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Hurry up science

Posted on: February 16, 2010 12:27 pm
 
In time Science will likely reveal that...

...but nobody hold their breath.

For example, the last greatest thing was the Human Genome Project. Government and private labs all over were determining the sequence of the nitrogenous bases in bits and pieces of human DNA. Then they compared the sequence of their piece of DNA with sequences of others' pieces, found overlaps and, thereby, merged the sequences so as to learn bigger and bigger stretches. That process required the formation of The Internet. By now, they know the entire sequence of all the DNA in humans.

This was tauted to launch a New Medicine that could "cure" human pathologies by the thousands.

OK, but most of human DNA is "non-sense", or not-genes. So they had to find the "good stuff", the genes, which indirectly produce our traits by providing information for cells to make proteins. The proteins actually "do" our lives. But many genes are scattered here and there among all the DNA. So it's kind of like cutting a needle into hundreds of pieces, and throwing the pieces into a gigantic haystack. Then you have to find all the pieces in the haystack and reassemble the needle.

Even when a gene is determined, mostly they don't know what the protein it codes for does in the cells. Working this out is much more difficult than sequencing the gene in the first place. Way beyond that, is the problem that most proteins work together with many other proteins to produce their effects, like team sports. So knowing what a certain protein does in isolation is often not very useful. To complicate these little difficulties, genes get switched on and off in an individual depending on the person's developmental stage, and also on signals from the internal and external environment. So the proteins take turns doing their work kind of like line shifts in a hockey game.

So what we've ended up with is like a book written in an unknown language, and the letters of the book have been scrambled just for fun. Basically all we know is that the title of the book is: How to Produce a Human, Live its Life, Get Sick (and maybe recover), Make Kids, Get Old and Die.

Meanwhile, the economy has been souring like an old box of wine in a corner of a self-storage shed, so far less money is available to pursue the almost impossible research, and people are texting each other on Blackberries, or playing games on PlayStation instead of learning stuff at school.

Me, I take vitamin C for some unknown reason, and it seems not to hurt me too much (so far).
Category: General
Comments

Since: Sep 23, 2008
Posted on: July 18, 2010 11:14 am
 

Hurry up science

It turns out that 90% of the cells of our bodies are not human cells, but various kinds of microbial cells. We are a veritable jungle. This link explains our presence ignorance, and some new research on the symbiotic relationships we're involved in. Some new therapies are discussed, and hypotheses regarding allergies, etc., are explained.






Since: Sep 23, 2008
Posted on: June 15, 2010 12:12 am
 

Hurry up science

Like I was aying...

Here's an update on the disconnect between the human genome project and medical therapies:






Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2010 11:04 pm
 

Hurry up science

In addition to PlayStation and Blackberries, just about any kid going to public school is being taught a curriculum designed to make them excel at passing state or federal-mandated testing.  That basically boils down to $$$.

I figured out this past December that when I catch a cold, I should sleep the first day I'm experiencing symptoms, then load up on water and orange juice for the next five or six days.  I avoided getting bronchitis after having it develop the past four or five years every time I had a cold.  So I guess I too am sold on Vitamin C and fluids in general.  Not as sure about chicken noodle soup.

I'm glad I read this.  I hadn't thought about the Human Genome Project in the last ten years, at least.  Nor had I even stopped to consider the implications of its success (or as you lay it out, it's relative failure compared to what we were led to believe would result from mapping out the genome successfully).

Thanks for sharing.



Since: May 29, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2010 11:34 am
 

Hurry up science

My point is that the media are eager to become shills for enthusiatic scientists who seek immediate fame. The populace then forms unrealistic expectations. The danger being that the new techniques may become regarded as busts, then support dropped.

We'll all know about it when they figure out gene therapy, and the molecular physiology of current mystery diseases.
The media is interested in selling newspapers or getting you to watch their show.  They would be happiest if the scientist researching this was involved a a sex/murder scandal.  Remember how they are funded.  It is not a public service.  It is funded by people who want to sell you something. 

Reporting anything tha is valid is way down on their list.  Shocik and awe.  THIS WILL SAVE THE WORLD!!!  and we will tell you about it right after this quick commercial break.   



Since: Sep 23, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2010 10:31 am
 

Hurry up science

You are missing the point of research.  If you knew the results, then what was the point of the research?  Research is discoverying the unknown.  The results lead to new information, whether it was what you set out to do or not.

Once and for all, the sequence of nitrogenous bases of the entire human genome (even the tough to sequence Y chromosome) is essentially known in toto . The human genome is KNOWN and has been for nearly a decade.

Phase II is finding the genes among the haystack of DNA. This is making some progress, but is hindered by significant complexity. Some genes for known proteins have been ID. Some suspected genes have been IDed, but nothing is known about the structures or functions of their proteins. The genes for many proteins are difficult to find in the sequence because their sequence is split into pieces.

Occasionally a gene known to be implicated in an inherited disease has been found. Knowing the DNA sequence may permit this gene to be cut out of the DNA of a person with a "good" gene using an appropriate endonuclease. Cloning the good gene is not much of a problem. How to deliver the "healthy" gene into a person with a defective gene is a major problem. Inserting the good gene into a safe vector is somewhat difficult. Having the gene-defective cells of the recipient take up the inserted gene into a "good" place in its chromosomes is difficult. Having the cells actually activate and  transcribe the foreign gene is very difficult.

So, what was hyped as the dawn of The New Medicine is off to a very halting start.

My point is that the media are eager to become shills for enthusiatic scientists who seek immediate fame. The populace then forms unrealistic expectations. The danger being that the new techniques may become regarded as busts, then support dropped.

We'll all know about it when they figure out gene therapy, and the molecular physiology of current mystery diseases.



Since: May 29, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2010 10:37 pm
 

Hurry up science

well now you are confusing me

"we need more money for protein research."


Not that it's not a good idea or wont ever work, but the notion has been essentially a universal bust.

You are missing the point of research.  If you knew the results, then what was the point of the research?  Research is discoverying the unknown.  The results lead to new information, whether it was what you set out to do or not.

I haven't failed, I have just found 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb ~Thomas Edison

On the pathway to discover the light bulb Edison and Tesla discovered way too many things to count.



Since: Sep 23, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2010 8:05 pm
 

Hurry up science

Thanks for the schooling, geno.

It's hard to tell but you seem to be trying to express something about gene therapy as a cure for inherited diseases, but it's hard to tell from your writing.

I believe that the pedophile William French Anderson has made the only tiny, documented success at that, when he "cured" a "bubble girl" at the cost of about $25 million to help one solitary person. Not too cost effective, at present.

Not that it's not a good idea or wont ever work, but the notion has been essentially a universal bust.



A lot of venture capitalists have taken a bath, and the field is presently moribund, with clinical trials pretty much halted.





Since: May 29, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2010 6:48 pm
 

Hurry up science

Knowledge of proteins far predate the knowledge of genes period.  DNA was thought to be made of proteins because of the sheer size of proteins molecules predating Franklin, and Watson and Crick.
Of course none of that is neither here nor there.  The function of protiens that you are describing is how they relate to the human genome.

DNA tells a cell to make a protein.  The human genome project mapped out what each gene does.  The next logical step if further researching what all the posibilities (this is seeming endless) from each gene and what consequences this may have on the phenotype of the individual.

Where as before we have isolated the protien insulin.  We have found deficiencies in the blood stream cause the pateint to be hyperglycemic.  We have synethisized insulin using bacterial strands and injected this protien into patients and saved thier life.  That is old research.

Now the research should be...Patient A is hyperglycemic.  Lets do a DNA test okay these specific genes are telling the cells to produce (whatever protein instead).  This protein will make the patient (do this).  A proper solution to this problem would be...

As opposed to the old solution.  You are diabetic try this.

find the root of the problem and treat it as opposed to the outward symptoms



Since: Sep 23, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2010 2:26 pm
 

Hurry up science

Research as to the structures and functions of proteins pre-date the genome project by very many decades. If the genome studies permit isolation and cloning of genes thereby allowing large scale production of otherwise rare proteins, they may accelerate progress. 



Since: May 29, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Hurry up science

Well I would clarify to state genome research is far from over.  I would go as far to say more protein research is part of the genome research.  It has to to be.  DNA are directions for a cell on how to make a specific protein.

the research so far as been this gene controls this--
next step is to find out what proteins can be made and what possibilities they give us.


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