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Adding a genetic supertool
Date:12/22/2009

To identify the hemophilia mutation that affected Queen Victoria and her European relatives, scientific detectives used a cutting-edge "deep sequencing tool." Able to trace rare genetic disease mutations, the tool can turn a single laboratory into a fertile genetic research center.

Now, Tel Aviv University has its own deep sequencer one of the first in Israel a Genome Analyzer housed in a new Genome Facility.

The tool will add an important new capability to Tel Aviv University research, including identifying DNA's micro-managers, small micro-RNA that regulate how our genes work. In the world of medicine, it has already uncovered virtually undetectable traces of cancer, and in ecological research, it has been able to sequence the genes of insects to understand how they adapt to different diets in a changing world.

A cure for deafness within earshot

At Tel Aviv University, scientists have ambitious plans for their Genome Analyzer. Prof. Karen Avraham, of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, is already using it to try to discover the root cause of genetic deafness and make a cure for deafness reachable in the next decade.

"Tel Aviv University will use the Genome Analyzer to rapidly advance genomic research," says Prof. Avraham. "Our focus is on newly identified gene regulators we call microRNAs the super-stars of gene research in this decade that act as controllers of gene expression in health and disease. MicroRNAs are believed to control as much as 50 percent of our genes and to regulate many cellular pathways," she says.

"In the work at Tel Aviv University, the deep sequencer provides us with the ability to identify more critical microRNAs for example, in stem cells, in the inner ear system, and in the RNA that cause susceptibility to viral infection," says Prof. Avraham.

Purchased with a grant to the
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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