2007 December

Gene Joke

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 31, 2007 in DNA Fun

laughing elmoHave a laugh before 2007 comes to an end!

Man goes to the doctor
Can you help me, I have a hereditary disease?
What disease is that?
That’s not a hereditary disease!
It is when it’s in your genes.

This joke courtesy of reader Snowy. What? You didn’t think *I* could have come up with that all on my own, did you?

Happy New Year!!

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DNA Video: Juan Enriquez, Decoding the Future with Genomics

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 29, 2007 in DNA Podcasts and Videos

Juan Enriquez, author of As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth, speaks at TED.

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(>> Start a discussion!)


Genetic Counselor Among Careers with Bright Futures

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 28, 2007 in Jobs Involving DNA

US News & World Report has come out with their list of Best Careers for 2008. Genetic counseling was one of the 31 best careers profiled based on job satisfaction, training difficulty, prestige, job market outlook, and pay. The average median salary for genetic counselors is pegged at $71,100.

Some 90 percent of genetic counselors are satisfied with their job. And it’s not surprising. Compared with other healthcare professions, your task is easier. You’re not expected to cure difficult diseases but merely to help a person explore options and provide support. So most of your clients are pleased with what you’ve done. Also, you’re not forced into 12-minute patient appointments. A session with a patient or family member often lasts an hour. Plus, the job market is growing.

sleeping_on_job_2 A friend and I also had a laugh over the inclusion of "professor" as one of the best careers of 2008. My friend is an associate professor at one of the leading research universities in the United States and neither of us could stop chortling at the cheerful and easy going "executive summary."

If you can land a tenure-track position at a four-year institution, you’ll enjoy many advantages. You’ll get the pleasure of teaching—but only six to 15 hours a week, so you’re unlikely to burn out. Outside of class, you’re required to meet with students, but that too is just a few hours a week. Most of the time, you’ll do research or write on a scholarly topic that interests you. And in some specialties, you can pick up extra money by consulting. You also get to work in a delightful work environment: a college campus. Plus, after seven years, you get tenure—lifetime job security.

Pleasure of teaching? Unlikely to burn out? Just a few hours? Scholarly topic that interests you? Extra money by consulting? Delightful work environment? Tenure = lifetime job security after just seven years? ROFLMAO Who the heck did they survey?

If your profession is one of those listed as a best career of 2008, let us know if you think US News & World Report got it right!



Google Gulp Takes a Picture of Your Genetic Profile

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 28, 2007 in DNA Products


orange google gulp Too much salty food this holiday season has made me perpetually thirsty. When I typed [thirst quenching drink] into Google, the first result I got was one for ‘Google Gulp (BETA)™ with Auto-Drink™ (LIMITED RELEASE), a line of "smart drinks" designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty.’

Think a DNA scanner embedded in the lip of your bottle reading all 3 gigabytes of your base pair genetic data in a fraction of a second, fine-tuning your individual hormonal cocktail in real time using our patented Auto-Drink™ technology, and slamming a truckload of electrolytic neurotransmitter smart-drug stimulants past the blood-brain barrier to achieve maximum optimization of your soon-to-be-grateful cerebral cortex.

Sounds like the perfect drink! The only way you can get a bottle of Google Gulp is by turning in a Gulp cap to any local retailer. Looks like I’ll have to hit up my sister for one. ;)

(>> Start a discussion!)


Eye on DNA Headlines for 26 December 2007

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 26, 2007 in DNA Testing, DNA in General, Eye on DNA Headlines

DNA Archive PDF

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Happy Holidays to You and Your DNA!

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 23, 2007 in DNA Fun

Textorized DNA

Here’s a textorized version of one of the DNA images that I use as a header image here at Eye on DNA. The phrase that’s used as strokes in this “painting” is

Happy Holidays to you and your DNA!

via Successful Blog

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(1 comment)


DNA Video: Stuart Mitchell’s Symphonic Work, DNA of a Humpback Whale

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 22, 2007 in DNA Podcasts and Videos

An extract from Stuart Mitchell’s forthcoming symphonic work based upon the translation of DNA protein sequences from various species such as a Tyrannosaurus Rex (78 Million years old), an Orchid and even Beethovens DNA exctracted from clippings of his hair, cut at the moment of his death.

This short sample here is taken from the DNA of a Humpback Whale and the protein melody has been given to a Bass Flute and the DNA sequence assigned to a Harp. The melody is unchanged and is a direct translation of the protein sequence.

The album will be available in December 2007.

more info at:


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Personal Genome Results from 23andMe and deCODEme

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 21, 2007 in DNA Podcasts and Videos, DNA in General

Personal genome results from the first wave of customers are rolling in.

Mark Fletcher of of Wingedpig has been discussing his results from 23andMe (search results from his blog).

Myles Axton of Nature Genetics has been sharing his deCODEme results at Free Association.

And Megan Smolenyak made this 17 minute screencast discussing her husband’s deCODEme results.

I’m impressed with how forthcoming people are about their genetic data. Perhaps privacy isn’t really a big deal in this age of reality television, blogs, and national DNA databases. For more on disclosing genetic information, Jason at The Personal Genome has been thinking a lot about the risks of obtaining and sharing personal genome sequences.

Have you made your genetic information publicly available? Let us know in the comments!

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DNA Excerpt: Babies by Design by Ronald M. Green

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 21, 2007 in DNA in General

babies by design ronald green

…I believe that increased genetic control lies in our future and will make that future better. We will begin with gene selection aimed at reducing the likelihood that a child will be born with a genetic disease, and eventually include changes designed to permanently eliminate serious disorders like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease from a family line. Beyond this, gene modification will encompass the first hesitant steps to improve the genetic endowment of our children so they can flourish in new ways. This may include increased natural resistance to diseases like AIDS and cancer or to problems like diabetes or obesity.

~Babies by Design by Ronald M. Green

More about the book at The Page 99 Test.

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(>> Start a discussion!)


Eye on DNA Headlines for 20 December 2007

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted December 20, 2007 in Eye on DNA Headlines

  • HamsterPowerLondonist has a yuletide touch-up photo that is proof we should be wary of genetic modification. YIKES!
  • Gene Genie #22 is up at Sandwalk.
  • A boy undergoing gene therapy for X-SCID has developed leukemia in London. He is the first among ten children treated at Great Ormond Street who has developed cancer although in 2002, four of eleven children in France undergoing the same treatment also developed leukemia.
  • The December 8th Dilbert comic strip featured this line:

    Carol used his DNA container for a snack jar, so be careful.

    Click here to learn what the whole thing is all about. And Scott Adams reveals his true naughty intentions.

  • Alan Boyle of Cosmic Log interviews Dr. J. Craig Venter. I found this bit the most interesting:

    Is there such a thing as too much information? Are there some people who don’t want to know what’s in their genes?

    In my experience, there are two groups of people: those who really want to know, and those who are afraid to know. I haven’t heard of any people who want to go halfway and see just some of their genes. Some of the same people who are afraid to know are also afraid to go to the doctor’s office, because they might get bad news by being diagnosed with a disease. But one of the major things that I’m trying to teach people is that knowledge is power. If you know this information early enough, you have a chance actually to make a change that’s meaningful to you. If you get the information too late because you waited to go to your physician, you’re in a different category.

    Which category do you belong to?

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