Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Methods Offer Insight into Regulatory DNA

16.12.2005


Through the Human Genome Project, the HapMap Project and other efforts, we are beginning to identify genes that are modified in some diseases. More difficult to measure and identify are the regulatory regions in DNA – the ‘managers’ of genes – that control gene activity and might be important in causing disease.



Today, a team led by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, together with colleagues in the USA and Switzerland, provide a measure of just how important regulatory region variation might be in a pilot study based on some 2% of the human genome. As many as 40 of 374 genes showed alteration in genetic activity that could be related to changes in DNA sequence called SNPs.

“We were amazed at the power of this study to detect associations between SNP variations and gene activity,” commented Dr Manolis Dermitzakis, Investigator, Division of Informatics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “We were even more amazed at the number of genes affected: more than 10% of our sample – or perhaps 3000 genes across the genome – could be subject to modification of activity in human populations due to common genetic variations.”


The study combined the map of genetic variation developed through the HapMap with estimates of gene activity obtained from cell cultures from 60 individuals who provided samples for the HapMap. More than 630 genes were studied, of which 374 were active in the cell cultures. If gene activity in a cell culture was skewed from the average, it was investigated further.

These genes were correlated with more than 750,000 SNPs – sequence differences between individuals in the sample collection. A series of statistical tests were carried out to provide increased confidence in the association between gene activity and sequence variation.

“Our sample size of 60 individuals is relatively small,” continued Dr Dermitzakis, “and we might expect not to detect rare variations. However, our pilot project gives us greater confidence to take on a genome-wide survey of gene activity.”

A global map of sequence variation and gene activity will be an important tool in the interpretation of variation and disease. Such genome-wide association studies will be able to identify some regions of the genome with strong disease effects.

“The HapMap is proving to be useful in a wide range of applications,” commented Dr Panos Deloukas, Senior Investigator, Division of Medical Genetics, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “The journey for our biomedical research is from DNA sequence to individual people and individual disease. The HapMap is a bridge from sequence data to the differences in individuals.”

The project focused on three regions of the human genome. The first, called the ENCODE regions, and about 30 million base-pairs of DNA, are being intensively studied around the world as a group of ‘typical’ human genome regions. The second was 35million base-pairs of chromosome 21 sequence: three copies of chromosome 21 lead to Down Syndrome. The third was a region of chromosome 20 – 10 million base-pairs – that is known to be associated with diabetes and obesity.

In comparison with gene sequences that contain the instructions to make proteins, regulatory regions that control genes are relatively poorly understood. Their structure is variable and their distance from the genes they control also varies among genes.

New tools are needed in the search of our genome for the sequences that contribute to disease, tools that will harness the massive amounts of DNA information and transform them into information of real biomedical utility. The methods described here, with the power of the HapMap data and the cell cultures available, will speed that transformation.

Don Powell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plosgenetics.org
http://www.sanger.ac.uk
http://www.genome.gov/10005107

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>