Internet “slacktivism” is anything but, if the latest ALS breakthrough is anything to go by, reports Wired. Scientists have discovered a new gene, called NEK1, that they no know is one of the most common genes that contributes to the motor neurone disease ALS. The discovery came about using the funds that were donated from the Ice Bucket Challenge, where people poured a bucket of ice water over their heads, recorded it, and then posted it to social media, in hopes that people would donate money to ALS research. As Wired notes, though some complained the Ice Bucket Challenge was driven by narcissism rather than the desire to help fund research, it raised enough to fund the discovery of NEK1. Regarding the discovery, Lucie Bruijn, chief scientist at the ALS Association, said, “The discovery of NEK1 highlights the value of ‘big data’ in ALS research. The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available.”MG
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