Living DNA – find out where you really come from £99 instead of £120

What you get

Living DNA is able to show you your ancestry in twice the detail of other tests. This is possible because of the scientific teams we work with, and the detailed ways in which they can explore your DNA. You can view your results online or in a personalised book, and this allows you to explore your DNA breakdown today, as well as the migration patterns of your ancestors dating back 80,000 years. Click here to find out more.


Scientists discover how to reverse aging by ‘eating’ mutant DNA

Is there really a cure for ageing? Scientists discover breakthrough procedure to replace specific parts of ageing cells by getting them to eat themselves to death.
• As we age, our mitochondrial DNA mutates, deteriorating and eventually killing off cells
• Mitochondria are inefficient naturally repairing mutations
• Scientists at Caltech and UCLA have developed a way to trigger mitochondria to clear out mutated genes
• So far its worked on flies but like may pave the way for age-halting ops on human

A landmark study has identified a new way to replace ageing cells in our body.
The research by scientists at Caltech and UCLA could pave the way to developing nip-n-tuck style procedures that reverse and slow the ageing process.

The experiment targeted mutated DNA inside our mitochondria – the ‘battery’ of our cells. As we age, our DNA breaks down and mutates. But unlike other parts of the body, the mitochondria are not very good at repairing DNA.
But now, in a groundbreaking procedure, the Caltech-UCLA team has found a way to manipulate genes so that they break down and remove mutated DNA, regenerating the cells.
The operation is a twist on an already-documented natural procedure called autophagy (‘self-eating’). As a result of autophagy, cells can digest dysfunctional mitochondria, clearing the way for healthy replacements.Research into autophagy that earned a Nobel Prize this year.But prior to the Caltech-UCLA it has not been clear whether this process could also promote the selective elimination of mutant or ageing DNA.

The accumulation of mutant mtDNA over a lifetime is thought to contribute to aging and degenerative diseases of aging such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and sarcopenia— age-related muscle loss and frailty.Inherited defects in mtDNA are also linked to a number of conditions found in children, including autism.

To test their method, the team used a common fruit fly.
They focused on mitochondrial DNA in the muscles it uses to fly, since this is one of the most energy-draining tissues in the animal kingdom.

Like in humans, fruit flies’ muscles show some of the clearest signs of ageing.
Fruit flies and humans are share many disease genes.
In the experiment, the fruit fly was genetically engineered so that 75 percent of its mtDNA was mutated early on.

They then artificially increased the activity of genes that promote mitophagy.
In doing so, the fraction of mutated mtDNA in the fly muscle cells was dramatically reduced.
One gene in particular – called ‘parkin’ – reduced the fraction of mutant mtDNA from 76 percent to 5 percent when it was overexpressed.

Our goal is to create a future in which we can periodically undergo a cellular housecleaning to remove damaged mtDNA from the brain, muscle, and other tissues
Bruce Hay, Caltech professor of biology and biological engineering
Another gene – called ‘Atg1’ – reduced the fraction to 4 percent.
These are both genes which seem to be underactive in elderly people and people with degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.

‘Such a decrease would completely eliminate any metabolic defects in these cells, essentially restoring them to a more youthful, energy-producing state,’ Professor Hay said.
‘The experiments serve as a clear demonstration that the level of mutant mtDNA can be reduced in cells by gently tweaking normal cellular processes.’
He added: ‘Our goal is to create a future in which we can periodically undergo a cellular housecleaning to remove damaged mtDNA from the brain, muscle, and other tissues.
‘This will help us maintain our intellectual abilities, mobility, and support healthy aging more generally.’

Living DNA – find out where you really came from!

Living DNA is a personal DNA service, designed to help people understand more about themselves and where they came from in unparalleled detail.

A sample is collected from inside the mouth using a swab and the DNA analysed against various DNA databases of historical population groups to track down your ancestry.

From the ability to break down your ancestry across 80 worldwide regions, making it useful for everyone no matter which countries your ancestors are from, to breaking down British ancestry among 21 regions, the power of a Living DNA ancestry test is like nothing else.


The Living DNA test costs £120 and is a popular gift

But that is only the beginning, as new discoveries are made we update your results offering you ongoing insights over time.

Living DNA is only able to establish the percentage similarity of your DNA to the population samples available in its reference dataset. With regards to historical population groups, such as the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, it can make inferences based on what present-day populations your DNA ends up being similar to, and this is included the text of your results.

This test which costs £120 may also be given as a gift. Find out more here

Immortality comes a step nearer with new longevity test

The first blood test to measure more accurately how fast our DNA is ageing has been launched in the UK.

The TAT (Telomere Analysis Technology) test, measures the length of telomeres, the tiny caps at the top of our DNA.  It’s already been scientifically proven that the shorter they become the closer we come to the end of life and/or likely to be suffering from life-threatening  diseases or accelerated ageing.
Until now the only commercially available tests have measured the average length of telomeres – not how many are ageing or the percentage that are getting shorter. The results from the test are used to measure chronological age against biological age, as indicated by the damage to telomeres. The patient would then work with his doctor to correct damage with various lifestyle and diet changes, taking another test in a year’s to check changes.
Telomere damage can be stopped and even reversed by making lifestyle changes such as taking more exercise, a healthier diet and vitamins. There are also some substances which are known as ‘telomere activators’ and promote telomorase, the enzyme which helps lengthen them. These incude some anabolic steroids and TA65, a supplement made from a plant source.
In humans, as cells replicate, the telomere length decreases, as part of the natural process of ageing. But those suffering from diseases will have far shorter than average telomeres which eventually leads to faster or total cell death.
The company behind this new development is a new Spanish biotech, Life Length, which has been spun out research by the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid and specific work by its Director Dr Maria Blasco.
The company has been partly funded by the Spanish government and US venture capital. So far $20 million has been invested over the last five years in developing and refining the technology. The test, at £650 is being made available through doctors in independent practices, who will guide a patient through the process, the results and the changes that should be made to lifestyle. Patients will also be asked, to anonymously contribute to research through a questionnaire to further enable medical knowledge into ageing diseases.
The Doctors Laboratory in London, is providing front end sample preparation for  Life Length, who will process the blood samples in their laboratories in Spain.. Click here to mail the Doctors Laboratory about tests.
Patients undergo a simple blood test through their physician.   The blood is then frozen the same day and sent to Life Length’s Madrid laboratory, where a powerful microscope is able to map the numbers of ‘critically’ short telomeres. The process is very complex, involving the ‘mapping’ of every single cell in the blood, which is why is takes a month to get the results.
At the London launch, Life Length CEO, Steve Matlin, predicted that while the test was expensive at this time, it could eventually become as readily available as cholesterol testing is today.
Matlin, a former US investment banker, has already had himself tested – to find happily that he has a biological age of 37 at the chronological age of 43.
Find out more about this new development on this video:

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Healthy lifestyle delays ageing


London: Chromosomes of people who lead a healthy lifestyle do not age as rapidly as those who have a poor diet and take little exercise.

A healthy lifestyle may also slow the process of ageing, according to a study conducted by researcher from the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and published in The Lancet Oncology.

“This might be a powerful motivator for many people to beneficially change their diet and lifestyle,” the researchers said.

The diseases of ageing have been linked to a shortening of chromosome components known as telomeres, which protect the ends of chromosomes and keep the DNA in the middle from being damaged.

Over time, telomeres shorten and both cells and DNA become more vulnerable to various forms of damage. Researchers have speculated that this may be one of the primary mechanisms connected to age-related decline. Shorter telomeres have been correlated with an increased risk of both cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Prior studies have discovered that the telomeres of smokers, the obese and those with sedentary lifestyles tend to be shorter than average. This spurred the researchers to investigate if an improvement in lifestyle could be directly connected to telomere protection.

The researchers recruited 24 men and measured their blood levels of telomerase, an enzyme responsible for repairing and adding to telomeres. They then prescribed a variety of healthy lifestyle and measured telomerase activity again after three months.

The lifestyle changes included a moderate aerobic exercise routine, classes in stress management and relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and supplements of vitamins and fish oil.

By the end of the study, telomerase activity had increased among the participants by an average of 29 percent. The level of telomerase increase was also correlated with a decrease in levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and the frequency of intrusive thoughts (a marker of stress).

First UK baby embryonically tested to prevent breast cancer born


London: The first baby in the UK to have undergone embryonic genetic screening to lessen the risk of breast cancer has been born.

Doctors at University College London said the girl and her mother were doing well following the birth earlier this week.

The embryo was screened for the altered BRCA1 gene, which would have meant the girl had a 80% chance of developing breast cancer. It was removed before conception – defined as when the embryo is implanted in the womb.

Women in three generations of her husband’s family have been diagnosed with the disease in their 20s.

This little girl will not face the spectre of developing this genetic form of breast cancer or ovarian cancer in her adult life

Paul Serhal, the fertility expert who treated the couple, said

“The parents will have been spared the risk of inflicting this disease on their daughter.

“The lasting legacy is the eradication of the transmission of this form of cancer that has blighted these families for generations.”

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) involves taking a cell from an embryo at the eight-cell stage of development, when it is around three-days old, and testing it.

Doctors then select an embryo free from rogue genes to continue the pregnancy, and discard any whose genetic profile points to future problems.

Using PGD to ensure a baby does not carry an altered gene which would guarantee a baby would inherit a disease such as cystic fibrosis, is well-established.

But in 2006, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said doctors could test for so-called susceptibility genes, such as BRCA1.

Everybody carries a version of these genes – in fact a properly functioning BRCA1 protein helps stop cancer before it starts – but some particular variations of the genes greatly increase the risk of cancer.

Carrying the key BRCA1 mutation in this family’s case would have given the increased chance of breast cancer and 50% chance of ovarian cancer later in life.

However, carrying the gene does not make cancer inevitable, and there is also a chance the disease could be cured, if caught early enough.

The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, wanted to eradicate the gene flaw from their family.

The husband’s grandmother, mother, sister and a cousin have been diagnosed with the disease.

If the 27-year-old woman and her husband had had a son, he could have been a carrier and passed it on to any daughters.

Gene therapy may offer cure for deafness

London: Research published this week in the journal Nature gives millions of deaf and hard of hearing people new hope of new gene or drug treatments for deafness and has been welcomed as a significant breakthrough by the country’s only medical research charity for deaf people, Deafness Research UK.

Deafness Research UK Research Advisory Panel member, Professor Guy Richardson, praised the work as “a technical tour de force, and very convincing proof of the principle that gene therapy could, at least in certain cases, be used to cure deafness”.

There are nine million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK and in most cases deafness results from loss of sensory cells in the inner ear known as “hair” cells. The cells can be damaged and lost through ageing, noise, genetic defects and certain drugs and, because the cells don’t regenerate, the result is progressive – and irreversible – hearing loss. Damage to these cells can also lead to tinnitus which affects around 5 million people in the UK.

The latest research, by a team at the Oregon Health & Science University, shows that a key gene known as Atoh1 (also known as Math1) can not only cause cells to develop into hair cells but that these cells function like normal hair cells.

Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK said: “This is an important and exciting step along the road towards an effective medical treatment for deafness. Deafness Research UK has a long history of supporting research into the repair and regeneration of the sensory cells in the inner ear, including work on the Atoh1 gene and on the use of stem cells to restore hearing. We will continue to work towards getting a cure for unwanted deafness into the clinic.”

John Brigande, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at the Oregon Hearing Research Center in the OHSU School of Medicine said “Our work shows that it is possible to produce functional auditory hair cells in the mammalian cochlea.”

Brigande and colleagues were able to produce hair cells by transferring a key gene called Atoh1 (also known as Math-1) into ‘progenitor’ cells in the inner ear of developing mice. This type of cell becomes specialised to perform different functions during development, according to the instructions they receive from genes. The gene Atoh1 is known to turn progenitor cells into hair cells, but it was not previously known whether the hair cells would work normally if Atoh1 was introduced artificially.

To find out, the team inserted Atoh1 into progenitor cells along with a fluorescent protein molecule that is often used in research as a marker, to make cells easily visible. They were then able to see that the gene transfer technique resulted in mice being born with more hair cells in the cochlea than are normally found.

Crucially, Dr. Anthony Ricci, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, demonstrated that the gene-treated hair cells function like ordinary hair cells.

Stem cells are a type of progenitor and so can be instructed by genes to become a specific cell-type. One obstacle in the way of stem cell research has been ethical objection to the use of embryonic stem cells. However, researchers at Sheffield University supported by Deafness Research UK are currently working on extracting stem cells from the bone marrow and blood that are found in the umbilical cord, with the aim of turning them into hair cells that could be inserted into the cochlea. The umbilical cells are in rich supply and avoid the ethical issues surrounding the embryonic cells.

About Deafness Research UK

” Deafness Research UK is the country’s only charity dedicated to finding new cures, treatments and technologies for deaf, hard of hearing and other hearing impaired people.
” The charity supports high quality medical research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of hearing impairment including tinnitus.
” The Deafness Research UK Information Service provides free information and advice based on the latest scientific evidence and informed by leading experts. The Information Service can be contacted on Freephone 0808 808 2222
” For more information on research into deafness, tinnitus and other hearing conditions, log on to the website at you can access a wide range of information. Alternatively you can e-mail Deafness Research UK at

” One in seven people in the UK – almost nine million people – suffer hearing loss.
” Deafness Research UK was founded in 1985 by Lord (Jack) and Lady Ashley of Stoke.
” In January 2008, Action for Tinnitus Research (ATR) was linked with

Deafness Research UK under a uniting direction order under Section 96 (6) of the Charities Act 1993.

Folic acid improves sperm quality, says new US report


Los Angeles: Prospective fathers should consider taking folic acid supplements to improve their chances of fathering a child, according to new US research.

A study by the University of California has found a link between high levels of the nutrient in men’s diets and the genetic quality of sperm. Those with the highest levels had the lowest proportion of sperm with genetic changes that can lead to Down’s syndrome and miscarriages.

It has already been proven that women who are trying for a baby should ensure they have adequate levels of folic acid. The B vitamin is essential for foetal development and a deficiency during the early stages of pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects in the baby, including spina bifida.

Professor Brenda Eskenazi at the University and her team looked at how micronutrients affect sperm quality. They took sperm samples from 89 healthy, non-smoking men and asked detailed questions about diet and supplement intake.

They report in the journal Human Reproduction that there was an association between levels of folate in the diet and the numbers of sperm displaying aneuploidy – chromosomal abnormalities that can lead to failure to conceive and Down’s syndrome. “There was increasing benefit with increasing intake.”

The team found no consistent association between dietary zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene and sperm quality. Eskenazi suggested men trying to father a child should consider taking multivitamin supplements containing folate.

Scientists discover new prostate cancer biomarkers


London: Uk scientists have identified seven pieces of “rogue DNA” which could put men at increased risk of prostate cancer.

Theese genetic flaws are so common that it is thought every man has at least one.

Currently men are screened for higher than normal levels of a protein known as Prostate Specific Androgen (PSA) but the results are not always accurate.

The British researchers, whose work was funded by Cancer Research UK, are developing a genetic test , which will look for 12 flaws, but it may be more than three years before it is publically available. Lead researcher Dr Ros Eeles, of the Institute of Cancer Research in London,said the team’s discovery of the seven pieces of rogue DNA – the most prostate cancer ‘hotspots’ identified in a single study – could lead to the development of new drugs.

‘These exciting results will help us to more accurately calculate the of developing prostate cancer and may lead to the development of better targeted screening and treatment,’ she said.

Wellcome Institute London unveils its 2008 programme of events


London: An analysis of 26 skeletons selected from the Museum of London’s collection of 17,000; textile designs based on patterns found in x-ray crystallography, not seen since the 1951 Festival of Britain; a newly commissioned film by Marion Coutts and an exhibition about the thoughts and wishes of the dying – are some of the forthcoming special exhibitions at Wellcome Collection during 2008. [full listings below].

2008 will end with a major exhibition exploring the complex relationship between War & Medicine and the ways in which mankind’s desire to repair and heal has tried to keep pace with its capacity to wound and kill. The exhibition will look back as far as the Crimean War and will be brought up to date by specially commissioned artwork addressing the problems of military medicine in the conflict in Afghanistan. This will be the second part of a two-phase collaboration with the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden, the first of which, Sleeping & Dreaming, opened on 28 November and closes on 9 March 2008.

Wellcome Collection www.wellcomecollection.orgthe new £30m public venue from the Wellcome Trust opened in June 2007. The building’s three galleries combine medicine, life and art to provide insight into the human condition. Exhibitions, both temporary and permanent, are supported through a public events programme that brings together experts from the arts, science and humanities to further explore human wellbeing. Wellcome Collection has been visited by over 100,000 people during its first five months of opening.

Full information on each temporary exhibition will be posted at www.wellcomecollection.orgthroughout 2008. Entry to all exhibitions is free.

Sleeping & Dreaming (28 November 2007 – 10 March 2008)

Sleeping & Dreaming, the second major temporary exhibition at Wellcome Collection, explores sleep – the mysterious state we inhabit for a third of our lives. 250 objects across five major themes enable visitors to explore the biomedical and neurological processes that take place in the sleeping body and the social and cultural areas of our lives to which sleep and dreams are linked. The exhibition is the first of a two-part collaboration with the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum in Dresden. Exhibits range from artworks by Goya, Catherine Yass, Jane Gifford and Laura Ford, to an interview with a victim of sleep-deprivation interrogation; from a vehicle designed to provide homeless people with a mobile place to sleep to an extraordinary range of alarm clocks and a collection of traditional lullabies from around the world. Sleeping & Dreaming public events are detailed below.

Life Before Death (8 April – 18 May 2008)

The German photographer Walther Schels and journalist Beate Lakotta spent a year talking with terminally ill patients in hospices across Germany. They photographed 24 consenting patients shortly before and just after they died. The resultant portraits are shown side-by-side, accompanied by a short text which describes the patient’s experience of the situation in which they find themselves – having to come to terms with the imminent end to their lives.

Atoms to Patterns (24 April – 10 August 2008)

This exhibition brings to light an extraordinary collection of vibrant textile designs from the early 1950s, most of which have been lying unseen in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum for over 50 years. For the 1951 Festival of Britain a group of designers collaborated with some of the most distinguished scientists of the period to devise a range of fabrics and furnishings based on patterns revealed by x-ray crystallography – a means of visualizing the crystal structure of both organic and inorganic materials.

Marion Coutts (30 May – 29 June 2008)

The artist Marion Coutts will present a new film, commissioned by Wellcome Collection, which will use objects from the collections of Henry Wellcome and
from the Science Museum playfully to explore the workings of memory.

Skeletons (22 July – 28 September 2008)

The Museum of London has approximately 17,000 skeletons in its care, all removed for their preservation, from building sites under different parts of London. This exhibition will present 26 of these skeletons along with all the information about their health and likely social circumstances that can be gleaned from the location in which they were found and from a detailed analysis of their bones. The skeletons featured include some dating back to Roman times and many which reveal a great deal about the health and social conditions of the period in which they lived..

War & Medicine (November 2008 – March 2009)

The third major special exhibition at Wellcome Collection and, following Sleeping & Dreaming, the second of two exhibitions devised in collaboration with the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden. War & Medicine will assess the impact and influence that warfare and medicine have had on one another. It looks at the way mankind’s desire to repair and heal has tried to keep pace with its capacity to maim and kill, meeting sometimes with success and sometimes with failure. As with Sleeping & Dreaming, this exhibition will include the perspectives of artists, writers and filmmakers as well as those of medical scientists and social historians.

wo of Wellcome Collection’s three galleries are permanent. These are:

Medicine Man (350 m2): This exhibition contains more than 500 strange and beautiful artefacts from Sir Henry Wellcome’s original collection, presented in a rich American walnut-panelled gallery, centred on a large ‘Wunderkammer’ cabinet.

Medicine Now (350 m2): The Medicine Now exhibition explores contemporary medical topics through the eyes of scientists, artists and popular culture in a bright contemporary environment.

All temporary exhibitions are supported by a series of public events that enable people to discover more about the subjects they cover. Below are the remaining public events for Sleeping & Dreaming that bring together experts from science, the arts and humanities to explore this twilight world. Events are free unless otherwise stated. All tickets must be booked in advance from < a href="">

Late-night Film Festival
Friday 25 January 2008, 19.00–23.00
Explore Wellcome Collection by night and see rare footage from the Wellcome Library collection screened alongside classic feature films and quirky shorts exploring sleeping and dreaming. Galleries, café and bookshop will be open throughout. A full screening programme will be available in December at

Catherine Yass: Artist in Conversation and premiere of new film work
Thursday 7 February 2008, 19.00–20.30

The first opportunity of seeing a new work by leading British artist Catherine Yass that documents her waking moments and dream recall. Catherine will be joined in conversation by Lux Gallery Curator, Lucy Reynolds, and will discuss her interests in sleeping and dreaming.

Speaker: Catherine Yass, artist featured in exhibition

Facilitator: Lucy Reynolds, Curator, Lux

Sleep Talk

A unique symposium exploring insomnia and sleeplessness
Friday 22 February 2008, 19.00–21.00
Saturday 23 February 2008, 10.30–17.00
Tickets: £30 / £20 concessions

This symposium will explore insomnia and sleeplessness through science, psychology, history, sociology and art. The event will begin with a special performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations by innovative classical music group, Manning Cammerata. When Johann Sebastian Bach first composed this music, it was used as a curative for Count von Kaiserling’s insomnia.

Speakers Include
Ann Coxon, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern,
Kenton Kroker, Science and Technology Studies, York University, Toronto
Eluned Sumners Bremner, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Auckland
Kevin Morgan, Director of Clinical Sleep Research Unit, Loughborough University
Chris Idzikowski, Director, Edinburgh Sleep Centre
Russell Foster, Professor of Circadian Neuroscience, University of Oxford

An End To Feeling Shattered? If you could live without sleep, would you?
Friday 28 February 2008, 19.00–20.30
Drugs that enable you to stay awake 24 hours a day have been produced but would you want them? Should they be made available? What would be the impact on your body, your relationships and your life? Join a panel of outspoken speakers to debate whether drugs are the answer to 21st-centruy life.

Simon Williams, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Warwick
Danielle Turner, Neuroscience coordinator, University of Cambridge
John Harris, Professor of Bioethics, University of Manchester

Toby Murcott, Science writer and presenter

What is the Wellcome Collection?

Wellcome Collection is a new £30 million visitor attraction from the Wellcome Trust that opened on 21 June 2007. Wellcome Collection is a world first. It combines three contemporary galleries together with the world-famous Wellcome Library, public events forum, café, bookshop, conference centre and members’ club, to provide visitors with radical insight into the human condition.

Wellcome Collection builds on the vision, legacy and personal collection of Wellcome Trust founder Sir Henry Wellcome and is part of the Wellcome Trust’s mission to foster understanding and promote research to improve human and animal health. The building is centred around three substantial galleries totalling 1350m2 and the world famous Wellcome Library.

About the Wellcome Trust:

The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK and the second largest medical research charity in the world. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending around £500 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing. Wellcome Trust funding has supported a number of major successes, including:

*sequencing the human genome
*establishing the UK Biobank
*development of the antimalarial drug artemisinin
*pioneering cognitive behavioural therapies for psychological disorders
*building the Wellcome Wing at the Science Museum
* the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, the largest ever genetic study of common diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and bipolar disorder

The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England, no. 210183

DNA clue to disease

Houston: Scientists have discovered that there may be mutations of DNA in the human populations which make some individuals more like to suffer from disease.

This is because around 10 per cent of our genes vary. This discovery means that in future it will be be easier to control common conditions.

The discovery follows on from the Human Genome project, which mapped the entire blueprint for mankind in 2003.

The new discovery by an international team of scientists has revealed that there are variations in up to 10 per cent of our genes. Previously, it was assumed that the DNA of any two humans was 99.9 per cent the same in content and identity.

The study reported in the journal Nature examined 270 people and found that for 10 per cent of our genes, many of us have more than two copies, or even some missing.

The number of genes effects potency and therefore impact on disease. So a person with extra or missing copies may not be obviously ill yet there may be an adverse affect on health.

Genome scientist supports DNA mapping for killer diseases

Washington: The American scientist who became the first to decode the human “Genome” – the DNA code for every cell in the human body – is to become the first person to map all of his own DNA.

Craig Ventor, aged 60, has already started to tailor his diet and lifestyle after discovering through DNA testing that he is susceptible to a number of hereditary illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and possible blindness and even mad cow disease.His father, for example, died at the age of 59 from cardiac arrest.

In a report in The Sunday Times he says that when people know their own genetic code they are no longer an average statistic. He also said that whilst knowing this information was helpful in making lifestyle changes there are a number of other factors that influence health outcome.

Ventor who heads the non-profit Craig Ventor Institute, a science centre in Rockville, Maryland in the US, wants DNA mapping to become available for all. He predicts that this will happen within the next decade.

DNA wrinkle buster launches in Europe

New York: A US company has launched a bespoke anti-wrinkle cream based on each customer’s DNA.

Dermagenetics, uses a testing kit to swab the inside of the cheek. Supposedly many top stars have already handed over samples. The company claims that most creams on the mass market are virtually useless and not suited to the individual genetic makeup of each person which means we are not able to utilise the benefits.

Clients of Dermagenetics are sent a kit to harness cells which are then measured for various factors including collagen breakdown, sun damage, wrinkles, environmental damage and skin health.

The cost of this high-tech beauty is high with the DNA test costing £135 and the cream costs £125 for a bottle that lasts six to eight weeks. Clinical tests are said to show that this ‘genetically guided’ cream is considerably more effective than generic night creams.

The company says that during an eight week, double-blind, randomised and experienced a substantial reduction in the appearance of wrinkles after 14 days of treatment. After 56 days, the number of participants reporting reduction in the appearance of wrinkles rose to 70 per cent.

So what is in this magic formula? No wonder ingredients, just minerals, enzymes, herbal extract and acids that are balanced to meet specific skin care requirements.

The key is that each of the ingredients is tailored to individual requirements, avoiding potential allergies and ingredients that will not be compatible with specific skin types.

The packaging is personalised with the client’s name, and the DNA studies are kept on record so that follow-up courses of creams can be bought without the need for further tests.

The Dermagenetics skin-care system measures single nucleotide polymorphism, which are responsible for DNA variations. SNPs can inhibit the body’s ability to control the build-up of free radicals, which can damage skin cells. These random mutational events that take place within our cells are now considered major contributors to a variety of skin conditions and possibly skin diseases.

But while Dermagenetics is the first organisation to be using DNA research to create skin creams, it is not the only company to believe that controlling the ageing process is made easier if we understand our own DNA.

Surracell is a ‘personal genetic health program’, which claims to identify deficiencies and damage in our DNA and provide exclusive nutraceuticals that promote cell repair and genetic health.

Clients provide a urine sample and mouth swab, which Suracell then use to study an individual’s DNA and establish levels of damage and oxidative stress.

Within three weeks, clients are offered a full DNA analysis and then prescribed a vitamin regime designed specifically to suit their genetic make-up.

FOR further information on Dermagenetics, go to or call 0173 770 0020.