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Internet Based Tool, BGEM To Help In Study Of Brain Development

Researchers interested in studying about brain development can now gain access to an Internet based tool, referred to as the mouse Brain Gene Expression Map (BGEM) //. The credit for world free access to this powerful tool goes to researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

BGEM represents one of the largest gene expression maps, ever developed for a specific organ. The researchers hope that the tool may aid in identification of brain tumor origin at a genetic level, eventually paving way for the development of novel anti-cancer agents that could revolutionize brain cancer treatment.

Scientists would continuously update the BGEM web site. Out of the 25, 000 genes believed to be involved in the development of the nervous system, functional information about 30% of the genes have been deciphered so far. Mutations in these genes have been known to lead to some psychiatric disorders and brain tumors.

The human brain and mouse brain have a number of similarities, making the map crucial in study of human brain development. 'The BGEM represents a new strategy for exchanging information among researchers that will accelerate our understanding of the human nervous system. I foresee a time when researchers will be able to do certain studies to confirm hypotheses using a computer interface that links our data to many other kinds of gene information, without the need to go into a regular laboratory,' remarked Dr. Tom Curran, a leading researcher.

The growing, encyclopedia section of BGEM provides a graphic representation of more than thousands of images, as visualized under a microscope. The presence of specialized messenger RNA (mRNA) probes provides adequate information about gene expression and inactivation at each of the four stages of brain development.

These images are linked to the updated information about the genes, their location and function, in addition to the accurate DNA sequence. Scien
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