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.

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 September 23, 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 September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Ice Age Wooly Mammoth Remains for Sale

Raw: Ice Age Wooly Mammoth Remains for Sale

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) A rare, well-preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth is going on sale at Summers Place Auctions hope the 11.5-foot tall, almost intact specimen will fetch between $245,000 to $409,000. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fox Bites Conn. Student And School Staffers In Rare Attack

Fox Bites Conn. Student And School Staffers In Rare Attack

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) A fox attacked a second-grade boy at a Connecticut elementary school Monday. It also attacked two school staff members and a woman and her dog. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tiger Kills Man at India Zoo

Raw: Tiger Kills Man at India Zoo

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) A white tiger killed a young man who climbed over a fence at the New Delhi zoo and jumped into the animal's enclosure on Tuesday, a spokesman said. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
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