Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UNC-CH Chemists Develop Better Gene Mutation Detection Method

Date:
September 7, 1999
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
Chemists working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a simple new way of detecting tiny genetic mutations responsible for medical conditions including cystic fibrosis and cancer.

CHAPEL HILL - Chemists working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a simple new way of detecting tiny genetic mutations responsible for medical conditions including cystic fibrosis and cancer.

Those alternations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, occur when one chemical component of the genetic code is changed in some way by additions, deletions or relocations of genetic material, the scientists say. Knowing what and where those changes are is critical to finding and designing drugs that can act on them specifically without interfering with the activity of healthy genes.

Potentially, the new method could allow scientists to screen for minute changes in the genetic makeup of humans, animals, plants or viruses, UNC-CH's Dr. Holden Thorp said. Comparable techniques already available for screening genes are confined to research laboratories, are labor intensive and are therefore slow and expensive.

Dr. Patricia A Ropp, postdoctoral research associate in pharmacology at the UNC-CH School of Medicine, and Thorp, professor of chemistry, have been developing the new method. In a paper published in the September issue of the journal Chemistry and Biology, the two describe it.

"Our method uses inexpensive electronic equipment without cumbersome procedures," Thorp said. "It is based on the measurement of different but very small electrical currents generated when guanine is paired with its correct DNA chemical partner versus an incorrect chemical partner."

The incorrect chemical is a single nucleotide polymorphism mutation or SNP, he said. With the new technique, he and Ropp can detect specific mutations associated with specific diseases.

"As we can continue to make these kinds of advances, we'll eventually have a device that can be used to do these analyses routinely so that they will impact people's everyday lives," Thorp said. "It's very exciting."

The genetic code -- or proper order of smaller base elements making up the massive DNA molecule -- consists of the nucleotide "building blocks" adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine, which are abbreviated A, T, G and C, respectively, he said. Pairs of the chemicals, either A-T or G-C, line up in the DNA molecule, models of which look something like long, twisted ladders.

The National Science Foundation supported the research along with Xanthon Inc., a new company in Research Triangle Park, N.C. that has licensed rights to the invention from the university.

Xanthon's early products will be introduced in late 2000 and will use the new approach to analyze gene expression in whole cells, said Thorp.

The chemist founded Xanthon in 1996 with Jim Skinner and Carson Loomis. The company is financed by local investors, including Intersouth Partners, Franklin Street/Fairview Capital, The Aurora Funds, Centennial Ventures and the N.C. Technology Development Authority. Noro-Moseley Partners and Cordova Ventures of Atlanta also recently began funding the company.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "UNC-CH Chemists Develop Better Gene Mutation Detection Method." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907074924.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (1999, September 7). UNC-CH Chemists Develop Better Gene Mutation Detection Method. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907074924.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "UNC-CH Chemists Develop Better Gene Mutation Detection Method." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907074924.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins