Progress, and Applications
of the Human Genome Project
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
Vol.12, Nos.1-2 February 2002
In the News
Microarrays Aid Understanding of Anthrax
DNA microarrays allow the massively parallel, semiquantitative analysis of gene expression at the whole-genome level. Fabricated by robots that deposit near-microscopic spots of DNA onto solid surfaces, a single microarray can carry tens of thousands of unique DNA fragments. By exploiting DNAs ability to form highly specific base pairs, such microarrays allow samples to be checked for the presence and relative abundance of each DNA fragment represented on the array surface.
In an elegant method first reported by Patrick Brown (Stanford University), two samples can be characterized simultaneously with respect to their relative amounts of mRNA using a two-color fluorescence microarray assay. This approach allows researchers to determine how specific environmental conditions affect gene expression at the level of transcription.
Observing Radiation Effects
Understanding Anthrax Infection
Focusing on the expression pattern of 143 pX01 ORFs, a series of studies has been conducted to examine transcription-level changes in response to temperature and carbonate. Experiments conducted at LANL by Cary and James Pannucci, a postdoctoral fellow working with Cheryl Kuske, have revealed marked changes in RNA levels for a large number of ORFs. Strikingly, these experiments have revealed that 35 pX01 ORFs, in addition to the 4 previously characterized plasmid genes, respond to increases in temperature and carbonate concentration by increasing gene transcription. These ORFS provide an exciting starting point for follow-up studies designed to characterize their role in B. anthracis virulence. Data from these studies undoubtedly will play a fundamental role in revealing new key factors in B. anthracis pathogenesis.
Robert B. Cary, LANL
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Last modified: Wednesday, October 29, 2003
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