My Kingdom for My Genomic Sequence

GenomeWeb – “We may never know if he ever really offered his kingdom for a horse, but we may find out the color of his hair and what ailments may have plagued him.

The Wellcome Trust announced that Richard III and one of his living descendants will be sequenced in a project aimed to reveal new light on the ancestry and health of England’s last king to die in battle and to provide “a complete archive of information that historians, scientists, and the public will be able to access and use.”

You may recall that the remains of Richard III — who has become synonymous with treachery and is reputed to have killed his nephews in his quest for power, if Shakespeare is to be believed — were discovered in 2012 buried beneath a parking lot in Leicester. They were confirmed to belong to Richard III by archaeologists and scientists from the University of Leicester a year ago.

Those remains and samples taken from them are scheduled to be reburied, but before they are, a team of scientists led by Turi King from Leicester’s department of genetics plans to sequence the king’s genome, along with a living descendant, Michael Ibsen, whose mitochondrial DNA was compared with the remains found in the parking lot and used to identify Richard III.

By sequencing his genome, insights may be gained into Richard III’s genetic makeup, including susceptibility to diseases, and hair and eye color. The research also is anticipated to shed light on his ancestry and relationship to modern humans, Wellcome Trust says, adding the work will allow researchers to detect DNA from other organisms such as pathogens.” Full Article

On the 4th February 2013 the University of Leicester announced it had discovered the remains of King Richard III. During this live recording the researchers put forward the evidence and present their conclusions.

Sequencing Studies Point to Potential Dog Domestication by Pre-agricultural Humans

 GenomeWeb News – Dog domestication from a still-to-be-determined group of wild wolf ancestors likely occurred through a series of dynamic processes that began before the advent of widespread agriculture by humans, according to a new PLOS Genetics study.

“Dog domestication is more complex than we originally thought,” University of Chicago geneticist John Novembre said in a statement. “It makes the field of dog domestication very intriguing going forward.”

Novembre and University of California at Los Angeles researcher Robert Wayne led a group of researchers who did genome sequencing on gray wolves from China, Croatia, and Israel — geographical regions representing locales previously proposed as potential centers for dog domestication.

Golden Jackal (Canis aureus)

The team also sequenced an Australian Dingo and an indigenous Basenji dog, believed to represent breeds from the base of the domestic dog tree, as well as the genome of a golden jackal, which belongs to a canine lineage that diverged prior to the dog-wolf split.

By analyzing the newly sequenced genomes, together with existing wolf and dog data, the researchers found that domestic dogs tend to cluster more closely with one another than with wolves, forming a single phylogenetic group with an apparent history of mixing with wolves.

Somewhat unexpectedly, they estimated that that domestication event took place as far back as 34,000-years-ago, probably preceding the advent of widespread human agriculture. But from patterns in the genomes, the study’s authors argued that the source population of the domestic dog lineage was probably not any one of the wolf lineages currently found in the Middle East, Europe, or Asia.

“One possibility is there may have been other wolf lineages that these dogs diverged from that then went extinct,” Novembre said in a statement.

“So now when you ask which wolves are dogs most closely related to, it’s none of these three because these are wolves that diverged in the recent past,” he explained. “It’s something more ancient that isn’t well represented by today’s wolves.”

A male dingo

Novembre, Wayne, and their colleagues used SOLiD and Illumina HiSeq sequencing, to generate high-quality genome sequences for six canines: three gray wolves, a Basenji, a Dingo, and a golden jackal.

The wolves selected for the study came from Israel, China, and Croatia, making it possible to test several dog domestication theories, including the so-called “regional domestication” hypothesis, which suggests dogs became domesticated independently in different parts of the world.

Under the regional domestication scheme, for example, the Basenji (an African breed) is expected to share closer ancestry with wolves from Israel, while sequences from the Dingo and Boxer breed (used to generate the dog reference genome) would theoretically show genetic ties to wolves from China and Croatia, respectively.

In contrast, though, the researchers’ analysis of more than 10 million SNPs in the canine genomes indicated that domestic dogs cluster together in a group that’s genetically separate from the wolves, which form their own genetic cluster.

A red basenji with white markings

Such findings are consistent with a single dog phylogeny, the researchers noted, though none of the modern-day wolves tested for the study appear to be descendants of the domestic dog source population.

The sequences held signs of earlier-than-anticipated dog domestication, too. Whereas past studies have argued that dogs became cozy with human populations after a shift to more agricultural lifestyles, the new analysis hints that domesticated dogs may have been around back when a hunting and gathering lifestyle was still more widespread amongst humans.

In conjunction with the estimated timing of dog origins, these results provide additional support to archaeological finds,” researchers wrote, “suggesting the earliest dogs arose alongside hunter-gatherers rather than agriculturists.” Full Story On GenomeWeb News


Genetic Preview

Genome Web – “The ability to peer into the DNA of a fetus is offering parents increased amounts of genetic information while also raising ethical questions, writes Dina Fine Maron at Scientific American. Non-invasive prenatal sequencing may be able to tell parents about not only whether their child has a condition like Down syndrome, but also the child’s risk of developing other diseases, including ones that may not manifest until adulthood.

“The technology is all there to do this,” Lisa Soleymani Lehmann, the director of the Center for Bioethics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, tells Maron. “Part of the issue is cost and part of the issue is the ethical controversy, which is limiting the uptake of this — not knowing how to deal with the uncertainty of this information or how to interpret this massive amount of data.”

While Maron notes that parents may benefit from knowing that their kid is at higher risk of developing a condition like type 2 diabetes — she notes that they could emphasize exercise and a healthy diet — the unborn child cannot consent and may not want to know this information when he or she is older.” Full Article

“What if you could read much of your child’s medical future while it was still in the womb? Taking a major step toward that goal, one fraught with therapeutic potential and ethical questions, scientists have now accurately predicted almost the whole genome of an unborn child by sequencing DNA from the mother’s blood and DNA from the father’s saliva.”
— From “Sequencing the Unborn,” which appeared in “Science Now.”

New non-invasive pre-natal test raises enormous ethical issues

Artificial Intelligence & Imagination

“The daily grinding of evolution, as accelerated by technology, churns out more and more complex organisms, with higher rates of energy use, and with increasing specialization. Minds are the ideal way to express complexity, energy density, increasing specialization, expanding diversity — all in one system. Mindedness is what evolution produces. Mindedness is what technology wants, too.” – Kevin Kelly



Ancient Genome Prompts Rethink of Timing of Evolutionary Events in Horse Lineage

GenomeWeb News – “Horses, donkeys, and zebras may have split from a shared common ancestor much earlier than once suspected, a new genome sequencing study suggests.

As they reported online today in Nature, investigators at the University of Copenhagen, BGI-Shenzhen, and elsewhere sequenced genomic DNA from the fossilized remains of a horse believed to have lived in what’s now the Yukon Territory of Canada as far back as 700,000 years ago or more.

Together with new genome sequences for a 43,000-year-old Pleistocene horse, a present-day Przewalski’s horse, five modern-day domestic horses, and a donkey, the ancient genome prompted researchers to propose divergence within the equid lineage going back four million years or more — about double the time estimated previously.

“This pretty large dataset of horse genomes we can then use to address a number of quite fundamental questions to horse evolution,” co-senior author Eske Willerslev, director of the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for GeoGenetics, said during a press briefing at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki this week.

“One is the time of split of the so-called equids, all the horse line animals — the zebras, the donkey, the horses,” he said. “And this is something that has been heavily discussed and we actually could recalibrate that to about 4 to 4.5 million years ago, which is about twice as much as was previously thought.”

The team’s scrutiny of the new equine sequences at hand also verified the notion that the so-called Przewalski’s horse belongs to wild horse lineage that split from domestic horses some 38,000 to 72,000 years ago. Moreover, it suggested that there is still a fair bit of genetic variation within that wild cousin of domestic horses, which doesn’t show signs of recent mixing with members of the domestic lineage.

“We find similar levels of genetic variation among Przewalski’s and domestic populations,” Willerslev and co-authors wrote, “indicating that the former are genetically viable and worthy of conservation efforts.”

The genome for the domestic horse, Equus ferus caballus, was described in a 2009Science study published by members of the Horse Genome Project, following an announcement regarding the availability of a draft sequence a couple years earlier.

Such genomic data has made it possible to explore the genetic basis for a range of modern domestic horse traits. But much of what’s known about the evolutionary history of the horses and their equine relatives has come from fossils collected over the years.

The horse has long been a “classical, simple example of morphological evolution — how we go from four toes, into three toes, into two toes, into one toe,” Willerslev noted. “And now, suddenly, we can actually follow parts of that evolution through genomics.” Full Article Here

Genetic Roulette: The Gamble Of Our Lives

“Eating genetically modified food is gambling with every bite.”


“Never-Before-Seen-Evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the US population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.”

Coming Soon To A Farm Near You – Genetically *Improved* Chickpeas

Apparently, no species on earth is safe from those who genetically modify and *improve* everything…

Chicksanto Peas coming soon? DuChick Peas, maybe?


(GenomeWeb News) – “Members of an international consortium have sequenced a draft version of the chickpea genome, making chickpea, or Cicer arietinum, the third crop legume plant to have its genome unraveled and published so far.

The India, China, and US-led team used whole-genome shotgun sequencing to tackle the nearly 740 million base pair genome of a kabulichickpea variety. The group also re-sequenced and/or genotyped dozens more cultivated and wild chickpea accessions for the study, which appeared online this week in Nature Biotechnology — data that’s helping researchers understand the genetic diversity present within chickpea and its relationship to chickpea traits of interest.

“Combined with knowledge of germplasm diversity and candidate gene regions, the analyses … should accelerate future breeding of elite cultivars,” first author Rajeev Varshney, with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, and co-authors wrote.

“This will eventually move us closer to the goal of improving the livelihood and productivity of chickpea farmers worldwide,” they added, with particular emphasis on the resource-poor, marginal environments of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia…The sequencing of the chickpea provides genetic information that will help plant breeders develop highly productive chickpea varieties that can better tolerate drought and resist disease — traits that are particularly important in light of the threat of global climate change,” University of California at Davis plant pathology researcher Douglas Cook, a co-corresponding author on the study, said in a statement…”

Monsanto & Venter; The Unholiest Alliance

For those not already familiar with J. Craig Venter, I added links in bold to the article excerpt below that highlight more of his history. I’ll give you a spoiler…he was a huge part of that wonderfully successful BP Oil Spill ‘clean-up’…he created an e-coli based bacteria that eats iron and it was dumped…or was it sprayed?…all across the Gulf of Mexico….*shudders* It eats iron…how much iron is in the human body..? 

Monsanto + Craig Venter…the Ultimate Match Made in Heaven…er, HELL…

UT San Diego – “Monsanto Corp. has acquired part of a La Jolla agricultural biotech in a deal that gives the St. Louis food giant a presence in San Diego for the first time.

Monsanto purchased crop-boosting microbial technology from Agradis, a spinoff of Synthetic Genomics, the companies said Wednesday. Monsanto also made an equity investment in Synthetic Genomics and signed a research agreement with the company. Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition gives Monsanto access to some of the newest and most sophisticated technologies for improving crop yields and preventing loss from disease. And while genetic technology is fundamental, it’s mostly being used to find naturally occurring beneficial microbes.

Synthetic Genomics was founded in 2005 by gene pioneer J. Craig Venter to solve energy and environmental challenges. As part of the acquisition, seven Agradis employees researching helpful microbes were hired by Monsanto, said Joe Mahler, Synthetic Genomics’ chief financial officer…

…Synthetic Genomics and Plenus are forming a new company with the parts of Agradis not purchased by Monsanto, Mahler said.

The company, AgraCast, controls breeding and genetic improvement technologies for castor and sweet sorghum, along with an antifungal product for fruits and vegetables. Employees with the new company will move out of the Agradis office to a new one nearby, Mahler said.

Full Story Here

Related articles

Mouse Genetically Modified To Tweet

Just because we can…does that really mean we should..?

“Japanese scientists say they have produced a mouse that tweets like a bird in a genetically engineered “evolution” which they hope will shed light on the origins of human language…”

Mutations are the driving force of evolution. We have cross-bred the genetically modified mice for generations to see what would happen,’ lead researcher Arikuni Uchimura said.

‘We checked the newly born mice one by one… One day we found a mouse that was singing like a bird,’ he told AFP.

He said that the ‘singing mouse’ was born by chance but that the trait will be passed on to future generations.

‘I was surprised because I had been expecting mice that are different in physical shape,’ he said by telephone

The project has also produced ‘a mouse with short limbs and a tail like a dachshund’.

The laboratory, directed by professor Takeshi Yagi at the Osaka University’s Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences in western Japan, now has more than 100 ‘singing mice’ for further research.

The team hopes they will provide clues on how human language evolved, just as researchers in other countries study songbirds such as finches to help them understand the origins of human language.

Full Story at The Daily Mail

HT to Ishtarmuz for this story.


Funding The Agriculture Research Enterprise

A White House-appointed advisory council wants the federal government to boost its investments into agricultural research by an extra $700 million per year and to take steps to realign its funding to address several important scientific challenges.

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) said on Friday that the extramural research budget at the US Department of Agriculture should nearly double from $265 million to $500 million and that basic agricultural research at the National Science Foundation should increase from $120 million to $250 million.

Source – GenomeWeb Daily News

From: President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

Dear Mr. President, 

We are pleased to send you this new report from your Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Agricultural Preparedness and the Agriculture Research Enterprise. This report addresses the scientific challenges facing the Nation’s agricultural research enterprise and makes recommendations on how to refocus and re-balance the Federal Government’s support of agricultural research to enable U.S. farmers to meet the critical challenges facing U.S. agriculture in the 21st century. 

As we worked on this report, the Nation’s farmers were suffering through one of the worst droughts in history. Low snowfall last winter, record temperatures last spring, and drought this summer combined to decimate the corn and soybean crops across the Midwest. Corn prices are at record high levels, with over 1300 counties in 31 states designated as disaster areas by Secretary TomVilsack. Agricultural research cannot immediately protect the farmers whose corn is withering in the field, but it can provide long-term strategies for dealing with heat waves and other weather ­related problems that we anticipate as climate change proceeds. 

Beyond respond­ing to climate change, there are other growing challenges in agriculture, including new pests and pathogens, controlling agriculture’s environmental impacts, health and nutritional concerns, and international food security.

In the report, your PCAST calls for increased public investment in agricultural research to meet these growing challenges. The goal of the additional investment is to enable creation of an innovation ecosystem for agriculture that combines public and private R&D efforts to most efficiently meet both the short­ and long-term dimensions of the challenges. We further recommend that the Department of Agriculture make some important changes in the way it administers research funds, in particular an expansion of competitive opportunities for both intramural and extramural research. Additional investment in agricultural research would create opportunities for new business ventures funded by the private sector and provide the means to train the next generation of farmers and agricultural researchers and meet the workforce demands of U.S. agriculture in the 21st century.

We appreciate your interest in this important field of work and sincerely hope that you find this report useful.

Sincerely, John Holden & Eric Lander (Co-Chairs)


Overview of PCAST Recommendations to Improve Agricultural Preparedness and Maintain U.S. Leadership in Agriculture

1. Expand the role of competition in agricultural research funding:

a. Expand the use of competition in allocation of research funding within intramural and extramural programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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Politics, Genetics & Propaganda

Last year, IBM’s Watson, an artificial intelligence, understood natural language well enough to whip the human champion Ken Jennings on Jeopardy. As we write this, soldiers with bionic limbs are returning to active duty, and autonomous cars are driving down our streets. Yet most of these advances are small in comparison with the great leap forward currently under way in the biosciences—a leap with consequences we’ve only begun to imagine…

Excerpt from Politico – “The pending sale of a major American gene-mapping company to a Chinese firm is sparking yet another dust-up over what sensitive industries the rising Asian power ought to be allowed to dominate in the United States.

A key question — as it has been with Chinese involvement in aviation, cloud computing and telecom hardware — is whether there are national security concerns attached to allowing a company largely funded by the Chinese government to have access to human DNA being decoded for doctors, researchers and pharmaceutical companies.”

Is this a legitimate concern…or a red-herring argument designed to keep the average American feeling threatened by our (rather sudden) Chinese ‘competition’.

When I was a kid, we were told that the Russians wanted to nuke us all and steal our Levis…and well, we all know how true THAT turned out to be. Every one of the current news stories I read about China seem to have the same theme and feel to me…”Evil foreigners want your freedom, your life, your Starbucks, your Levis…your DNA… “

More from Politico – “A technical adviser to both Complete Genomics and BGI Shenzhen who supports the transaction suggested that raising the specter of terrorism and exploiting the national appetite for China-bashing is a cover for Illumina’s real motive — to buy Complete and achieve market domination for itself.

“They want to destabilize this field,” said genetics pioneer George Church, director of the Center on Bioenergy at Harvard & MIT and the National Institutes of Health’s Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard. “They do not want that kind of competition. If I were Illumina, I might do the same thing. But this is a beautiful illustration of why our politicians and CEOs should be a lot more educated about technology.”

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The Synthetic & Toxic Coastal Clean-Up

I find it more than just a bit appalling that the people and corporations responsible for turning the entire Gulf of Mexico into a toxic waste dump – and large scale scientific experiment – have not been held accountable for their actions. Whatever fines BP received were nothing more than a government sponsored publicity stunt that made a mockery of anyone who has suffered due to the reckless disregard for the consequences of this mad science.

Corexit was banned in the UK a decade ago; it was known to be unsafe. On the other hand, Synthia was completely untried and untested and presented even more danger…and yet both substances were still released all along our coast by a bunch of greedy, arrogant bastards who find the destruction of an entire eco-system to be an acceptable risk to take…but hey, it was an *Accident* and no one is directly responsible, right?

I had no intention of spending most of the day working on this post but here I am at hour six (or is it seven or eight?!) with my head swimming in more oily muck that I can absorb. As with every other major news story that may cast our corporate rulers in a bad light, it is really difficult to find the various pieces of the story and even more difficult to place them into any kind of cohesive order. It’s like trying to scrunch a picture of the NY City skyline onto a recipe card; no matter how you try to lay it out, it just won’t fit into one easy-to-see picture.

Adding to my ‘Rabbit Hole Frustration’ and crankiness is the fact that many links to articles I’ve used as references in the past have mysteriously vanished into thin…cyberspace…I guess. Just when I was beginning to seriously question my sanity, I caught a paragraph of an article by another author who has also noticed this mysterious phenomena.

“I want to make it known to the reader that google has been scrubbed of Corexit info. When I wrote the above article, much more information was available. The New York Times even deleted part of an article that they published, with Corexit information. This stuff is deadly and they want to hide that fact from everyone.” Science Ray author, mygoditsfullofstars

At any rate, there is obviously more to the BP clean-up than the Powers That Be would like us to know. While government officials, corporate executives and even a few mad scientists have done their best to muck up the already filthy waters in the Gulf, some of their dirty little secrets and connections manage to float to the top…we just have to catch the pieces and fit them all together in order to expose the immeasurable harm caused by the actions of our psychopathic leaders.

Here’s the Cliff Note’s version of what I’ve pieced together today…

BP Oil works closely with Craig Venter, founder of Synthetic Genomics, Inc, the J. Craig Venter Institute & the newly formed Synthetic Genomics Vaccines Inc. (The timing of Venter joining in the vaccine business is eerie; he joined forces with Novartis in June of 2010…just a couple of months after his e-coli bacteria was released into our ecosystem.) BP and Venter would like to create a computer programmed bacteria that can assist with releasing oil from hard to reach places and/or assist with making the oil vanish in the event of an oil spill.

Venter’s lab-bred, e-coli based and computer programmed bacteria, Synthia, was sprayed across the Gulf shortly after the Deepwater Oil Spill. It appears to have been unleashed on the ocean with little concern for the long-term ramifications or potential harm to the environment – or the citizens – of the coastal region.

What stumped me for several hours was trying to figure out where in the HELL the direct connection was between Craig Venter and Nalco, the company that produces Corexit. I kept hitting articles about Venter’s genomics work and his oil-eating bacterial creation, Synthia, being used to clean up BP’s spill but all major news sources are focusing on Corexit with no mention of Synthia…argh! And then, on page 2 of a last ditch search, I hit pay dirt when I stumbled across a pdf. link on Nalco’s website. The article was far less interesting than the photo beside it –


That is none other than the infamous Dr. Venter standing proud, front & center.

I also found this announcement about a water conference that turned up the names of both Venter & Nalco –

“The second annual Water Innovations Summit will take place in Chicago on September 28-29, 2010 at McCormick Place.

Keynotes include famed researcher Craig Venter; Don Correll of American Water; Finn Neilson of Veolia NA; Fabien Cousteau; Dr. Mark Shannon U. IL.; and the EPA Department of Administration for Water’s Michael Shapiro. Others speakers are confirming every day from IBM, Hach, Badger Meter, Siemens and Nalco, among others.”

While it isn’t as much information as I’d hoped to dig up, it absolutely answered my question as to whether or not Venter is connected to Nalco directly. There is obviously an amiable association and working relationship there…the specifics can be ferreted out later.

For now I leave you with excerpts, videos and links relating to the BP clean-up (or cover-up?), the potential harm dispersants can cause & some of the connections between the perpetrators of this careless crime against LIFE…

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DARPA’s Living Foundries Program

Nice to see that Craig Venter is still raking in the big bucks (you know, the ones that come from our tax dollars) to keep providing nifty tools and assistance to corporations and our government alike. For those who aren’t already familiar with the good works of Doc Venter, you can read more about the man Here.

English: Educational Bus of the J. Craig Vente...

English: Educational Bus of the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US Department of Defense is pumping $15.6 million into synthetic biology research at several universities and institutes with the aim of speeding up bioengineering production.

There are eight projects being funded through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under this new initiative, called the Living Foundries Program. Research conducted under the program will seek to create the basic production methods and tools that will be required to make bio-engineering swifter and more accurate, and to design the blueprints for synthetic biology factories, according to DARPA.

The first grants awarded under this program include $4 million to the J. Craig Venter Institute; $3.7 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; $3.2 million to Stanford University; $2.2 million to the California Institute of Technology; $1 million to the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution; $910,000 to Harvard University; and $690,000 to the University of Texas at Austin. Full Story Here

Learn more about the Living Foundries Program

Living Foundries: Advanced Tools and Capabilities for Generalizable Platforms (ATCG)

Report Concludes US States’ Genetics Education Standards Fall Short

Not properly educating our kids in fields like genetics will lead to them graduate high school far behind kids of other countries and is setting them up to fall behind the global scientific community. It will impede their efforts if they wish to pursue a career in a wide variety of scientific related fields.  How can children who are ignorant of the very basics of genetics and genetic modifications be expected to compete against students from other countries who are much more educated and prepared to enter the workforce in the fields of medicine or scientific studies with much more knowledge than American graduates?

Failing to offer them the best education also leaves them open and vulnerable to abuses carried out by corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and the rest of their ilk.How will our children be able to discern when a potentially deadly genetically modified plant or food animal is introduced into their world unless they can grasp the concepts and science involved in genetic studies and modifications?

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – US high school kids may not be getting sound educations in basic genetics, and nearly all of the states do not have adequate standards to provide the knowledge required to understand the science underlying the advancing era of personalized medicine, according to a new study by the American Society of Human Genetics.

The ASHG study of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, published yesterday in the CBE-Life Sciences Journal, found that few states have standards that ensure that high school students understand the core concepts necessary for a fundamental education in modern genetics.

The study found that only seven states — Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington — have genetic standards that were rated as ‘adequate’ for teaching genetic literacy.

Of the 19 core concepts in genetics that ASHG deems essential learning, 14 were rated as being inadequately covered by the nation as a whole (or were absent altogether). And only two states, Michigan and Delaware, were rated as ‘adequate’ in more than 14 of the 19 core concept areas. Twenty-three states rated as adequate in six or fewer of the core concepts, ASHG found.

“ASHG’s findings indicate that the vast majority of US students in grade 12 may be inadequately prepared to understand fundamental genetic concepts,” Edward McCabe, executive director of the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado, said in a statement from ASHG.

“Healthcare is moving rapidly toward personalized medicine, which is infused with genetics. Therefore, it is essential we provide America’s youth with the conceptual toolkit that is necessary to make informed healthcare decisions, and the fact that these key concepts in genetics are not being taught in many states is extremely concerning,” added McCabe, who also is a pediatrician and geneticist.

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