Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genome exposes buried bugs

14.01.2002


Knowing the human genetic sequence helps unearth invaders.


Human DNA analysis catches disease-causing culprits.
© SPL



Human DNA is a new device for disease detectives. The database of human genetics can expose misfit microbe genes in diseased tissues, a US team have found.

Matthew Meyerson, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and his colleagues compared 7,000 DNA sequences extracted from cervical cancer cells to the vast database of human genes - and pulled out two misfits. Both were from a virus known to cause the cancer1.


"I was delighted," says Meyerson apropos his find. He hopes to identify infectious bugs or viruses that are implicated in disease using the technique.

"It’s promising," agrees pathologist Patrick Moore of Columbia University in New York. Infection is thought to trigger the onset of some cancers, as well as autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, but the identity of the bacteria or viruses at work remain unknown. A new method "is critically needed", claims Meyerson.

Tracking down a microbe’s few incriminating genes amongst the many thousand human ones "is a hell of a hard thing to do", says Moore. He likens it to searching through two versions of the Oxford English Dictionary for a single missing word.

Researchers pull off the feat by creating libraries of active genes from healthy and diseased human tissues; the latter incorporate those of resident pathogens. Previously, researchers compared the two by hand - a time-consuming process.

The findings may prompt many to turn to computers for their screening studies, predicts Moore. High-throughput techniques can now quickly determine the DNA make-up of genes in a library; comparing them to sequences in the human-genome database takes only an hour on a desktop computer. Meyerson’s group plans to create and sequence libraries from many diseased tissues.

But some microbes may be hard to pin down, warns Moore. Many bacteria and viruses naturally inhabit the body and it may be difficult to sift these from those that cause disease.

References
  1. Weber, G. et al. Identification of foreign gene sequences by transcript filtering against the human genome. Nature Genetics, DOI 10.1038/hg818, (2002).


HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>