Navigation Links
Gene discovery made easier with powerful new networking technique

AUSTIN, TexasThe identification of disease-causing genes will be much easier and faster using a powerful new gene-networking model developed by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

Edward Marcotte and his colleague, postdoctoral researcher Insuk Lee, used the gene network technique to identify new genes that regulate life span and are involved in tumor development in the nematode worm.

In collaboration with Andrew Frasers group at The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the researchers manipulated the newly found genes and were able to extend the lives of the worms by 55 percent and reverse the onset of tumors.

Marcotte hopes to extend the technique to identifying genes for disease and other disorders in humans. The human genome has been sequenced, but very little is known about what more than half of about 20,000 genes do.

This is a big step forward in the rational discovery of disease genes, says Marcotte, a professor in the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology. We can use this gene modeling technique to predict the function of new genes and then run experiments to confirm the findings.

The process could greatly improve our ability to pinpoint specific genes involved in disease and aid in the development of drugs.

Marcottes research was published January 27 online in Nature Genetics.

Gene networks are models of the connections between all of the genes within an organism, and Marcotte uses them like an online social network. He learns what new genes do by the genes connections to others in the network, much like people use online social networking systems to connect with friends and others with similar interests.

You can think of it like six degrees of separation or a for genes, says Marcotte. If you know of a few genes and what they do, their friends probably do something similar, and we can find these through the network.

To build the worm gene network, Lee, a postdoctoral researcher in Marcottes group, synthesized data from about 20 million experiments from around the world. A visual representation of the networkwhich has the appeal of a work of modern artis a complex web of lines interconnecting the worms 16,000 genes.

In one set of studies, the researchers looked for genes that cause tumors in the worms. The tumors are a model for human eye cancer (retinoblastoma) and appear as growths along the length of the worms bodies.

By searching the network, they found about 170 new genes that could have been involved in the development of tumors.

Then Marcottes colleagues at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge in the United Kingdom tested the function of the new genes by inactivating them with a technique known as RNAi. The technique mimics the action of a potential drug by knocking out the function of individual genes.

They found that inactivating 16 of the 170 genes reversed tumors in the worms.

In similar studies, the researchers identified genes that regulate life span in the worms and manipulated the genes to extend the worms lives by 55 percent.

This sets the stage for making equivalent networks for the mouse and human genome, Marcotte says. Then we hope we can discover genes that are causal for disease conditions in humans.


Contact: Edward Marcotte
University of Texas at Austin

Related biology news :

1. Weird water: Discovery challenges long-held beliefs about waters special properties
2. UBC discovery unlocks tree genetics, gives new hope for pine beetle defense
3. Leading researchers and experts gather to discuss latest advancements in drug discovery
4. New discovery could reduce the health risk of high-fat foods
5. Scripps Research discovery leads to broad potential applications in CovX-Pfizer deal
6. Profound immune system discovery opens door to halting destruction of lupus
7. Galapagos and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics announce drug discovery collaboration
8. Yale discovery suggests protein may play a role in severe asthma
9. Researchers discovery may lead to hypertension treatment
10. Natural product discovery by Cleveland medical researchers blocks tissue destruction
11. Emory paleontologist reports discovery of carnivorous dinosaur tracks in Australia
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016   Acuant , ... verification solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous ... that add functional enhancements to existing physical ... and venues with an automated ID verification ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... June 15, 2016 Transparency ... titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis ... 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture recognition ... 2015 and is estimated to grow at a ... by 2024.  Increasing application of gesture ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 The Department of Transport ... the 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... announced the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement ... circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The ... in CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in ... These data will then be employed to support ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the ... such as the Cary 5000 and the 6000i models are higher end machines that ... the height of the spectrophotometer’s light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , ... compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced ... granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food ... gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin ... to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. ... microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: