Gerry’s Gene Scene – Monohybrid Cross

                           Friends asked me recently if there was a source of information that would provide the ‘Biology Coles Notes version for grandparents’ to help them understand what their grandchild is taking at school. This was not the first time I’ve had someone asking me for help with Biology concepts. Imagine doing a jigsaw puzzle when you don’t know what the finished picture is.…

Continue reading


LISTEN: Turning research success into commercial success

Around this time last year I talked with Joseph Tucker about a "new path to manufacturing opiods".  He and his business partner and science lead Peter Facchini, had taken the final step that would make it possible to manufacture opioids using a yeast fermentation process.  It took years to get from Peter's early research work to the stage where it had commercial potential and in the last year that success is tantalizingly close with their…

Continue reading


Variation the Spice of Life for Genome Project

Contrary to popular opinion, not all research is a thrill a minute. Don’t tell that to researchers on the Efficient Dairy Genome Project, however. If the prospect of raising feed efficiency and lowering methane emissions in dairy cattle isn’t exciting enough, some recent work on the role of variants in targeting those traits is really spicing things up. In examining variants, scientists are searching for clues as to what accounts for differences among animals regarding…

Continue reading


Predictability Pays Off in Genomic Research

Did your mother ever tell you that “the early bird gets the genomic predictor of resilience”? Odds are, she didn’t, but for scientists on a project led by Genome Alberta to improve pig health, finding early indicators of resilience through genomics is turning the odds of success squarely in their favor. “Our initial work on the project produced genotypes for 650,000 genetic markers across the genome,” said Dr. Jack C. M. Dekkers. Dr Dekkers is…

Continue reading


Epigenetics tools may replace pesticides for crops

This blog post by Pam Baker originally appeared on the Alberta Epigenetics Network website on 28 February 2019. Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are controversial. Scientists say GMO foods are our only hope in feeding a growing human population that is increasingly threatened by famine from climate change. Skeptics are afraid of unintended consequences that changing DNA may have in the future. But there may be another way to address these issues. Epigenetics, which changes how genes…

Continue reading


Epigenetics new role in public health

This blog post by Pam Baker originally appeared on the Alberta Epigenetics Network website on 29 January 2019 Epigenetics continues to prove its worth in developing personalized medicine and discovering treatments and cures for serious illnesses such as cancer. Because of these early successes, much of the work with epigenetics today focuses on individual care rather than on public health. But that is changing as researchers look at the broader implications of their findings. One…

Continue reading


Epigenetics in single-celled organisms opens new understanding of evolution

This blog post by Pam Baker originally appeared on the Alberta Epigenetics Network website on 30 December, 2018. Our understanding of evolution is itself evolving. Once widely thought to be exclusively a function of DNA mutations, researchers have since found that epigenetics plays a significant role in inheritable changes too. Even so, epigenetics was assumed to be a relatively new development in evolution and present only in complex organisms like mammals and people. But now…

Continue reading


Genome Alberta Award Winners 2019

                          Science Fair season is almost over in Alberta. The top students from the regional fairs now proceed as finalists to compete in the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF). They will be accompanied by adult supervisors called delegates to this year’s fair in Fredericton, New Brunswick from May 11 to 17. We know it will be an exciting time for ‘Team Alberta’. Genome Alberta supports them on this adventure and knows they will do an excellent…

Continue reading


Milk. Maybe it is a nearly perfect food.

Considering milk has been a diet staple for 10,000 years, we have not had a full picture of its chemical composition - until now. David Wishart's team at the Genome Alberta supported Metabolomics Innovation Centre at the University of Alberta have created a comprehensive, centralized database of all known milk compounds. The United Nations says that 800 million tons of milk are produced annually and its composition and quality can vary depending on the breed…

Continue reading


New study: preventing leukemia at the epigenetic level

This blog post by Pam Baker originally appeared on the Alberta Epigenetics Network website on 30 November, 2018. Scientists have been working with new epigenetic drugs to combat and possibly cure several types of cancer for quite some time now. Much has been learned along the way and some cancer patients are already benefitting from this new class of cellular-level treatments. As promising as this work has been, there is still more life-saving potential to…

Continue reading