Chemistry 2011.org
Chemistry2011.org
All About Chemistry... 2011 and beyond

Related Stories

New gene sequencing technology like a high-powered microscope

A new gene sequencing technology allows us to explore the human genome at a much higher resolution than ever before, with revolutionary implications for research and cancer diagnosis.

Outperforming existing technologies, 'Capture Sequencing' (CaptureSeq) can accurately measure the activity of many specific genes in a sample -- even when they are expressed at minute levels. This will have immediate practical applications, including the diagnosis of many blood cancers.

Publishing in the journal Nature Methods, an Australian team demonstrated the strengths of CaptureSeq.

Dr Tim Mercer, Dr Michael Clark, Professor John Mattick and Associate Professor Marcel Dinger from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, who developed CaptureSeq, compared it with techniques currently in use for gene expression analysis, and found it to be much more sensitive to genes expressed at very low levels.

Until recently, it was thought that humans have around 20,000 genes -- that is, the sections of DNA that are 'transcribed' into RNA molecules, then 'translated' into the proteins that perform tasks in cells.

Protein-coding genes occupy only 2% of the genome, and their number and function remains relatively constant across the animal kingdom, from worms to humans.

We now understand that the rest of the genome is made up of genes that do not code for proteins, and that these non-coding genes create the complexity that distinguishes humans from worms.

Non-protein-coding genes perform an important regulatory function in various aspects of human development and brain function. Most are expressed only in a few cells rather than whole tissues, or they are expressed at very low levels, making them difficult to study.

The new study shows that CaptureSeq will help us uncover these rare genes by allowing us to explore specific stretches of the human genome at much higher resolution than current RNA sequencing approaches.

CaptureSeq will also enable rapid detection of diseases where diagnosis is guided by gene expression, and the genes involved are known.

Diagnosis of blood cancers, for example, will immediately improve with the availability of CaptureSeq to detect the presence of 'fusion genes'.

Fusion genes (literally two genes fused together) are found in 20-30% of cancers. There are around 200 known fusion genes in leukemia alone.

At present, patients suspected of having leukemia are tested using existing amplification-based technology, which can search for only one fusion gene at a time. Patients would rarely, if ever, be tested for all 200.

CaptureSeq can test for all 200 known fusion genes at once -- saving much time and money, and potentially saving lives.

CaptureSeq can also be used to analyse a range of solid cancers and other diseases.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Share this story with your friends!

Social Networking

Please recommend us on Facebook, Twitter and more:

Other social media tools

Global Partners
Feedback

Tell us what you think of Chemistry 2011 -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?

About us

Chemistry2011 is an informational resource for students, educators and the self-taught in the field of chemistry. We offer resources such as course materials, chemistry department listings, activities, events, projects and more along with current news releases.

Events & Activities

Are you interested in listing an event or sharing an activity or idea? Perhaps you are coordinating an event and are in need of additional resources? Within our site you will find a variety of activities and projects your peers have previously submitted or which have been freely shared through creative commons licenses. Here are some highlights: Featured Idea 1, Featured Idea 2.

About you

Ready to get involved? The first step is to sign up by following the link: Join Here. Also don’t forget to fill out your profile including any professional designations.

Global Partners