Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ancestry Solves Disease Riddles

Being able to find the genetic roots of idiopathic diseases (diseases that arise spontaneously) is a crucial part of finding the cures and treatments for those illnesses. However, when human genomes have literally millions of genetic variations that could effectively cause a disease, looking for a particular mutation is like looking for a needle in a haystack; the task is near impossible. But what if there was a way that the amount of variations a researcher or doctor was choosing from was significantly decreased?

A new study by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Health, and Scripps Translational Institute has proven that looking at the genomes of people with similar ancestries dramatically reduces the amount of variations produced when comparing genomes, making finding a specific genetic mutation much easier. The scientists examined the genomes of 52 individuals from 10 different populations and ancestry and compared the amount of variations between the populations and between each individual genome. The results were as expected: within a specific population and ancestry, the amount of mutations were decreased and between individual genomes of different ancestry, the amount of mutations was drastically increased.

This find is important because it will encourage the sequencing of more human genomes for use in the medical world. The more genomes that are sequenced, the more genomes will be available to compare with when trying to find a genetic mutation that may be the cause of harmful diseases for which the cure was unknown. This will make finding the mutation easier diagnosing the disease quicker, and prescribing treatment or finding a cure more efficient and faster.


No comments:

Post a Comment