AncestryDNA test, Ancestry.com is inviting you to supply some information that could assist in the fight against COVID-19.”