Growing the family tree

first_imgGenome-wide association studies (GWAS) have typically excluded diverse and minority individuals in the search for gene variants that confer risk of disease. Researchers at Harvard-affiliated 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.Researchers perform GWAS to identify where genetic variants responsible for causing disease are located in the genome. Recently, geneticists have begun creating models from published GWAS data to predict risks of disease in individuals. But the clinical utility of these models is currently limited, since most are based on genomic studies of people with European ancestry. “If you build disease-risk models on available data and attempt to extrapolate them to diverse populations, the accuracy of predicting who will get sick is reduced,” said Elizabeth Atkinson, lead author of the paper and an investigator in the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit (ATGU) at MGH. “These errors exacerbate existing health disparities, in part because we aren’t finding specific gene variants that may contribute to higher risk of a particular disease in diverse populations.”Another significant shortcoming of current GWAS is that “they leave many opportunities for genetic discovery on the table for all populations,” said Atkinson. People of African descent, for example, have a million more genetic variations on average than someone who doesn’t have African ancestry due to human migration patterns over the ages. Conducting a GWAS with diverse populations allows geneticists to pinpoint genetic associations to disease at many more spots across the genome, said Atkinson. “Within these genomic regions identified in a GWAS, the genetic mutation that actually causes disease is shared across ancestries most of the time,” she added. By studying admixed populations — people with recent ancestry from two or more previously isolated population groups, such as Africa and Europe — “we can get more powerful and precise genetic association signals and do a better job at pinpointing where the causal mutation is, which improves our understanding of disease for everyone.” Until now, there was no fine-scale way to control for ancestry composition in mixed groups being studied in a GWAS. “Different ancestry groups have gene variants that occur at different frequencies due to the populations’ demographic history,” explained Atkinson. “Not taking ancestry into account in a GWAS can lead to false-positive hits or to gene variants cancelling themselves out and dismissed as not important. So, until now, it’s been easier to exclude people with multiple ancestries from GWAS to avoid being confounded by different patterns of gene variants.” Tractor, however, allows researchers to account for ancestry in a precise manner so admixed individuals can be included in large-scale gene discovery efforts. The software colors pieces of each person’s chromosomes according to its ancestry origin, which researchers can infer from reference genome sequences, and uses this information in a new GWAS model. “Tractor takes into account the ancestry backbone of each genetic variant so we can correctly calibrate the GWAS results to find causal variants in specific population groups,” said Atkinson. Tractor also provides estimates of ancestry-specific effect sizes, which isn’t possible in a standard GWAS. “Instead of getting a weighted average of the disease-risk effect size for a particular gene variant, Tractor can determine how large or small the effect of a variant is in various ancestry groups,” said Atkinson. “This will be informative for building genetic risk scores in diverse populations.” Another advantage of Tractor is its ability to improve the power of GWAS by detecting risk gene variants across multiple ancestries. “With Tractor, we can get stronger disease-association signals by leveraging ancestral genomic differences,” added Atkinson.“Tractor advances the existing methodologies for studying the genetics of complex disorders in diverse and minority populations,” she said. “We hope that this method increases the inclusion of admixed participants in large-scale association studies going forward.” Major funding for this study was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. Co-authors include Mark Daly, founding chief of the ATGU and associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS); and Benjamin Neale, also of the ATGU, is associate professor of Medicine at HMS and director of Population Genetics, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, at the Broad Institute.last_img read more

World Bank unveils $12b aid package to combat coronavirus

first_img The funds, some of which are targeted to the world’s poorest nations, can be used for medical equipment or health services and will include expertise and policy advice, the bank said in a statement.The virus that erupted in central China in December has killed more than 3,000 worldwide and infected over 90,000 people.Malpass said the money – $8 billion of which is new – will go to countries that request help. The bank has been in contact with many member nations, but he did not specify which are likely to be the first to receive aid.”The point is to move fast. Speed is needed to save lives,” he said in a conference call.”We want to make the best use of the World Bank’s extensive resources and global expertise and the historical knowledge of crises,” he said, citing similar crisis funding to combat the Ebola and Zika outbreaks in recent years. The World Bank unveiled a US$12 billion aid package on Tuesday that will provide fast-track funds to help countries combat the coronavirus outbreak.”The goal is to provide fast, effective action that responds to country needs,” World Bank President David Malpass told reporters. He said it is critical to “recognize the extra burden on poor countries” least equipped in the struggle to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Topics :last_img read more

Activist Joshua Wong says he plans to run for Hong Kong legislature

first_imgHe was disqualified from running for the less important district council elections last year on grounds that advocacy of Hong Kong’s self-determination violates electoral law, which he described at the time as political censorship.Read also: Nintendo game pulled from Chinese platforms after Hong Kong protestHe intends to run in a primary for the pro-democracy camp that will choose candidates for the Legislative Council vote on Sept. 6.”If more people vote for us … it could generate more pressure and more hesitation for Beijing,” Wong said, in front of campaign posters with the slogan “Ballot, or bullet.” Prominent Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong said on Friday he planned to run for a seat in the Chinese-ruled city’s legislature, setting up a new battle with authorities after being barred from running in previous polls.Wong, who was 17 when he became the face of the 2014 student-led Umbrella Movement, has not been a leading figure of the often-violent protests that have shaken the semi-autonomous financial hub for the past 12 months.However, he has drummed up support for the pro-democracy movement overseas, meeting with politicians from the United States, Europe and elsewhere, drawing the wrath of Beijing, which says he is a “black hand” of foreign forces. Wong has said he supports the idea of a non-binding referendum for people to have a say over Hong Kong’s future but that he is against independence.Electoral rules after Hong Kong’s 1997 return to China from Britain effectively guarantee that the legislature is stacked in Beijing’s favor, with only half the seats directly elected.The rest are picked by business and professional groups called “functional constituencies,” which are dominated by pro-establishment figures.In 2016, the pan-democratic camp won 29 seats, but then lost six when candidates were disqualified after China’s national parliament ruled their oaths of office were invalid. Topics :last_img read more

New Vatican book dogged by translation errors

first_img Share Share Tweet Share The Vatican has been forced to amend its new book, YouCat, after a number of translation errors, including an implied approval of contraception.The book, a youth-focused compilation of Church teachings, was launched in several languages in the Vatican.The Italian edition has been pulled, with launch copies including an insert of corrections.The main error concerned whether married couples could plan the size of their families.In the erroneous Italian edition of YouCat, which is set out as a series of questions and answers, a question regarding family planning is mistranslated.The question “may a Christian married couple regulate the number of children they have?” is mistranslated from the German original as “may a Christian married couple use methods of birth control?”The answer is given as “yes”.The Vatican opposes artificial contraception but condones regulation of fertility through “natural” means, suggesting married couples can chart a woman’s menstrual cycle to help determine relative chances of conception.French editions of the book have been delayed and errors regarding questions about euthanasia have also been spotted in the Italian version, Associated Press news agency reports.“The German language is very difficult, as we have discovered on several occasions,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.BBC Newscenter_img Sharing is caring! 38 Views   no discussions FaithLifestyle New Vatican book dogged by translation errors by: – April 14, 2011last_img read more

‘You Lack Respect’, Nadal Tells Kyrgios after Defeat at Mexican Open

first_imgWorld number two player, Rafael Nadal, Thursday described Australia’s Nick Kyrgios as “lacking respect for the public, the rival and himself”.The 17-time Grand Slam champion lost a dramatic second-round match to world number 72 Kyrgios 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.Kyrgios served underarm late during the match against the Spaniard. Rafael Nadal Nadal said: “He’s a player who has the talent to win Grand Slams – a player who can fight for the top rankings, but there’s a reason he is where he is.”Kyrgios saved three match points before beating Nadal, who was playing his first tournament since losing to Novak Djokovic in January’s Australian Open final.“He is a very dangerous player but lacks consistency,” Nadal added.“I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I think he’s a good guy.”Kyrgios, 23, saved nine break points in the match and came from 6-3 down in the third-set tie-break to win in three hours and three minutes, before falling to the floor in celebration.“I’m different, Rafa’s different,” said Kyrgios, who will play Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals.“He doesn’t know the journey I have been through. He doesn’t know anything about me so I’m not going to listen at all.“That’s the way I play. He’s very slow in between points. The rule in the book says you have to play at the speed of the server. Rafa has the speed every time.“I’m not going to comment on his game. He has got his game and I have got mine.”At the end of the first set, Kyrgios complained to a trainer about feeling ill but said he did not want to retire because he was wary of a possible backlash.He saved four break points in the ninth game of the second set, and a further five in the sixth game of the final set.Nadal took only one of his 10 break point chances in the match.In the women’s draw, American top seed Sloane Stephens suffered a shock 6-3 6-3 defeat by Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

VB : Syracuse cruises to 3 weekend wins in Big Orange Tournament

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Down two sets to one against an upstart Youngstown State team, sophomore outside hitter Lindsay McCabe provided Syracuse with the spark it needed.The Orange, in danger of losing for the first time in 2011, trailed deep into the fourth set when McCabe blocked YSU outside hitter Missy Hundelt’s spike attempt. The block set off a celebration as Orange players screamed in excitement, coming together around McCabe on the floor.‘It’s always a game changer when you can get points and amp your teammates up,’ McCabe said. ‘I’m just glad I got my teammates riled up.’The newfound energy keyed a comeback in SU’s second game of the 2011 Big Orange Tournament over the weekend. With victories over Sacred Heart, YSU and Siena at the Women’s Building, the Orange (3-0, 0-0 Big East) extended its nonconference winning streak to 21 straight matches and captured its home tournament.The team started fast and looked dominating in three-set sweeps of Sacred Heart — an NCAA tournament team in 2010 (25-14, 28-26, 25-22) — and Siena (25-15, 25-17, 25-19).AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn the opener Friday, SU fought off late runs by Sacred Heart in the second and third sets. But the Pioneers couldn’t match the presence of junior middle blocker Samantha Hinz, who tallied seven blocks in the match.Senior outside hitter Noemie Lefebvre had a game-high 16 kills to go with nine digs and three blocks, and junior setter Laura Homann recorded 31 assists in the win.Hinz said finally playing a game was a welcome change from summer practices. And Homann said it was a relief to win the first matchup.‘Great to get the first win out of the way, especially against a team as skilled as they (Sacred Heart) are,’ Homann said.But the greatest weekend test for the Orange didn’t come from a tournament-tested opponent. SU fell behind against YSU Saturday, losing the first two sets by a combined four points.SU looked frustrated as it struggled to land serves and volleys in bounds. Homann said the team’s struggles were due to poor hitting.‘We had some things to smooth out (against Youngstown State) before we could win, that’s for sure,’ Homann said. ‘I kept telling everyone to keep their shots down — it seemed like all our hits were going out of bounds.’Despite the poor hitting, assistant coach Kelly Morrisroe wasn’t worried about an upset.‘We knew that if we played our game, settled down and placed our shots, we could still win,’ Morrisroe said. ‘What we were doing was self-inflicted.’Morrisroe was right. The Orange fixed their problems, and McCabe’s momentum-shifting block started a streak of wins in six straight sets over the final two matches en route to the tournament title.In SU’s final game against Siena, freshman outside hitter Ying Shen provided a similar spark to McCabe, recording 17 digs and 14 kills. Behind Shen’s complete performance, the Orange never trailed in the first two sets and easily won the match.McCabe said winning its first three games is a good start. She was a part of the team last year that opened the season with an 18-game winning streak but missed the NCAA tournament.‘We started fast last season, but it’s a great feeling to start fast this season,’ McCabe said.After the fast start this season, McCabe thinks her team is ready to take on more challenges, starting with the Utah State Tournament this weekend. Despite being young and inexperienced, the sophomore is confident the Orange will build on that start moving forward.‘I like the way our team looks,’ said McCabe. ‘If we play at the high level we know we can play at, we’ll be fine.’[email protected]center_img Published on August 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweetslast_img read more

Dinamo’s Arijan Ademi failed drug test after Arsenal game – in which he played all 90 minutes

first_imgDinamo Zagreb midfielder Arijan Ademi failed a drug test after their Champions League match against Arsenal last month and is under investigation by UEFA, the club said on Wednesday.”We have been informed about the results of the drug test and that our player Arijan Ademi tested positive,” the Croatian title holders said on their website (”UEFA has opened a proceeding against him and in compliance with the soccer governing body’s rules, Dinamo cannot comment until the disciplinary procedure is over and the B sample result is announced.”Dinamo beat Arsenal 2-1 at home in their Group F opener on Sept. 16 before losing 5-0 at Bayern Munich two weeks later.They are third in the section with three points from two games. Bayern lead the standings with a maximum six points while Olympiakos Piraeus are ahead of Dinamo on goal difference.Dinamo released a statement to say club officials were “surprised” with Ademi’s failed drugs test. “He had been tested six times in the past year and the results always came back negative.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

ŽKK ”Jedinstvo” is the best team in the first part of the female basketball season

first_imgThe official part of the season of female basketball competition is finished. Basketball team ŽKK ”Jedinstvo” from Tuzla dominated the competition and won against ”Borac”. With this victory they have finished the first part of the competition with maximum ten victories.Besides the team from Tuzla, female basketball teams such as ”Željezničar” and ” Borac” as well as other three teams ”Mladi Krajišnik”, ”Sloboda” and ”Čelik” will play for the title of the champion. The best two teams of this part of the season are ”Mladi Krajišnik and ”Jedinstvo” and they are expected in the final matches for the title of the champion.The competition for the title of the champion should start towards the middle of March.last_img read more

Pioneers of OKK Spars Will Participate at ‘Orlando Kids Cup’ in Zagreb

first_imgThe pioneer selection of the youth basketball club Spars from Zagreb will participate at the ‘Orlando Kids Cup’ in Zagreb on 27 and 28 December.At one of the biggest and highest quality tournaments for this age group in Europe, the Spars will play in group D together with teams from Cibona, Union Olimpija and Kastava, announced OKK Spars.The Sarajevo basketball players will play the first game on 27 December at 16:45 against Kastava. In the second game on the same day at 21:45, they will play against Cibona, and the last game of the group will take place on 28 December at 15:15 against Union Olimpija.(Source: Fena)last_img read more