‘Social network’ of genes could reveal disease pathways

genetic landscape
A genome-scale genetic interaction map. Credit: Costanzo, Baryshnikova, et al./Science

Although the human genome has been mapped, many questions remain about how genes are regulated, how they interact with one another, and what function some genes serve. A new tool developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology…[can highlight] relationships between genes and offer insights into disease, treatment and gene analogs across species.

[Study can be found here.]

“You can think of genes as being connected in a social network, where each gene is a person,” said Illinois computer science assistant professor Jian Peng.

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The researchers compared [the tool] Mashup with other gene analysis methods and found it to be faster and more accurate at predicting a gene’s function and at identifying genes of similar functions in other species. This can yield insights into human disease in cases where pathways in other organisms are better documented than in humans.

Mashup also could be a tool for studying and treating cancer, both by looking at how genetic interactions change in cancer cells and in predicting drug efficacy.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Tool to map gene’s ‘social network’ sheds light on function, interactions and drug efficacy

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