New method for studying gene activity developed

November 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers from UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), Harvard University and RocheNimblegen Inc. have developed a new method for examining genetic information that reveals clues to understanding gene structure and activity in the body.

The method, published today in the prestigious journal Nature Biotechnology, allows researchers to delver further than ever before into the .

It involves combining existing gene capture techniques with state-of-the-art 'deep sequencing' technology. Deep sequencing enables millions of different to be read in parallel.

The team, including Dr Tim Mercer, Dr Marcel Dinger, Ms Jo Crawford and Professor John Mattick from the IMB, used the new method to examine the human – the set of RNAs that are expressed in different cells at any particular point in time.

“Every cell in the body has a copy of the entire genome, but different cells use different ,” said Dr Mercer, who led the study.

“The transcriptome represents the collection of those that are being expressed in response to various developmental and environmental conditions.

“Understanding the transcriptome is important in understanding development and disease. For example, cancer researchers can examine the particular forms of the genes that are active in the lead-up to tumour development and understand how cancers form.”

The analysis showed the human transcriptome was even more complex than previously thought, and opened the door to further studies that can identify the differences in gene expression that cause variation between cells.

It also identified many new transcribed versions of important cancer-causing and developmental genes, as well as many novel RNAs that do not encode proteins, showing that our understanding of human gene expression is far from complete.

“This method, known as RNA CaptureSeq, can survey the entire genome at far greater resolution than previously possible to identify areas associated with complex diseases, and is also less expensive than traditional genetic analyses,” Professor Mattick said.

“Given these advantages, and the challenge of understanding the full range of gene products, we foresee RNA CaptureSeq as an important approach with a wide range of research and clinical applications,” he said.

Explore further: Genetic map reveals clues to degenerative diseases

More information: The paper can be accessed at: www.nature.com/nbt/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nbt.2024.html

Related Stories

Genetic map reveals clues to degenerative diseases

August 24, 2011

An international research team, spearheaded by Dr. Tim Mercer from The University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), has unlocked the blueprints to the ‘power plants' of the cell in an effort that ...

Cancer signatures uncovered

August 15, 2008

A new systematic analysis of the relationship between the neoplastic and developmental transcriptome provides an outline of trends in cancer gene expression. The research, published recently in BioMed Central's open access ...

New technique used to profile anthrax genome

March 20, 2009

Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have used a new approach, known as RNA-Seq, to profile the gene expression of the bacterium that causes anthrax, Bacillus anthracis. Their study, published March 20, 2009, ...

Recommended for you

SMiLE-seq: A new technique speeds up genetics

January 16, 2017

Scientists at EPFL have developed a technique that can be a game-changer for genetics by making the characterization of DNA-binding proteins much faster, more accurate, and efficient.

Study finds brain locale of metamemory in macaque monkeys

January 16, 2017

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with the University of Tokyo School of Medicine has found strong evidence for the location in the brain of metamemory in macaque monkeys. In their paper published in the journal Science, ...

Considering cattle could help eliminate malaria in India

January 16, 2017

The goal of eliminating malaria in countries like India could be more achievable if mosquito-control efforts take into account the relationship between mosquitoes and cattle, according to an international team of researchers.

How to be winner in the game of evolution

January 13, 2017

A new study by University of Arizona biologists helps explain why different groups of animals differ dramatically in their number of species, and how this is related to differences in their body forms and ways of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.