Genomics: The single life

Genomics: The single life

In an article published on the 31st October issue of Nature, Brian Owens a science reporter emphasizes on the importance of carrying out cancer research with single cells  in order to observe the type of mutations that occur in individual cells and how such mutations lead to the malignant type of cancerous growth. The results of the research team on cancer carried out by a few groups including Nicholas Navin, now at now at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have changed the concept on the prognosis of cancers and may pave the way of obtaining an effective drug  for their effective treatment. For instance, the team observed that about 1% of the mutations, involving 12,000–20,000 base pairs, differed from cell to cell and that these variations could not be detected when the cells were sequenced together. The concerned scientists found a way out to solve the problem by working with human sperms. An analysis of nearly 200 sequenced sperm cells revealed an average of 24.5 recombination events per sperm cell. Sequencing DNA from individual cells is changing the way that researchers think of humans as a whole.  Funding single cell studies to the tune US$90 million over 5 years by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced recently will go a long way to boost  up research in cancer therapeutic much to the relief of cancer patients who fall victim to this scourge.

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