* The genetic make-up of the mouse has been published - Re: Distance Related Effects near Radio and Television (Prof. Olle Johansson) - Overall mortality of cellular telephone customers (7/12/02)

Tramès per Klaus Rudolph (Citizens' Initiative Omega)

The genetic make-up of the mouse has been published

Professor Allan Bradley, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said the work underlined the importance of animal research in tackling human diseases like diabetes

"We share 99% of our genes with mice, and we even have the genes that could make a tail."

Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 19:01 GMT

You are in: Science/Nature  

The genetic make-up of the mouse has been published for the first time in a scientific journal.

The mouse book of life reveals that humans and mice share at least 80% of their genes, with only 300 unique to either organism. We share 99% of our genes with mice, and we even have the genes that could make a tail.

Dr Jane Rogers, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

About 1,200 new human genes have been discovered while mining the mouse genome. Many are involved in cancer and other human diseases and will help the search for new medical treatments. The mouse data have been produced by a number of US and UK institutions, funded by the National Institutes of Health in America and the Wellcome Trust in Britain.

A private US company has already read the mouse genome but its research is not freely available to scientists - they must pay for access.

In contrast the work done by the international consortium has been posted on the net and is available to all.

Mouse 'phrasebook'

The public draft of the mouse genetic code - published in Nature - covers about 95% of the genome.

It shows that we share about 80% of genes with the mouse, while 99% are very similar.

Dr Jane Rogers: "We have deciphered the mouse book of life." (Wellcome Trust)

A fifth of the mouse genome was generated at the Sanger Institute near Cambridge, UK.

"The entire biomedical research community can for the first time fully use this resource to tackle human diseases," said Dr Jane Rogers, head of sequencing. "They now have powerful tools that will serve them for many decades to come. "We share 99% of our genes with mice, and we even have the genes that could make a tail."

Human diseases

The information will prove crucial to researchers investigating the human genome, the complete set of biochemical instructions used by cells to build and maintain our bodies.

The mouse genome is published in Nature

The draft of the human genetic blueprint was published in 2001, and is expected to be completed next year. The mouse genome should be finished in 2005. Comparing the two genomes will help scientists understand how our cells work and why we get ill when one or more of our genes malfunction.

"We have learnt a huge amount about human medical problems by studying mouse genetics," said Professor Robert Winston, director of NHS research and development at Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital in London. "This new landmark announcement is of immense importance and will undoubtedly further our understanding of the molecular basis for human diseases and the treatment of the widest range of human disorders."

Knock-out experiments

Scientists can work out what human genes do by "knocking out" similar looking genes in mice and studying the results. Researchers can also trace the malfunctioning genes responsible for disease by examining sick mice that display symptoms apparently similar to human conditions.

Professor Allan Bradley, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said the work underlined the importance of animal research in tackling human diseases like diabetes. He told BBC News Online: "By doing a few experiments in a mouse you can get information on a disease that's going to impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of people."

The mouse genome is bundled into 20 chromosome pairs and the latest analysis suggests that it is about 2.5 billion base pairs, or "letters", in size. This makes it slightly shorter than the human genome, which has about 2.9 billion base pairs spread out over 23 pairs of chromosomes. The analysis also suggests the rodent has about 30,000 genes, a figure broadly similar to humans.

Informant: Robert Riedlinger

Re: Distance Related Effects near Radio and Television Transmitters

N.B. Dear Cyril,

Also see and consider the following:

Goldsmith JR, "TV broadcast towers and cancer: The end of innocence for radiofrequency exposures", Am J Ind Med 1997; 32: 689-692

Magras IN, Xenos TD, " RF radiation-induced changes in the prenatal development of mice" Bioelectromagnetics 1997; 18: 455-461

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Melanoma incidence and frequency modulation (FM) broadcasting", Arch Environ Health 2002; 57: 32-40

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Har tusentals personer offrats i onödan sedan 1955?" (="Have thousands of persons unnecessarily been sacrificed since 1955?"; in Swedish), Nord Tidsskr Biol Med 2002; 2: 26-27

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Cancerdödlighet och långtidssjukskrivning" (="Cancer mortality and long-term sick leave"; in Swedish), Tidskriften Medikament 2002; 7: 40-41

Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, "Cancer trends during the 20th century", J Aust Coll Nutr & Env Med 2002; 21: 3-8

Olle Johansson, assoc. prof.
The Experimental Dermatology Unit. Department of Neuroscience. Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm. Sweden

Overall mortality of cellular telephone customers

Rothman KJ, Loughlin JE, Funch DP, Dreyer NA.

Epidemiology Resources Inc., Newton Lower Falls, MA 02162-1450, USA.

Unlike mobile cellular telephones, in which the antenna is not part ofthe handset, a portable cellular telephone exposes the user's head toradio frequency energy transmitted from the antenna. This exposure hasprompted concerns about potential biological effects, including braincancer.

As a first step in a record-based mortality surveillance of cellulartelephone customers, we report on overall mortality of a cohort of morethan 250,000 portable and mobile telephone customers during 1994. Wefoundage-specific rates to be similar for users of the two types oftelephones.

For customers with accounts at least 3 years old, the ratio of mortalityrates in 1994 for portable telephone users, compared with mobiletelephone users, was 0.86 (90% confidence interval = 0.47-1.53).

Epidemiology 1996 May;7(3):303-5

Comment in:
Epidemiology. 1996 May;7(3):219.
Epidemiology. 1999 May;10(3):347.

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