Navigation Links
Meet DNA's personal assistants
Date:5/7/2009

Just as scientists finished sequencing the human genome, they got a new surprise. Inside the genetic pathway, where DNA produces proteins to sustain life, they found microRNA. These tiny ubiquitous molecules have opened a new research channel in biology, allowing scientists to more closely examine what causes genetic diseases, and what makes our cells tick.

"This is a pivotal mechanism for solving genetic diseases," says Dr. Noam Shomron of the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. "It's like the Gold Rush in the 1800s ― everywhere we look we find microRNAs."

Taking all this valuable information ― some 700 microRNA's are now indexed ― and condensing it all on a biological "DNA chip" that looks like a common scientific slide, Dr. Shomron is helping scientists the world over understand what role microRNA plays in skin, cervical and brain cancer, leukemia, HIV, depression, and schizophrenia.

A Worldwide Reach

Utilizing his basic research, Dr. Shomron developed a popular online tool that Harvard, MIT, and Yale researchers are regularly referencing to "see" what kinds of microRNAs appear in the human and other genomes. "It's like looking at the globe for first time from outer space. It's the only tool that profiles microRNA in visuals," he says.

"I am helping scientists find the microRNA fingerprint," says Dr. Shomron, who started this work at MIT. "Using the DNA chip I've built, scientists can scan all human microRNAs at the same time and associate them with various pathologies. This gives them volumes of new information about the diseases they are studying."

How It Works

Each cell in our bodies has the instructions needed for building cells identical to it encoded in its DNA. RNA is "photocopied" from DNA in the cells, and from these instructions new proteins, machines that carry out orders in the body, are built.

But somewhere along the way, the photocopied instructions of what to do can get discarded or misplaced, and this is what leads to cancer and other genetic diseases. Like mischievous "personal assistants," microRNAs connect to the photocopied message and disrupts its delivery. "Sometimes they throw out perfectly good instructions, or fail to carry out orders," says Dr. Shomron. Why they do this is the mystery that biologists everywhere want to solve. Dr. Shomron is playing no small role.

"Scientists have been trying to solve genetic diseases for many years, and God noticed we weren't vastly improving," says Dr. Shomron. This changed with the discovery of microRNAs. "When the genetic mechanism known as microRNA was described to the scientific community, we knew it would change how we studied genetic disease as we have an additional gene regulatory mechanism to look at."

Cells Behaving Badly

Scientists don't know why some breast cancer patients respond well to chemotherapy, while others do not. With the ability to provide a complete genetic profile, Dr. Shomron's research lets scientists look into a deeper layer of information about disease behavior and the potential to build specialized treatments around it. This research falls in the area known as personalized medicine.

Applications of his research can lead to understanding the effects of the environment on our cells as well. Dr. Shomron is also exploring the use of microRNA for "smart drugs" that can target individual and damaged cells.


'/>"/>

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Cells split personality is a major discovery into neurological diseases
2. Personalized treatment for early lung cancer
3. Sugar, spice and puppy dog tails: Developing sex-typed personality traits and interests
4. Selected personal letters of Max Perutz are released in new book
5. Nutrigenomics -- developing personalized diets for disease prevention -- part 2 just published in OMICS
6. Digital communication technology helps clear path to personalized therapies
7. Nutrigenomics -- developing personalized diets for disease prevention
8. Italys geologic history becomes a personal tale in Walter Alvarezs new book
9. MU researcher identifies possible genetic causes of borderline personality disorder
10. Personalized medicine: Innovative online journal leads the way
11. Researchers at UH explore patient preferences for personalized medicine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Meet DNA's personal assistants
(Date:3/28/2017)... PUNE, India , March 28, 2017 ... (Analog, IP, Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), ... Maintenance), Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", ... 30.37 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach ... 15.4% between 2017 and 2022. The base year considered ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access ... 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by ... and forecasts for all the given segments on global as well ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , ... recognition technologies, today announced the release of the ... which provides improved facial recognition using up to ... a single computer. The new version uses deep ... accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... July 18, 2017 , ... Allotrope Foundation won the ... phase of the Allotrope Framework for commercial use. , The Bio-IT World Best ... only elevate the critical role of information technology in modern biomedical research, but ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) will host Aviation Adventure Day on ... from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Indiana. ... Day will be packed with entertaining activities for the entire family. Attendees will learn ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... Ca (PRWEB) , ... July 17, 2017 , ... ... and are characterized by a wide range of overlapping clinical features. The advancement ... discovery in the field of NDD research and testing. , However, designing ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... July 17, 2017 , ... DuPont Pioneer today announced the ... (openinnovation.pioneer.com) dedicated to connecting third-party innovators with DuPont Pioneer scientists is now ... technologies, biologicals and digital solutions. , “DuPont Pioneer is building on its long ...
Breaking Biology Technology: