DNA ‘Snapshot’ facial modeling–and predicting future Alzheimer’s risk

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/SNPSHT-Example-1-1024×972.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]It sounds like something from an episode of ‘Law & Order’ (US or UK), but extracting facial appearance and ancestry from a forensic DNA sample isn’t fiction anymore. Parabon NanoLabs was funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop Snapshot originally to dismantle improvised explosive device networks in Iraq and Afghanistan. The methodology was then transferred to DNA analysis. Parabon uses data mining and advanced machine learning to predict how the single nucleotide polymorphisms of the genome will make someone appear. This appearance profiling includes eye color, skin color, hair color, face morphology, and detailed biogeographic ancestry (see left above). The forensic art alone can age up or down the subject, adding or subtracting glasses and facial hair. These factors have successfully focused investigations for over 80 law enforcement agencies. According to Armed with Science, Parabon is now transferring the technology to predict an individual’s lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s–certainly a revolutionary use in healthcare technology.

Polymers to prevent infections, binding molecules for detection

A multiple-university team along with the US Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC) was granted a patent for antimicrobial polymers which could be used in wearables and in other products such as medical implants, filtration systems and paints. Surface-grafted antimicrobial polymers trap and kill bacteria either by itself or activated by light. Incorporating Antimicrobial Polymers to Protect Warfighters (Armed With Science)

Get your favorite PhD or biotech researcher to interpret this article, which describes an approach developed at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO).  Biosensors for detection of chemical and biological threats and enable better post-exposure treatments use binding molecules on demand (BMOD–remember, this is the Army). Binding Molecules on Demand  and Could a Computer-designed Protein Protect Soldiers? Developers: think about combining the two to support better health in hospitals, transplant patients, older adults and those with compromised immune systems–or children in those petri dishes called ‘school’.