Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a new technique that enables them to examine the genetic material of cells in greater detail than ever before, a finding that could lead to better ways to study and diagnose diseases.
The U of T research is published in the Dec. 22 issue of Molecular Cell. The new technique developed by the investigators uses a modified type of "gene chip" and a computer program to accurately monitor alternative splicing, a cellular process through which basic genetic material becomes more complex and acquires the ability to control genetic messages (mRNAs) that are required for the development of complex organisms.
"Now that we can look at mRNA in more detail, it has opened the door to understanding more about some diseases," explains lead investigator Professor Benjamin Blencowe of U of T’s Banting and Best Department of Medical Research (BBDMR) and the Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology, who notes out-of-control RNA splicing is involved in many human diseases, including cancers and birth defects. "The new information we can now obtain could also provide insights into new treatments."
Christina Marshall | EurekAlert!
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