Just in time for the holiday travel rush, this week’s BioGPS featured article is like something out of CSI, but for the FAA.
Turns out, the FAA has more than just a functional genomics team conducting research on all aspects of making flying safer such as:
All of which is exciting and intriguing, but before we digress any further, why is the FAA even interested in this topic?
One reason is microbes! Post-mortem microbial fermentation can produce ethanol in a cadaver, making it difficult to determine if the deceased had been drinking or not based solely on blood alcohol levels. In order to help accident investigators distinguish the source of the blood alcohol content, the FAA Functional genomics team profiled gene expression changes in the blood during acute ethanol exposure. This enabled researchers to identify several patterns of gene expression changes related to alcohol consumption as well as potential biomarkers for future investigation. Not only does this have important implications in investigating the cause of plane crashes, it also has enormous potential for verifying whether or not alcohol played a role in other accidents.
Check out the BioGPS feature here: BioGPS Featured Article – Microarray characterization of gene expression changes in blood during acute ethanol exposure | The Su Lab.
Or, do some flight sleuthing of your own before you travel. The FAA has lots of interesting figures, stats, and other info on their site, here