Navigation Links
North Carolina-based genetic resources fuel big scientific progress

A series of 15 scientific papers published this week in the journals of the Genetics Society of America (Genetics and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics) put North Carolina at the epicenter of a scientific resource called the Collaborative Cross a "library" of genetic diversity that scientists believe can help fast-track important discoveries about genetics and disease into new discoveries, tests, and treatments that impact human health.

Researchers have long been frustrated by promising lab results that hit obstacles on the road to human application. Sometimes this is because research in other living organisms is very limited in terms of what conclusions scientists can safely extrapolate to the human population as a whole. One reason for this problem is that organisms studied in the laboratory lack the genetic diversity of humans.

To overcome this obstacle, scientists have begun to create libraries of genetic material. These libraries called Genetic Resource Panels (GRPs) enable researchers to look at how genetic variation impacts living systems in a careful and systematic manner an approach that they think will help draw more robust conclusions, often more quickly.

The Collaborative Cross, a project aimed at mirroring the diversity of human genetics in the laboratory mouse population, is one such GRP. The Collaborative Cross contains ten times the genetic diversity of a typical laboratory mouse population a level equivalent to the natural genetic variation in humans. Furthermore, the genetic diversity is spread out across the genome of the Collaborative Cross, while the limited ancestry of typical laboratory mice means that about half of the genome lacks good data for geneticists. The Collaborative Cross fills in those gaps, and the result for scientists is a fast track to understanding and testing new treatment and prevention approaches for numerous human diseases with an underlying genetic component.

The project is led by Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, PhD, in the UNC Department of Genetics and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, David Threadgill, PhD, a geneticist at North Carolina State University and UNC Lineberger member, and Gary Churchill, PhD, at The Jackson Laboratory. The mice are housed and 'curated' at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Pardo-Manuel de Villena is the lead author on the paper featured on the cover of Genetics, which provides the first comprehensive description of the mouse genome library, which is being shared with scientists across the country through an online resource called a genome browser.

He says, "It is important that all scientists have free access to this resource, which is a census of every genetic line we have and consolidates the work of researchers in the U.S., Israel and Australia in one central place."

The Collaborative Cross is a resource that is offered free to all scientists. The editors of Genetics and G3 note in an editorial accompanying the papers, "Data sharing is particularly crucial for GRPs like the Collaborative Cross. If some pieces of the puzzle have been taken off the board . . . then the puzzle is unlikely to be completed and the community resource is compromised."

This is a big responsibility, notes Terry Magnuson, PhD, Chair of Genetics at UNC-Chapel Hill and Vice Dean for Research at the UNC School of Medicine. "Just as a museum curator is responsible for the heritage of art in their facility, our colleagues at UNC and N.C. State University are responsible for the heritage of the mice in the Collaborative Cross. As scientists use this resource to find ways to prevent and address the genetic changes that cause disease, findings in laboratory experiments should be much easier to translate to humans."

Norman E. Sharpless, MD, UNC Lineberger's associate director for translational research, is collaborating with Charles Perou, PhD, co-director of the center's breast cancer research program, on studies of breast cancer using the Collaborative Cross. He says, "I expect that the results of this work will help human breast cancer patients. Huge consortia are successfully identifying regions of the genome associated with important human diseases like cancer and diabetes, but there are limitations in working with the human genome. The Collaborative Cross provides the best means to understand why certain genes are linked to certain diseases."

Pardo-Manuel de Villena notes that the Collaborative Cross would not be possible without the efforts of the collaborative cross consortium, a global group of scientists that includes National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, and National Human Genome Research Institute scientist Samir Kelada, PhD, MPH.


Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Related biology news :

1. Research around the North Pole
2. Northwest climate change is target of $3.2M in grants to University of Oregon
3. Genetic evidence for avian influenza movement from Asia to North America via wild birds
4. North American environmental commission launches trinational vaquita conservation plan
5. West Niles North American spread described
6. Dried mushrooms slow climate warming in Northern forests
7. Wildfires result in loss of forests reserved by Northwest Forest Plan
8. Queens University biologists find new environmental threat in North American lakes
9. GKSS to invest 12 million euros ($15.48 million) in a new observation system for the North Sea
10. Methyl bromide alternatives indicated for North Carolina tomato production
11. Darwin anniversary heralds new conservation research era for Northern Ireland
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/9/2016)... UAE, May 9, 2016 Elevay ... comes to expanding freedom for high net worth professionals ... in today,s globally connected world, there is still no ... could ever duplicate sealing your deal with a firm ... passports by taking advantage of citizenship via investment programs ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... BANGALORE, India and LONDON ... Infosys Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a ... ), and Onegini today announced a partnership to ... banking solutions.      (Logo: ... banks to provide their customers enhanced security to ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016 ... the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report to ... ) , ,The global gait biometrics ... of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... angles, which can be used to compute factors ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a ... $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank ... automation and to advance its drug development efforts, as ... facility. "SVB has been an incredible strategic ... services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... clinical trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. ... multiple ascending dose studies designed to assess the ... subcutaneous injection in healthy adult volunteers. ... as a single dose (ranging from 45 to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... software, is exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s ... conference. ClinCapture will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials ...
Breaking Biology Technology: