Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method simplifies search for genetic changes associated with disease

07.01.2005


It is now significantly easier to search long stretches of DNA for genetic changes associated with disease, thanks to scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.



The researchers developed a method called direct genomic selection that accelerates the transition between family or population-based studies of disease inheritance patterns and identification of genetic variations that may contribute to disease. That transition normally slows down dramatically when scientists have to sequence regions of interest in patients’ DNA, determining the letter-by-letter genetic code found in those regions.

With the base sequences from many patients’ DNA, scientists can conduct comparisons that highlight the changes most commonly linked to disease, providing them the leads they need to better understand and treat a wide range of disorders.


Researchers report in the January issue of Nature Methods that they’ve already applied direct genomic selection to a region of DNA linked to psoriasis, a disfiguring and potentially debilitating inherited skin condition. "We quickly found 100 previously unidentified genetic variations with potential links to psoriasis," says senior author Michael Lovett, Ph.D., professor of genetics and pediatrics. "It really is a much quicker and more affordable way of getting at these types of variations and has potential for applications in other areas including cancer research."

Lovett is working with colleagues at the Genome Sequencing Center (GSC) at Washington University School of Medicine to make direct genomic selection available to a much wider group of researchers. The approach will further empower the University’s BioMed 21 initiative, which is dedicated to harnessing genetic studies and other basic research for improved patient diagnosis and treatment. "This is a major technological breakthrough," says Mark Johnston, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Genetics. "It’s clearly an enabling technology that will let us extract the region of interest from each individual’s DNA and sequence it."

Direct genomic selection answers a growing need for what geneticists call resequencing -- sequencing the same genetic region in many individuals.

Scientists measure DNA by its individual units of code, which are known as base pairs. Current automated DNA sequencing technology can process pieces of DNA 700 to 1,000 base pairs long, but inheritance studies can leave researchers searching for changes in segments of DNA hundreds of times longer.

Scientists formerly had only two unattractive options for circumventing this disparity and sequencing such large regions. One, which reproduces patients’ entire genomes, can take up to a year, costs tens of thousands of dollars and discards most of the genetic material produced. The other uses a process that focuses more directly on the region of interest in patients’ DNA but leaves the genetic materials in a state that requires considerable time and effort to prepare them for sequencing.

Direct genomic selection both zeroes in on the region of interest and produces genetic material in a form that can easily be prepared for automated sequencing systems, according to Lovett.

Direct genomic selection crafts what Lovett calls "fishing rods" from genetic material produced and maintained by the Human Genome Project. For that project, researchers divided the human genome into many sections and copied the sections into bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs), structures they implanted in bacteria for easy reproduction of DNA.

Scientists interested in a particular region of the human genome can now order the BAC of that region from the genome project and use Lovett’s procedure to modify the BAC with biochemical hooks, making it possible to fish out the corresponding region from a patient’s DNA for sequencing.

Lovett also developed modifications to the steps used to prepare patient DNA. The steps ensure that the material snared by the fishing rods can easily be prepared for sequencing. "The challenge now is that we have many disease genes that are not all-or-nothing factors--they can be linked to increased risk of disease, but not to guaranteed development of the disease," Lovett explains. "In some such instances, there’s concern that another gene or bit of genetic code sitting somewhere nearby, in the same approximate region, might be able to more completely explain what happens in the disease."

Direct genomic selection should also be helpful to cancer research, according to Lovett. "In many cancer cases we know there are alterations in the DNA of cancer cells--deletions, additions, or substitutions," Lovett says. "We’ve had great difficulty in narrowing those differences down, but direct genomic selection could help scientists go in, grab the appropriate region of DNA, sequence it and start to learn what’s going on."

Michael C. Purdy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>