NC Science Festival Kicks Off at UNCC - myfoxcarolinas.com

NC Science Festival Kicks Off at UNCC

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“Bonjour” is a word Ellen Little is used to hearing.   She’s a French major at UNCC but she’s still taken aback by life.

“It’s fascinating.   A little too good to be true almost,” says Little.

To kick off the 2014 North Carolina Science Festival, Little was in on a discussion panel with fellow students to discuss genenomes or genetics with scientists.

“Once we have the human genome completely figured out, it seems like we should be able to solve everything,” says Little.

Something that scientists hope to be on the edge of with new tests.

“There’s a program going on right now at Harvard where they are sequencing, i think it’s a couple hundred, babies right when they’re born, and they are going to see if it helps their healthcare over the next couple of years to know their genome sequence,” says author Carl Zimmer.

Scientists hope that some of the tests might be able to determine certain diseases the baby could end up getting later in life, such as alzheimer’s.   But , Dr. Anthony Fodor says it’s more than genetics that determine these diseases; in fact the genome seems to play a small part.

“So, the environment is really important. So what we know so far is your genes control a lot but they don’t control everything, so even if you’re at risk for disease, if you, if you take care of yourself and take care of your children, you can really minimize those risks,” says Dr. Fodor.

Another interesting study involves .....human feces.

“So, if you take a fecal sample and you isolate dna from it, something like 99% of that dna is coming from bacteria. The DNA that is in the fecal samples might not be reflective of the tissues that live in the gut,” says Dr. Fodor.

Overall, the studies give hope to the panel to be able to find a cure for cancer and other diseases.   It also has inspired Little to possibly consider a career in the field.

“I was talking about that with Dr. Fodor and he mentioned that as a possibility and I haven’t dismissed that as a possibility,” says Little.

The events are free to the public and students.  To find out about the events, visit: http://ncsciencefestival.uncc.edu/


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