I have blogged before on scientific issues and how I have been concerned that we are losing our edge in science. On the other hand, it is not all bad news. When science is held back in the U.S. by cuts in budgets for basic research, and ideologically motivated decisions to attack science, it is nice to realize that there is a big world out there where research continues unabated.
With this in mind, I was heartened to read a story on chromosome transplants into mice.
The research, carried out by Elizabeth Fisher at the Institute of Neurology and Victor Tybulewicz at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, transplants a particular sequence of human genes into mice. The sequence in question is the same one that is associated with Down's syndrome. In addition, according to Dr Tybulewicz, genetic tests on the mice, which will systematically knock out different genes on the transplanted chromosome, will help identify which gene or genes cause each of the symptoms common to people with Down's syndrome. He said, "This should illuminate which genes lead to heart defects, the higher risk of leukaemia and early onset Alzheimer's,"
This is exciting news, and it is nice to see that basic research is moving forward with the hope of someday providing the cures that will help billions of people.