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Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics announces major breakthrough
Date:9/24/2008

Speaking at the 10th anniversary conference of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics in Berne, Switzerland, its director Professor Ron Appel described his institute as a "Swiss success story". He said that he was proud that as pioneers at the heart of science one of the SIB's 25 working groups was today able to announce the completion of the annotation of human proteins.

Professor Amos Bairoch, head of the SIB's Swiss-Prot group said: "If human DNA is the script of life, proteins are its actors, its living embodiment."

He added that the human genome-sequencing project produced a dictionary. This new encyclopaedia takes one major step further by looking at life as it is really organised in our body at the molecular level. The results will speed up the scientific work which aims to improve our quality of life. Particularly when it comes to understanding what life is, and how we can combat genetic-based diseases.

While proteins are the essence of life, when they become defective they can cause much suffering and often early death. Man's knowledge of proteins such as insulin and haemoglobins is crucial to combating diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis and haemophilia.

Professor Bairoch said, "The general public would understand some of the entries in our protein encyclopaedia. Insulin, for instance, is a small protein that controls glucose levels in our blood. The performance-booster EPO is the protein used illegally by some cyclists. In the human body it takes many forms. But we detect its use in sport because competitors use a manufactured form which is not natural."

The new protein encyclopaedia, which will evolve further as our knowledge is refined, now informs a major part of the work of thousands of health researchers around the word. The data covers 20,325 human proteins. The information could ultimately be used for developing exact treatments for individual patients based o
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Contact: Janice Blondeau
janice.blondeau@isb-sib.ch
41-216-924-054
Swiss Institute of Bioinoformatics
Source:Eurekalert

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