Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists catch evolving germs and cancer cells early

Date:
March 7, 2013
Source:
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Summary:
Scientists have developed a novel technique to precisely monitor and study the evolution of micro-organisms such as viruses and bacteria. This is an extremely important capability as it allows scientists to investigate if new drugs designed to kill them are working, and to catch the development of resistance early on.

Scientists at A*STAR's Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) have developed a novel technique to precisely monitor and study the evolution of micro-organisms such as viruses and bacteria. This is an extremely important capability as it allows scientists to investigate if new drugs designed to kill them are working, and catch the development of resistance early on.

Related Articles


Micro-organisms and cancer cells evolve more quickly than normal human cells as their rapid life-cycles enable faster selection of advantageous mutations. Previously, scientists have had to wait for the selection process to reach maturity before they can observe mutations and assess their impact.

In this new work, led by GIS Principal Investigators Dr Niranjan Nagarajan and Dr Martin Hibberd, the sensitivity of detecting mutations has been significantly increased, thus making it possible to "catch evolution in real time." Being able to do this means that scientists can now observe the process of mutation as it happens, and catch how the organism or cancer cell develops resistance to drugs used.

The novel method, known as LoFreq, was achieved by combining deep sequencing of DNA with computational analysis to detect mutations at extremely "LOw FREQuency" -- in as few as one in 1000 cells. This approach is currently being used at the GIS to study the dengue virus, characterizing subtle shifts in the viral genome in response to new antiviral drugs.

Dr Nagarajan said, "LoFreq has really allowed us to look at viral genome evolution in fine detail and we hope to use it construct better models for transmission of the dengue virus. We can also now identify key functional regions in viral genomes by highlighting spots that never mutate or mutate rapidly. In ongoing work, we are developing extensions to LoFreq that can better characterize mutations in Cancer."

Executive Director of GIS, Prof Ng Huck Hui said, "This innovation in the computational space highlights GIS's effort in developing unique capabilities in analyzing increasingly complex next-generation sequencing datasets. We expect that LoFreq will have wide utility in the analysis of viral, bacterial and cancer genome data."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Wilm, P. P. K. Aw, D. Bertrand, G. H. T. Yeo, S. H. Ong, C. H. Wong, C. C. Khor, R. Petric, M. L. Hibberd, N. Nagarajan. LoFreq: a sequence-quality aware, ultra-sensitive variant caller for uncovering cell-population heterogeneity from high-throughput sequencing datasets. Nucleic Acids Research, 2012; 40 (22): 11189 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gks918

Cite This Page:

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Scientists catch evolving germs and cancer cells early." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307145744.htm>.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. (2013, March 7). Scientists catch evolving germs and cancer cells early. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307145744.htm
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. "Scientists catch evolving germs and cancer cells early." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307145744.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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