Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is DNA from mom or dad? New technique will accelerate personalized medicine

Date:
November 3, 2013
Source:
Ludwig Cancer Research
Summary:
A new technique successfully takes on a longstanding challenge in DNA sequencing -- determining whether a particular genetic sequence comes from an individual's mother or father. The method promises to accelerate studies of how genes contribute to disease, improve the process of matching donors with organs and help scientists better understand human migration patterns.

Is that DNA from Mom or Dad? A new technique successfully takes on a longstanding challenge in DNA sequencing -- determining whether a particular genetic sequence comes from an individual's mother or father.
Credit: Pavel Losevsky / Fotolia

A new technique successfully takes on a longstanding challenge in DNA sequencing -- determining whether a particular genetic sequence comes from an individual's mother or father. The method, described in a Ludwig Cancer Research study in Nature Biotechnology, promises to accelerate studies of how genes contribute to disease, improve the process of matching donors with organs and help scientists better understand human migration patterns.

"The technique will enable clinicians to better assess a person's individual risk for disease. It is potentially transformative for personalized medicine," says Bing Ren, Ludwig scientist at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who led the research on the new technique, called "HaploSeq."

"Current sequencing technologies are fast and rapidly getting cheaper -- an individual's genome can now be sequenced in about a week for $5,000," says Ren. "In the not too distant future, everyone's genome will be sequenced. That will become the standard of care." But, he explains, "There has been a problem with this scenario." Except for the sex chromosomes, everyone has two copies of each chromosome. One copy comes from mom, and the other from dad. Current techniques cannot distinguish between the two copies of each gene and, therefore, are not very good at determining whether particular genetic differences, such as a single-letter change in the DNA, originate with an individual's mother or father -- muddying genetic analyses.

Ren's new technique, a mixture of molecular biology and computational biology approaches, bypasses this problem. The method enables researchers to quickly determine which genetic variants occur together on the same stretch of chromosome and, therefore, came from the same parent. "This advance has direct implications for the utility of genomics in clinical practice and will also have profound effects on genetic research and discovery," says Ludwig scientist Siddarth Selvaraj, who contributed to the study with Ren and fellow Ludwig researcher Jesse Dixon.

More immediately, the technique will enable clinicians to better assess a person's individual risk for disease, a cornerstone of personalized medicine. For instance, people at risk for a disease such as cancer often have more than one DNA mutation. HaploSeq could enable clinicians to determine if the two mutations are on the same chromosome or on different chromosomes, which can help in risk assessment -- for instance, risk may be reduced if two mutations are on the same chromosome, since the 'good' chromosome can often compensate.

Similarly, the method, with further honing, has the potential to refine the currently cumbersome process of determining whether there is a genetic match between an organ donor and recipient. A large number of genes contribute to compatibility between donor and recipient, but there is a lot of genetic variability in these genes. The new technique could help determine whether DNA differences between donor and recipient are likely to be a good match. "This will require more study," says Ren, "but by creating a DNA database, it may be possible to more accurately and expediently pair recipients and donors."

The new method will also help researchers analyze human migration and determine ancestry from their DNA sequences. "In principal," says Ren, "you could compare your genetic sequence to your neighbor's and ask if you have any recent ancestors in common. With our technique we can study each individual and how they relate to other individuals. As we accumulate data from many individuals we can more precisely determine their relationships." Such findings will also bolster an ongoing international project to assess worldwide human genetic variation, the HapMap project.

One advantage of the new technique is that it builds on common sequencing technologies and should be easily adapted for use by clinicians and researchers alike. Says Ren, "I anticipate that this new method will be quite widely used."

This study was funded by the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Roadmap Epigenome Project (U01 ES017166).


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Ludwig Cancer Research. "Is DNA from mom or dad? New technique will accelerate personalized medicine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131103140200.htm>.
Ludwig Cancer Research. (2013, November 3). Is DNA from mom or dad? New technique will accelerate personalized medicine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131103140200.htm
Ludwig Cancer Research. "Is DNA from mom or dad? New technique will accelerate personalized medicine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131103140200.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) 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


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