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CDC sleuths work to decode DNA of germs

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The Centers for Disease Control’s scientific sleuths are beginning a new program aimed at decoding the DNA of various common (and deadly) diseases that they hope will enable them to outwit outbreaks and emerging pathogens.

While gene sequencing has been used to discover people’s ancestral roots, diagnose rare illnesses, as well as predict someone’s chances of developing cancer, researches are now attempting to map out genomes of new strains of bird flu, as well as listeria, etc, which pose major threats to large segments of the world’s population. In fact, listeria, which can prove most deadly to pregnant women, small children and the elderly, is currently the 3rd leading cause of food poisoning deaths.

The program, known as “advanced molecular detection” is being funded with $30 million granted by Congress in the hope that researchers will soon be able to “solve” the origins of outbreaks more quickly, as well as prevent infections by better understanding how they spread in the first place.



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