To create a DNA fingerprint, lobSTR first scans an entire genome to identify all STRs and what nucleotide pattern is repeated within those stretches of DNA. Then, lobSTR notes the non-repeating sequences flanking either end of the STRs. These sequences anchor each STR's location within the genome and determine the number of repeats at the STRs. Finally, lobSTR removes any "noise" to produce an accurate description of the STRs' configuration.
According to Melissa Gymrek, who is the first author of the Genome Research paper, lobSTR's ability to accurately and efficiently describe thousands of STRs in one genome has opened up many new research opportunities.
"The first and simple next step is to characterize the amount of STR variation in individuals and populations," says Gymrek, who was an undergraduate researcher in Erlich's lab when she worked on lobSTR. "This will provide knowledge of the normal range of STR alleles at each locus, which will be useful in medical genetics studies that would like to determine if a given allele is normal or likely to be pathogenic. Another direction we are looking at is to look at STRs in case/control studies to look for STRs associated with disease. The list goes on, but these are some of the first questions we're looking to tackle."
|Contact: Nicole Giese Rura|
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research