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Whole Exome Sequencing: What it is and how it can help

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The Dorrance Center for Rare Childhood Disorders is a unique research division at TGen (The Translational Genomics Research Institute) that provides personalized care to children and young adults facing rare, undiagnosed diseases. TGen scientists believe that the answers to these

The Dorrance Center for Rare Childhood Disorders is a unique research division at TGen (The Translational Genomics Research Institute) that provides personalized care to children and young adults facing rare, undiagnosed diseases. TGen scientists believe that the answers to these enigmatic disorders can often be found in a person's genetic code. They aim to solve these genetic mysteries using whole exome sequencing, a method that prioritizes the protein-coding portion of the genome in the search for disease-causing variants. Unfortunately, a communication gap sometimes exists between the TGen scientists and the patients they serve. I have seen, first hand, the kind of confusion that this study elicits in the families of its participants. Therefore, for my thesis, I decided to create a booklet that is meant to provide some clarity as to what exactly The Dorrance Center for Rare Childhood Disorders does to help diagnose children with rare disorders. The purpose of the booklet is to dispel any confusion regarding the study by providing a general review of genetics and an application of these lessons to the relevant sequencing technology as well as a discussion of the causes and effects of genetic mutations that often times are linked to rare childhood disorders.

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2015-05

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The Economics of Genetic Patent Law

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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the current atmosphere of genetic patent law and use economic theory to construct models which describe the consequences of the legal code. I intend to analyze the four specific cases of Diamond

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the current atmosphere of genetic patent law and use economic theory to construct models which describe the consequences of the legal code. I intend to analyze the four specific cases of Diamond v. Chakrabarty, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, the Alzheimer's Institute of America v. Jackson Laboratory, and the harm caused by PGx Health's monopoly over the LQTS gene.

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2014-05

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Sickle Cell Disease Education and Screening in Kenya

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Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a prevalent genetic disease in Africa, and specifically in Kenya. The lack of available relevant disease education and screening mean that most don't understand the importance of getting testing and many children die before they

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a prevalent genetic disease in Africa, and specifically in Kenya. The lack of available relevant disease education and screening mean that most don't understand the importance of getting testing and many children die before they can get prophylactic care. This project was designed to address the lack of knowledge with supplemental educational materials to be partnered with an engineering capstone project that provides a low cost diagnostic test.

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2014-05

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Targeting a Novel Genetic Risk Factor for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a devastating illness that causes the degeneration of both upper and lower motor neurons, leading to eventual muscle atrophy. ALS rapidly progresses into paralysis, with patients typically dying due

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a devastating illness that causes the degeneration of both upper and lower motor neurons, leading to eventual muscle atrophy. ALS rapidly progresses into paralysis, with patients typically dying due to respiratory complications within three to five years from the onset of their symptoms. Even after many years of research and drug trials, there is still no cure, and current therapies only succeed in increasing life-span by approximately three months. With such limited options available for patients, there is a pressing need to not only find a cure, but also make new treatments available in order to ameliorate disease symptoms. In a genome-wide association study previously conducted by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) upstream of a novel gene, FLJ10968, were found to significantly alter risk for ALS. This novel gene acquired the name FGGY after publication of the paper. FGGY exhibits altered levels of protein expression throughout ALS disease progression in human subjects, and detectable protein and mRNA expression changes in a mouse model of ALS. We performed co-immunoprecipitation experiments coupled with mass spectrometry in order to determine which proteins are associated with FGGY. Some of these potential binding partners have been linked to RNA regulation, including regulators of the splicesomal complex such as SMN, Gemin, and hnRNP C. To further validate these findings, we have verified co-localization of these proteins with one another. We hypothesize that FGGY plays an important role in ALS pathogenesis, and we will continue to examine its biological function.

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2014-05