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Genetic Typo Detector

June 27, 2007

A new technique could spot errors in genetic sequences.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Spotting bad genetic commands. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

A new technique for detecting subtle genetic glitches may expose the earliest signs of many diseases. The research team includes Harvard Medical School geneticists Jon and Christine Seideman. They’re looking for defects in messenger RNA molecules, which are transcripts of genetic instructions. Christine says the new technology can isolate even very rare RNAs –once that appear as little as once in nearly a million transcripts.

CHRISTINE SEIDMAN:
Often, those are the molecules that can be driving fundamental processes, as compared to doing the regular business of the work of the cell.

HIRSHON:
It’s hoped that identifying all the possible transcript changes that can cause a particular illness will lead to better diagnostic tools, earlier interventions, and more personalized treatments. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.