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Comparing genes?
Apr 17, 2002

I don't know how long it would take to electronically map the genes of one human being, but if it could be done in a quick and effective manner, then maybe if you flagged certain traits / diseases / etc. of humans entered into the database, and ran a distributed computing program to compare and contrast, that genes that cause these traits / diseases could be isolated. What all is involved in mapping one human's genes?

Response from Dr. Young

The subject that you have described is called pharmacogenomics--that is to say using mapping of genetic traits to predict either positive or negative effects of medications.

At this year's Conference on Retroviruses, the first reports of using genetic mapping to predict the adverse effect of abacavir (hypersensitivity) were presented (by Hetherington and Mallal)-- these preliminary results showed that certain genetic markers appear to correlate strongly with the risk of having abacavir hypersensitivity. These data might, someday be used to predict who should and should not receive the medication.

Other genetic markers are being explored to look at the risk of tranmission of HIV or the metabolism of protease inhibitors.

The technology to evaluate genes is rapidly evolving-- what was once science fiction is now reality. We now have methods to look at hundreds or thousands of genes in an individual in a matter of hours. What we do with this technology and how to apply to the clinic is the stuff of aggressive, current research. BY



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