Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cross-species strategy might be a powerful tool for studying human disease

Date:
February 4, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
A new study takes advantage of genetic similarities between mammals and fruit flies by coupling a complex genetic screening technique in humans with functional validation of the results in flies. The new strategy has the potential to be an effective approach for unraveling genetically complex human disorders and providing valuable insights into human disease.

A new study takes advantage of genetic similarities between mammals and fruit flies by coupling a complex genetic screening technique in humans with functional validation of the results in flies. The new strategy, published by Cell Press on February 3rd in The American Journal of Human Genetics, has the potential to be an effective approach for unraveling genetically complex human disorders and providing valuable insights into human disease.

Related Articles


Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) involve sifting through the complete set of DNA from many individuals to identify genetic variations associated with a particular disease. Although this technique has proven to be a powerful tool for developing a better understanding of diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), that involve multiple genetic variations, there are substantial limitations. Perhaps most significantly, follow-up studies aimed at validating disease-associated genetic variations in humans require large sample sizes and a great deal of effort. The current study validates GWAS results by using an inventive alternative approach.

"Simple genetic models of human disease, such as in the fruit fly, have been important experimental tools for many years, particularly for large-scale functional testing of genes," explains a senior study author, Mel B. Feany, MD, PhD, from Brigham and Women's Hospital.. "We therefore hypothesized that the fly disease model might fulfill the growing need for efficient strategies for validation of association signals identified by GWAS."

Dr. Joshua M. Shulman and colleagues implemented a two-stage strategy to enhance a GWAS of AD neuropathology by integrating the results of gene discovery in humans with functional screening in a fly model system relevant to AD biology. Specifically, the researchers evaluated 19 genes from 15 distinct genomic regions identified in a human GWAS designed to identify genes that influence AD pathology. In six out of these 15 genomic regions, a causal gene was subsequently identified in the fly disease model on the basis of interactions with the neurotoxicity of Tau protein, a well-known constituent of AD pathology.

The authors also discuss the potential for application of their technique to studies examining other human diseases. "Evidence is emerging in support of a polygenic model of inheritance for complex genetic disorders, particularly neuropsychiatric diseases, in which hundreds or even thousands of common gene variants collectively contribute to disease risk," says co-author Philip L. De Jager, MD, PhD, also of Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Our strategy of coupling human GWAS with functional genetic screening in a model organism will likely be a powerful strategy for follow-up of such signals in the future in order to prioritize genes and pathways for further investigation."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joshua M. Shulman, Portia Chipendo, Lori B. Chibnik, Cristin Aubin, Dong Tran, Brendan T. Keenan, Patricia L. Kramer, Julie A. Schneider, David A. Bennett, Mel B. Feany et al. Functional Screening of Alzheimer Pathology Genome-wide Association Signals in Drosophila. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 03 February 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.01.006

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Cross-species strategy might be a powerful tool for studying human disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203124712.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, February 4). Cross-species strategy might be a powerful tool for studying human disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203124712.htm
Cell Press. "Cross-species strategy might be a powerful tool for studying human disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203124712.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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