Happy DNA Day! Here’s your Alzheimer’s risk

Friday Links is a roughly weekly collection of interesting genomics-related links scraped from the interwebs by Genomes Unzipped contributors.

Happy DNA Day! Cambridge members of Genomes Unzipped will be celebrating this evening in traditional British style with a beer or two at The Eagle, the pub in which Francis Crick famously interrupted the lunches of fellow customers to announce that he and James Watson had “discovered the secret of life” (actually the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, but close enough).

Others are rejoicing in their own way. New York-based “brick artist” Nathan Sawaya, for instance, has built a massive sculpture of the the double-helical model out of LEGO bricks (left). [DM]

23andMe announced yesterday that it will now be releasing information on Alzheimer’s disease risk markers in the APOE gene to customers who purchased their recently upgraded v3 test. The APOE markers are famously associated with a major increase in risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s, with individuals carrying two copies of the ε4 version of the gene being around 15 11 times more likely than average to develop the disease. Customers who have been tested on the v3 platform will be able to able to access their APOE status after “unlocking” it; customers on earlier versions of the test will need to upgrade to get access. You can see screenshots of the unlocking and results pages here. [DM]

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2 Responses to “Happy DNA Day! Here’s your Alzheimer’s risk”


  • michael lerman

    It’s nice to have a beer and talk to friends. But the real celebrations were started by Nature in 1983 by a conference in Boston titled “30 years of DNA”. Watson and Crick were present. I remember the presentation by Leroy Hood: he stated we’ll get the genome sequence in ~20 years (not sure we had the complete sequence in 2001 or even now), but it’ll take 100 years to understand (“unzip”) the function on the base level. Then our descendants would have a real DNA Day celebration

  • “The theme of the day was ‘Molecular evolution: from pollock to people’. Among other activities, the students produced a gel that compared the muscle proteins of different fish to measure their evolutionary relatedness. Postgraduate students and staff turned out in force to help the students with the laboratory techniques and to help interpret their data. As well as practical sessions, the students were given talks on studying at Bristol and Dr Elinor Griffiths gave a seminar entitled ‘CSI mitochondria’ that explained how maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA is being used to trace human ancestry.

    In the lab students were fascinated to discover that the large model of DNA in the corner was the actual one that Francis Crick and James Watson used as part of their pioneering work on the structure of DNA in the early 1950s.”

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