Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) researchers have developed a method that can yield more information from archived newborn blood that has implications for a vast array of research, including population health studies and answering questions about diseases in infants and children.
In a recent study published in Pathology International, VARI researchers detected approximately 9,000 activated genes in samples from adult blood spots on Guthrie cards that had been archived anywhere from six months to three years. Researchers say their modified method uses commercially available tools and can be easily adopted by others in the scientific community for use on newborn blood spots.
"Genetic information from Guthrie cards is a valuable resource," said VARI Distinguished Scientific Investigator Jim Resau, Ph.D. "It opens doors to examine risk factors and potentially diagnose diseases before the clinical features are present. One such disease might be Cerebral Palsy, which currently can't be diagnosed until a child is nearly two. The information could also be used to study pediatric cancers such as neuroblastoma, which is known to be present at birth in many cases."
Guthrie cards have been used for the past 20-30 years to collect blood for mandatory newborn screening programs in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and most countries in Europe and South America. Blood is usually collected through a heel prick 24 to 48 hours after birth and is placed on the cards, which may be archived after screening. Although genetic material in blood from Guthrie cards has been presumed to be degraded because of varying storage conditions, VARI researchers were able to detect more than 3,000 activated genes in each sample in a 2009 study, and recently, they were able to detect three times that amount using the new method.
"We were looking for the best possible way to extract the most information from blood on Guthrie cards using the least amount of this precious resource," said Resau.
"Showing that mRNA is reasonably well preserved in archived filter paper blood spots, whether frozen or not, opens up a very important avenue for clinical and translational research, especially in child health, because the largest such archive is samples used for newborn genetic screening," said Nigel Paneth, M.D., M.P.H., University Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Pediatrics & Human Development at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.
Messenger ribonucleic acid or mRNA is a molecule that carries instructions from DNA to protein making structures in cells.
Since archived blood spots can be more than 20 years old, the researchers' next step is to investigate the power of activated gene detection in various archival periods. Resau said the cards could also be used for population studies, such as finding out when a particular virus first appeared in a specific region, or levels of compounds in that region that could be affecting public health.
The researchers gratefully acknowledge support of this work by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01NS055101) via Michigan State University. The contents of the study are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or NINDS.
About Van Andel Institute
Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. VARI, the research arm of VAI, is dedicated to probing the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson and other diseases and working to translate those findings into effective therapies. This is accomplished through the work of over 200 researchers in 18 on-site laboratories and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe. VARI is affiliated with the Translational Genomics Research Institute, (TGen), of Phoenix, Arizona.
Joe Gavan | EurekAlert!
Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences