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Researchers from Emory University Undertake A New Genetic Mapping

by Medindia Content Team on August 11, 2006 at 2:13 AM
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Researchers from Emory University Undertake A New Genetic Mapping

Researchers from Atlanta have announced that in a new project they've begun to draw out a new kind of genetic data that may help explain why some people are susceptible or resistant to certain diseases.

It has been reported that the synopsis of the project that is being undertaken by the researchers of the Emory University was released yesterday, the 10th August, and it is to be published in the scientific journal, Genome Research. Lisa Brooks the director of the Institute's genetic variation program, of the National Human Genome Research Institute, a federal agency, said, "The topic is quite exciting" and the Emory researchers are breaking new ground."

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The research scientists are of the opinion that in around 10 years, doctors would be able to examine the DNA of newborn babies, and compare it to a reference code of human DNA so as to anticipate an infant's vulnerability to any disease. They explained that they hope that such information could help doctors in knowing as to which medicines would work most efficiently on any particular illness that could develop in a person.

Scott Devine, an Emory assistant professor of biochemistry and the co-author the paper said, "We're entering an exciting new era of predictive health," he also added that the work by Emory should also contribute towards that. It was reported that in the year 2000 scientists had announced to finish considerably mapping the genetic blueprint for all human cells. The scientific community had heralded that breakthrough as ushering in a new era of medicine, which would, and to a certain extent has now, led to the findings of newer methods for treating and testing of the diseases.
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In 2003, scientists had published the completed human genome sequence based on the DNA obtained from about a half-dozen people. It was reported that the mapping had showed that the human genome is made from billions of chemical building blocks that appear in pairs. They explained that these blocks come in four types: adenine (A), thymine (T), cystosine (C), and guanine (G).

The scientists have since then have been concentrating their attention for mapping the tiny variations in the genetic code of an additional 36 people, attempting to try and understand as to why certain people suffer from diseases, while others don't, like for example why a non-smoker could develop lung cancer while some life long smokers do not get sick.

It was reported that a federally led mapping of the variations called "snips" _ or SNPs, an abbreviation for 'single-nucleotide polymorphisms' was published in 2005.

The scientists explained that those variations involve single-block replacements, meaning part of one person's genetic sequence might read A-T-C, but a SNP might replace a G for the C in the next person, resulting in A-T-G.

The Emory researchers explained that they used the SNP mapper's data, but used a new kind of computer-based analysis to search for another type of variation known as 'INDEL' for insertion and deletion polymorphism. They explained that in an INDEL, the building blocks are added or deleted, but not just switched on a one-for-one basis, and that an insertion or deletion can involve thousands of blocks.

The Emory researchers said that the INDEL's represent as much as 25 percent of all genetic variations. Devine said that they have already have been shown to be the cause of several genetic diseases, including cystic fibrosis.

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