Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Genome Mining - Visualisation

Researcher surrounded by data
Genome mining is a new technique that is leading to the efficient and rapid identification of useful new microbial gene products (See the last blog for new antifungals identified using this technique) by directly analysing the product and 'reverse engineering' the molecular structure to give us the genes that are producing the product via the genome DNA sequence of the organism concerned. This includes research on people in order to improve our understanding of how our bodies respond to disease and what influence our genes have  in the outcome of infections.

One difficulty with this type of research is the sheer amount of data that is generated. A human genome contains 25 000 genes and a lot more DNA besides. How do scientists effectively work with such a huge amount of data? We know that pictures relay vast amounts of information very efficiently and this company are maximising the use of that principle. Research data is projected on all surfaces of a specialised viewing room and the researcher can interact with the computer using arm and hand movements.

Together with specialised software to highlight groups of genes on demand (not that dissimilar to the ways we carry our searches on massive datasets using Google search engine) this might be one helpful way genomes and their transcriptional data can be navigated in the future.

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