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Bernal, Lest Panama’s history be erased…

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Sáez

The Democratic Summer

by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

Under the title “El Veranillo Democrático” de Omar Torrijos y Nosotros (45 años después),” our fellow Panamanian Olimpo Saez Marcuci offers us an interesting testimony, duly documented, of the struggles waged against the military dictatorship that prevailed in our country from 1968 to 1989.

Through its 267 pages, Olimpo goes through, in its ten chapters in which his book is divided, without neglecting the fiery enthusiasm that always accompanied him as a student leader in the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Panama, the itinerary of riding, like Quijote, in defense of democracy and for the values of our country and its history, almost all of them suffocated by the military regime and its minions.

Likewise, hand in hand with the pen and the documents compiled by Olimpo, we revive the beginnings of the Camilo Torres Club, an active and determined organization created by Olimpo and that marked its generation of students and that, from the Law Student Center ( CED), impregnated with patriotism the fight against the Canal treaties imposed by the dictatorship.

The days of the patriotic NO are revived so that those who did not live through those years, recognize them and know the determined contribution that Olimpo and another group of young people from those years of anxiety — those of the dictatorship — take the stage so that we’ll never return to them.

As the author tells us: “So that it is not lost in the national forgetfulness, we publish in this book, some documents of our journey through Panamanian politics, with no other pretension than to leave it captured for future curious people who want to know a little about the university struggle, which grouped in the Camilo Torres Club and then in the Nationalist Action Club, born in the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Panama, and stood up against “the hard dictatorship and the soft dictatorship” for public freedoms, political debate, electoral participation, national understanding, the constitutional reforms of 1983 and the elections of 1984.”

I thank Olimpo Saez for his valuable testimony, whose reading allows our historical memory to avoid erasure from the minds and consciences of Panamanians.

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Posibilidades para magistrado del Tribunal Electoral

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TE
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¿Wappin? Negotiating stance music / Música para postura de negociación

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WTO Seattle

When The Holding Company is on the other side of the table
Cuando The Holding Company está del otro lado de la mesa

Thievery Corporation – KEXP performance
https://youtu.be/5eK6SYVyZRk

The Doors – When the Music’s Over
https://youtu.be/qpEdyPCbj60

10,000 Maniacs – I’m Not the Man
https://youtu.be/5YUg1QZ3sWY

Séptima Raíz – Deja Vu
https://youtu.be/QY-ifrCn8mw

The Rolling Stones – Citadel
https://youtu.be/fTcKGxtWe1Q

Carlos Martínez – El Presidiario
https://youtu.be/gkAdQF42em8

Cultura Profética – Ilegal
https://youtu.be/w_hdJU-tK8o

Of Monsters And Men – Dirty Paws
https://youtu.be/ot5yYrGyLg4

Iggy Pop – Some Weird Sin
https://youtu.be/L512AxIaSts

Hello Seahorse! – Criminal
https://youtu.be/AL77ojqsMqI

Bob Marley – Guiltiness
https://youtu.be/b4eJDAyOygg

Joan Baez – Preso Número Nueve
https://youtu.be/2gFn5BzwVJ0

Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’Dour & The Soweto Gosper Choir – In Your Eyes
https://youtu.be/iRSktm7GCmk

Lucinda Williams – Salt of the Earth
https://youtu.be/LUh7yx5BzD4

SOTP, Inc. – ¡No Pasarán!
https://youtu.be/MQQWFWTgvnQ

Peter Tosh – Guide Me From My Friends
https://youtu.be/vqPcpkx3Pbk

Mon Laferte – Concierto del Festival de Viña del Mar 2017
https://youtu.be/OSoCF1lud0E

 

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What Massachusetts State Rep. Dylan Fernandes said: America at its best

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MV1
“This is a community rallying to support immigrants, children and families. This is the best of America.”

In response to a political ploy by governors DeSantis
and Abbott, against people who fled from Venezuela

photos and quotations by Dylan Fernandes
St Anthony's
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Jackson, Human traffickers

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mofos
An anonymous social media meme, based on this morning’s news.

What the law says

From the United States Code:

Section 274(a)(1)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

“Sec. 274. [8 U.S.C. 1324]

(a) Criminal Penalties …

(1) (A) Any person who-

***

(ii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law; …

.. be fined under title 18, United States Code, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both …

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From Webster’s dictionary:

Legal Definition of kidnapping : an act or instance or the crime of seizing, confining, inveigling, abducting, or carrying away a person by force or fraud…

 

 

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What Raisa Banfield said: Ripping a lung out of the Metro Area / Lo que dijo Raisa Banfield: arrancarle un pulmón al área metropolitana

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map
The satellite view of the area where they would build. / La vista satelital del área donde se construiría.
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What Raisa Banfield said

This statement was swiped from her Twitter feed. Raisa Banfield, the architect, environmental activist and former vice mayor of Panama City, said on Twitter:

I observe the statements made by the Chief Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice today on TVN. I see with great concern the announcement of “a judicial city on donated land, behind the Panama Technological University.” Those are forests between the Curundú River, Camino de Cruces Park and Metropolitan Nature Park.

We continue to promote the devastation of vital natural resources for sustainability, while dozens of reverted buildings continue to deteriorate, unused, which could fulfill the functions intended by such new construction. Let’s change the “chip.”

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What used to be residential quarters at the old Fort Amador, public property held and allowed to deteriorate mostly for the convenience of private real estate interests. Posted anonymously on Twitter a few years ago. / Lo que solían ser barrios residenciales en el antiguo Fuerte Amador, propiedad pública que se mantuvo y permitió que se deteriorara principalmente por la conveniencia de los intereses inmobiliarios privados. Publicado de forma anónima en Twitter hace unos años.

 

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Tropical soils under the stresses of climate change

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the heat
The underground heating system being installed in the forest plots on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Photo by Geetha Iyer.

Researchers: tropical soils highly sensitive to global warming

by STRI & the University of Leeds

Global warming is likely to cause a decline in the number of species of microbes that live in tropical soils which could threaten the biodiversity of rainforests and increase carbon emissions, according to new research.

Microorganisms, which include bacteria and fungi, play a key role in the health of tropical forest ecosystems. They breakdown dead organic matter, either using the carbon it contains and transforming it or releasing it into the environment as CO2.

About a third of the carbon stored in soils is held in tropical soils — and they support around two-thirds of the world’s plant biomass.

Climate models suggest the tropics could warm by two to five degrees centigrade by the end of the century. To date, there has been little scientific research into the impact this level of warming could have on the tropical soil microbes that play a key role in plant health and in mediating carbon emissions into the environment.

Scientists heated a rainforest to simulate global warming

In a ground-breaking experiment on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, an international team of researchers led by the University of Leeds investigated what would happen if tropical soils were exposed to the levels of global warming that are being predicted by climate models.

They rigged an underground heating system to warm five experimental plots in a lowland tropical forest which they compared with unheated control plots.

Two years after the system was switched on, Dr. Andrew Nottingham, a forest ecologist based at Leeds who led the study, said there were two major and unexpected findings.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Microbiology, Dr. Nottingham and his team report that the biodiversity — or number of species of microbes — in the heated plots declined even though long-standing theory suggests the diversity of bacteria would increase when soil temperature goes up.

But the study found that many of the main bacterial and fungal groups in the unheated ‘natural’ plots could not be found in the heated plots, whilst they also identified bacteria and fungi in the heated plots that were not detected in the control plots.

Dr. Nottingham said: “This research is prompting us to think differently about the way a warmer climate may affect tropical soils, which support some of the world’s richest biodiversity and are a globally important store of carbon.”

“If the results that we have seen in just two years are representative of what will occur in global tropical soils, then there will be a major negative impact on the rich ecosystems they support. A major question is whether any of the microbes missing in the warmed plots played a key role in soil functioning, because we know that soil diversity is correlated with soil health. There are further likely implications for plants as tropical rainforests include associations and symbioses between microbes in the soil and the vegetation.”

!These links are highly specific — so changes in the make-up of the microbes in warming soils are likely to affect the associations, potentially making many of them impossible. So, a change in the microbe community is likely to prompt a change in the plant community above ground.”

On top of and adding to the soil on Barro Colorado Island. Photo by Jorge Alemán.

CO2 emissions increased sharply

The second major finding related to CO2 emissions from the soils. In experiments outside of the tropics, scientists have found that as temperatures rise, the amount of CO2 released into the environment increases. Given the huge amount of carbon stored in soils globally, and especially in the tropics, only a small percentage increase in the rate at which it is released could have a sizeable impact on climate change. The rate of acceleration in C02 emissions in the warmed tropical soil was three times higher than predicted.

Dr. Nottingham said: “The implications of these results is alarming – but by demonstrating how sensitive these ecosystems are to a warming climate, the results emphasize the urgency for conserving these biodiverse and carbon-rich ecosystems and to tightly limit current warming.”

Professor Patrick Meir, a lead collaborator on the project from the University of Edinburgh, added: “Climate manipulation experiments like this, set up in the natural environment, are difficult to do and are very rare, particularly in tropical forests, where biodiversity and carbon storage is very high.”

“This critical new information on the risk from climate warming both to biodiversity loss in soils and increased carbon emissions will help us predict and plan better for the changes ahead.”

The researchers acknowledged that there are still a lot of questions that need resolving, including the response of plants to warming from above-ground, and most notably that how the changes that have been seen in the experimental plots in Panama would play out across global ecosystems.

 

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Clean energy transition is actually a money saver

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¡GIGANTES!
“There is a pervasive misconception that switching to clean, green energy will be painful, costly, and mean sacrifices for us all — but that’s just wrong,” said Oxford professor and study co-author Doyne Farmer.” A windmill farm in Eastern Washington state, USA. Photo by Dennis Hamilton.

Rapid green energy transition by 2050
could save the world at least $12 trillion

by Jessica Corbett – Common Dreams

Peer-reviewed research released Tuesday by a team at the University of Oxford reveals that transitioning to 100% clean energy within the next three decades could save not only lives and the planet but also $12 trillion.

Accelerating the transition to renewable energy is now the best bet not just for the planet, but for energy costs too.

The study from the Oxford Martin Program on the Post-Carbon Transition, published in the journal Joule, comes as scientists continue to warn about the climate and health impacts of fossil fuels, and governments party to the Paris agreement prepare for COP27, a November summit in Egypt.

“There is a pervasive misconception that switching to clean, green energy will be painful, costly, and mean sacrifices for us all—but that’s just wrong,” Oxford professor and study co-author Doyne Farmer said in a statement. “Renewable costs have been trending down for decades.”

“They are already cheaper than fossil fuels in many situations, and our research shows that they will become cheaper than fossil fuels across almost all applications in the years to come. And if we accelerate the transition, they will become cheaper faster,” he explained.

Farmer also highlighted that currently, “the world is facing a simultaneous inflation crisis, national security crisis, and climate crisis, all caused by our dependence on high cost, insecure, polluting, fossil fuels with volatile prices.”

“This study shows that ambitious policies to dramatically accelerate the transition to a clean energy future as quickly as possible are not only urgently needed for climate reasons, but can save the world trillions in future energy costs, giving us a cleaner, cheaper, more energy secure future,” he said.

The study’s lead author, Rupert Way, pointed out that “past models predicting high costs for transitioning to zero carbon energy have deterred companies from investing and made governments nervous about setting policies that will accelerate the green transition and cut reliance on fossil fuels.”

“But past models have overestimated key green technology costs again and again, leaving modelers to play catch-up as real-world costs plunged over the last decade,” he stressed.

As the researchers detailed in their paper: “We use an approach based on probabilistic cost forecasting methods that have been statistically validated by backtesting on more than 50 technologies. We generate probabilistic cost forecasts for solar energy, wind energy, batteries, and electrolyzers, conditional on deployment. We use these methods to estimate future energy system costs and explore how technology cost uncertainty propagates through to system costs in three different scenarios.”

The first scenario, which they call the “fast transition,” would feature an end to fossil fuels by 2050; this is the path that they estimate would save the world $12 trillion. The second scenario, or “slow transition,” would involve shifting to clean energy by around 2070. The third scenario is “no transition,” meaning the energy system would remain dominated by fossil fuels.

“Compared to continuing with a fossil fuel-based system,” the study states, “a rapid green energy transition will likely result in overall net savings of many trillions of dollars—even without accounting for climate damages or co-benefits of climate policy.”

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“Only a few years ago, net-zero by 2050 was believed to be so expensive that it was barely considered credible, yet now even the most pessimistic models concede that it’s entirely within reach,” noted Way. “Accelerating the transition to renewable energy is now the best bet not just for the planet, but for energy costs too.”

The study was released the same day as a new United Nations report which, in the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “shows climate impacts heading into uncharted territories of destruction.”

Emphasizing that the global community is “still way off track” in terms of the Paris goal of limiting temperature rise this century to 1.5°C, Guterres—who just visited flood-ravaged Pakistan—declared that “the current fossil fuel free-for-all must end now.”

Maintaining the status quo, he warned, “is a recipe for permanent climate chaos and suffering.”

 

 

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Editorials: A judge says no; Uncle Sam alleges; and A Scot tells the truth

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Judge Baloisa
Judge Baloisa Marquínez is having none of the Martinelli games this time around. Members of Ricardo Martinelli’s phalanx of lawyers have charged her of a crime for that, and the newspapers he bought with stolen government money are raising a great hue and cry against her. Photo from a video by the Panamanian judicial system.

None of that this time

Delayed on the original date by doctors’ notes submitted by lawyers in the Martinelli entourage, the Odebrecht pretrial hearing is underway again.

There are 46 defendants accused of a vast graft scheme revolving around overpriced public works contracts with a notorious Brazil-based multinational construction conglomerate and kickback spread liberally around political systems. There were payoffs to those in power to rig the bidding and get the contracts, payoffs to the opposition to keep them from complaining and subsidies to artists, musicians and other cultural opinion makers to tamp down the public derision. Among those in the dock are two former presidents, Ricardo Martinelli and Juan Carlos Varela, who had a notorious falling out, such that in many other legal systems it would be considered an unfair trial to feature them as co-defendants.

Martinelli, who hopes to be elected president again in 2024 and has threatened retaliation against all journalists and public figures who have spoken or written about his corruption, is running a scorched earth campaign against the rule of law. The basic tactic is endless delay, until the charges against him get thrown out as too stale under Panama’s archaic version of the statute of limitation.

On day one of the pretrial the judge was hit with a barrage of nine motions to delay the proceeding. She slapped them all down and let it be known that if a lawyer pleads illness, she has public defenders in the wings to stand in.

There are surely more machinations in the works. There is surely more vilification coming from the Martinelli camp. But the whole world is watching. Panama stands to be crippled by international financial sanctions if the Martinelli show is allowed to continue. Especially if he finds a way back into the presidential palace the year after next. This is not a game. It’s a matter of national security.

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Russian authorities might truthfully publish an analogous poster of US political and intelligence operatives, and in the USA such a poster might have gone up generations earlier. Russian and American propaganda wars against each other are nothing new. These suspects are never coming to trial in the USA – their indictments were a political show but not, as the MAGAs and some journalists allege, a pack of lies. Russia did interfere. Forget about the suffix -gate and finger pointing by the operative of a terribly flawed 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign, but let’s acknowledge some basic truths. From an FBI wanted poster.

The US State Department alleges…

A report released by the US State Department accuses Russia of spending at least $300 million to influence foreign elections since 2014. Interference in the 2016 US elections, in the UK Brexit referendum campaign, funding for political parties, candidates and propositions that the Kremlin figured would advance its various goals.

Shock and outrage? This would be far from a new practice. Most US laws designed to prevent such interference date back to when the Nazis were running propaganda campaigns in the run-up to World War II. The Soviet versions of this, while also existing at the time, became a concern after World War II. What Washington now alleges seems like relatively little, given 21st century campaign costs and the habitual practices of both sides in the decades of the Cold War.

The technologies have changed since then, but whether backing a newspaper or a website, the tactics are akin.

When a candidate, political party or campaign collaborates with such foreign interlopers, however, that’s cause for concern and a proper subject of a criminal investigation.

And when a major political party is so weak as to become vulnerable to such stuff, that party and its members should, rather than just assigning blame elsewhere, do some soul searching about their vulnerability.

Let the USA be neither naive nor hypocritical, but on guard. That goes for a lot of other nations too.

~

“Rory is no Tory and he is no bootlicker either.” So it’s chanted in the Twitterverse. Scottish police and the British government aren’t releasing the suspect’s surname, probably with vain hopes that they can avoid making a celebrity out of him. Was his heckling an animalistic crime? Traditionally, Common Law jurisdictions will call it disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct or such. But Prince Andrew’s appearance in public is a clear incitement to such outbursts. It’s the pedophile prince who needs to go away into anonymity and consider himself lucky if his place of exile isn’t a prison cell. Video from the Twitter feed of Joseph Anderson, a journalist with Holyrood magazine.

Rude and out of place, maybe. Rory’s not a criminal.

“Andrew, you’re a sick old man!”

It wasn’t a polite thing to shout at a pedophile prince following his mother’s coffin in a procession in Scotland, but it was the truth. A truth for which every British subject paid, in the form of the late queen’s hush money to a woman who was trafficked to Prince Andrew when she was a girl.

The 22-year-old heckler has been released on his own recognizance, to appear in court later. Law and custom are pretty clear that it’s a disturbance of the peace to shout insults at a funeral procession.

When will Andrew Windsor appear in court to answer for his offenses? And when will we hear the British government, or the US government, let alone the Israeli government, ever say anything truthful and critical about the Israeli police attack on the funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who had been gunned down without provocation by an Israeli soldier, while she was peacefully doing her job? And did the British government ever apologize for the British Army attacks on IRA funerals during Northern Ireland’s troubles?

Let’s see some single standards, and some sense of proportion.

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Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. Portrait by Daniele da Volterra, circa 1545. Wikimedia photo of a painting on display at the Met.

Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.

Michelangelo

Bear in mind…


The greatest danger to our future is apathy.

Jane Goodall

 

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Oscar Wilde

 

Just because things hadn’t gone the way I had planned didn’t necessarily mean they had gone wrong.

Ann Patchett

 

 

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Huang, Representative samples to track down the genetics of mental illness

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NIH
Ethical and equitable scientific collaboration could help increase the genetic diversity of genomic data. Dr. Francis McMahon tracking down the genetics of the bipolar condition at a US government lab. National Institutes for Health photo.

Uncovering the genetics of mental illness requires data that aren’t just from whites – so there is global DNA collection

by Hailiang Huang, Harvard University

Mental illness is a growing public health problem. In 2019, an estimated 1 in 8 people around the world were affected by mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. While scientists have long known that many of these disorders run in families, their genetic basis isn’t entirely clear. One reason why is that the majority of existing genetic data used in research is overwhelmingly from white people.

In 2003, the Human Genome Project generated the first “reference genome” of human DNA from a combination of samples donated by upstate New Yorkers, all of whom were of European ancestry. Researchers across many biomedical fields still use this reference genome in their work. But it doesn’t provide a complete picture of human genetics. Someone with a different genetic ancestry will have a number of variations in their DNA that aren’t captured by the reference sequence.

When most of the world’s ancestries are not represented in genomic data sets, studies won’t be able to provide a true representation of how diseases manifest across all of humanity. Despite this, ancestral diversity in genetic analyses hasn’t improved in the two decades since the Human Genome Project announced its first results. As of June 2021, over 80% of genetic studies have been conducted on people of European descent. Less than 2% have included people of African descent, even though these individuals have the most genetic variation of all human populations.

To uncover the genetic factors driving mental illness, I, Sinéad Chapman and our colleagues at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have partnered with collaborators around the world to launch Stanley Global, an initiative that seeks to collect a more diverse range of genetic samples from beyond the U.S. and Northern Europe, and train the next generation of researchers around the world. Not only does the genetic data lack diversity, but so do the tools and techniques scientists use to sequence and analyze human genomes. So we are implementing a new sequencing technology that addresses the inadequacies of previous approaches that don’t account for the genetic diversity of global populations.

Ethically and equitably expanding the diversity of genomics data can help improve care and reduce disparities.

Global partnerships for global data

To study the genetics of psychiatric conditions, researchers use data from genome-wide association studies that compare the genetic variations between people with and without a particular disease. However, these data sets are mostly based on people of European ancestry, largely because research infrastructure and funding for large-scale genetics studies, and the scientists conducting these studies, have historically been concentrated in Europe and the United States.

One way to close this gap is to sequence genetic data from diverse populations. My colleagues and I are working in close partnership with geneticists, statisticians and epidemiologists in 14 countries across four continents to study the DNA of tens of thousands of people of African, Asian and Latino ancestries who are affected by mental illness. We work together to recruit participants and collect DNA samples that are sequenced at the Broad Institute in Massachusetts and shared with all partners for analysis.

Prioritizing the voices and priorities of local communities and scientists is foundational to our work. All partners have joint ownership of the project, including decision-making and sample and data ownership and control. To do this, we build relationships and trust with the local communities we are studying and the local university leaders and scientists with whom we are partnering. We work to understand local cultures and practices, and adapt our collection methods to ensure study participants are comfortable. For example, because there are different cultural sensitivities around providing saliva and blood samples, we have adapted our practices by location to ensure study participants are comfortable.

We also freely share knowledge and materials with our partners. There is a two-way exchange of information between the Broad Institute and local teams on study progress and results, enabling continual learning, teaching and unity between teams. We strive to meet each other where we are by exchanging practices and training scientists to support the development of locally grown and locally led research programs.

Researchers in the GINGER program looking at laptop together and smilingThe Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research (GINGER) program is focused on training the next generation of scientists. Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research, CC BY-NC-ND

Our collaboration with African research groups provides a prime example of our model. For example, our African research colleagues are co-leaders on the grants that fund the lab equipment, scientists and other staff for projects based at their study sites. And we help to support the next generation of African geneticists and bioinformaticians through a dedicated training program.

Analyzing variation

Collecting samples from more diverse populations is only half of the challenge.

Existing genomic sequencing and analysis technologies do not adequately capture genetic variation across populations from around the world. That’s because these technologies were designed to detect genetic variations based on reference DNA from people of European ancestry, and they reduce accuracy when analyzing sequences that aren’t derived from the reference genome. When these tools are applied to genetic data from other populations, they fail to detect much of the rich variation in their genomes. This can lead researchers to miss out on important biomedical discoveries.

To address this issue, we developed an approach to genome sequencing that can detect more genetic variation from populations around the world. It works by sequencing the exome – the less than 2% of the genome that codes for proteins – in high detail, as well as sequencing the 98% of the genome that does not code for proteins in less detail.

Different types of sequencing methods have pros and cons.

This combined approach reduces the trade-offs geneticists often have to make in sequencing projects. High-depth whole genome sequencing, which reads through the entire genome multiple times to get detailed data, is too costly to do on a large number of DNA samples. While low-coverage sequencing reduces costs by reading smaller segments of the genome, it may miss some important genetic variation. With our new technology, geneticists can get the best of both worlds: sequencing the exome in depth maximizes the likelihood of pinpointing specific genes that play a role in mental illness, while sequencing the whole genome less in depth allows researchers to process large numbers of whole genomes more cost-effectively.

Personalizing medicine

Our hope is that this new technology will allow researchers to sequence large sample sizes from a diverse range of ancestries to capture the full breadth of genetic variation. With a better understanding of the genetics of mental illness, clinicians and researchers will be better equipped to develop new treatments that work for everyone.

Genomic sequencing opened a new era of personalized medicine, which promises to deliver treatments tailored to each individual person. This can be done only if the genetic variations of all ancestries are represented in the data sets that researchers use to make new discoveries about disease and develop treatments.The Conversation

Hailiang Huang, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

 

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