Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Emory scientists develop new map of genetic variation in human genome

14.08.2006
Genome insertions and deletions (INDELs) provide expanded view of human genetic differences

Emory University scientists have identified and created a map of more than 400,000 insertions and deletions (INDELs) in the human genome that signal a little-explored type of genetic difference among individuals. INDELS are an alternative form of natural genetic variation that differs from the much-studied single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Both types of variation are likely to have a major impact on humans, including their health and susceptibility to disease.

The INDEL research, led by Scott Devine, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry at Emory University School of Medicine, has been posted online and will be published in the September issue of the journal Genome Research.

The human genome sequence in our DNA contains three billion base pairs of four chemical building blocks Ð adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine (A, T, C, G), strung together in different combinations in long chains within 23 pairs of chromosomes. When the first human genome was being sequenced, it became apparent that additional human genomes would have to be sequenced to identify the places in the genetic code that account for human variation. Scientists now know that humans share about 97-99 percent of the genetic code, and the remaining 1-3 percent dictates individual differences. These naturally occurring differences, called polymorphisms, help explain differences in appearance, susceptibility to diseases, and responses to the environment.

SNPs are differences in single chemical bases in the genome sequence, and INDELs result from the insertion and deletion of small pieces of DNA of varying sizes and types. If the human genome is viewed as a genetic instruction book, then SNPs are analogous to single letter changes in the book, whereas INDELs are equivalent to inserting and deleting words or paragraphs.

Most polymorphism discovery projects have focused on SNPs, resulting in the International HapMap Project Ð a catalog and map of more than 10 million SNPs derived from diverse individuals throughout the globe. Dr. Devine and postdoctoral researcher Ryan Mills, PhD, focused instead on INDELs, using a computational approach to examine DNA re-sequences that originally were generated for SNP discovery projects. Thus far they have identified and mapped 415,436 unique INDELs, but they expect to expand the map to between 1 and 2 million by continuing their efforts with additional human sequences.

Dr. Devine says INDELs can be grouped into five major categories, depending on their effect on the genome: (1) insertions or deletions of single base pairs; (2) expansions by only one base pair (monomeric base pair expansions); (3) multi-base pair expansions of 2 to 15 repeats; (4) transposon insertions (insertions of mobile elements); (5) and random DNA sequence insertions or deletions. INDELs already are known to cause human diseases. For example, cystic fibrosis is frequently caused by a three-base-pair deletion in the CFTR gene, and DNA insertions called triplet repeat expansions are implicated in fragile X syndrome and Huntington's disease. Transposon insertions have been identified in hemophilia, muscular dystrophy and cancer.

"Were entering an exciting new era of predictive health where an individuals personal genetic code will provide guidance on healthcare decisions says Dr. Devine. "Our maps of insertions and deletions will be used together with SNP maps to create one big unified map of variation that can identify specific patterns of genetic variation to help us predict the future health of an individual. The next phase of this work is to figure out which changes correspond to changes in human health and develop personalized health treatments. This could include specific drugs tailored to each individual, given their specific genetic code.

Ultimately, each person's genome could be re-sequenced in a doctor's office and his or her genetic code analyzed to make predictions about their future health. Dr. Devine believes the technology holds the promise of predicting whether a person will develop diabetes, mental disorders, cancer, heart disease and a range of other conditions.

Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.emory.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
23.01.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant
23.01.2018 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>