Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Math Modeling Predicts Unknown Biological Mechanism Of Regulation

Date:
October 19, 2009
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
A team of scientists have demonstrated -- for the first time -- that mathematical models created from data obtained by DNA microarrays, can be used to correctly predict previously unknown cellular mechanisms. This brings biologists a step closer to one day being able to understand and control the inner workings of the cell as readily as NASA engineers plot the trajectories of spacecraft today.

Orly Alter and her students worked with John F. X. Diffley, deputy director of the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK, and members of his Chromosome Replication Lab, on experiments that were designed to test mathematical modeling to predict a previously unknown biological mechanism of regulation. The results, published online in the journal Nature Molecular Systems Biology on Oct. 13, 2009, verify the computationally predicted mechanism. Credit:
Credit: University of Texas Cockrell School of Engineering

A team of scientists, led by a biomedical engineer at The University of Texas at Austin, have demonstrated – for the first time – that mathematical models created from data obtained by DNA microarrays, can be used to correctly predict previously unknown cellular mechanisms. This brings biologists a step closer to one day being able to understand and control the inner workings of the cell as readily as NASA engineers plot the trajectories of spacecraft today.

"Thanks to the Human Genome Project, biology and medicine today may be at a point similar to where physics was after the advent of the telescope," said Orly Alter, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the university. "The rapidly growing number of large-scale DNA microarray data sets hold the key to the discovery of cellular mechanisms, just as the astronomical tables compiled by Galileo and Tycho after the invention of the telescope enabled accurate predictions of planetary motions and, later, the discovery of universal gravitation. And just as Kepler and Newton made these predictions and discoveries by using mathematical frameworks to describe trends in astronomical data, so future discovery and control in biology and medicine will come from the mathematical modeling of large-scale molecular biological data."

In a 2004 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in collaboration with the late professor Gene H. Golub of Stanford University, Alter, who holds a Ph.D. in applied physics, used mathematical techniques inspired by those used in quantum mechanics to predict a previously unknown mechanism of regulation that correlates the beginning of DNA replication with RNA transcription, the process by which the information in DNA is transferred to RNA. This is the first mechanism to be predicted from mathematical modeling of microarray data.

For the past four years, Alter and her students worked with John F. X. Diffley, deputy director of the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK, and members of his Chromosome Replication Lab, on experiments that were designed to test this prediction. The results, published online in the journal Nature Molecular Systems Biology on October 13, 2009, verify the computationally predicted mechanism.

A DNA microarray is a glass slide that holds an array of thousands of specific DNA sequences acting as probes for different genes, making it possible to record the activity of thousands of genes at once. Making sense of the massive amount of data DNA microarrays generate is a major challenge. In her Genomic Signal Processing Lab, Alter creates mathematical models by arranging the data in multi-dimensional tables known as tensors. She then develops algorithms to uncover patterns in these data structures, and is able to relate these patterns to mechanisms that govern the activity of DNA and RNA in the cell.

Funding for this research comes from the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Science Foundation, the American Institute for Mathematics and Cancer Research UK.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Math Modeling Predicts Unknown Biological Mechanism Of Regulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014102207.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2009, October 19). Math Modeling Predicts Unknown Biological Mechanism Of Regulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014102207.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Math Modeling Predicts Unknown Biological Mechanism Of Regulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091014102207.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
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