A report in this week's Nature (Vol. 422, No. 6929, 20 March 2003, pp. 297-302) suggests that obesity may not be one disease, but a collection of conditions, each with its own genetic identity. This discovery may lead to the development of tailor-made medicines aimed at subtypes of diseases such as obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis. Eric E. Schadt of Rosetta Inpharmatics, Kirkland, Washington, and colleagues combined clinical information about obesity, data from DNA microarrays and whole-genome sequences to compare and contrast the make-up of genetically obese mice. They found that overweight mice can be subdivided into two groups on the basis of their genes. They also found a 'hotspot' of obesity-related genes on chromosome 2. This combined approach may help researchers to identify disease-related genes that could otherwise be missed. The researchers have also successfully applied their technique to maize and humans, creating a database that may help identify new groups of genes related to complex plant and human characteristics.
"The combination of genetic information and gene expression is expected to significantly advance the fulfillment of the long-awaited promises of genomics to improve healthcare," says Ariel Darvasi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, in an accompanying News and Views article.
Eric E. Schadt
Tel: +1 425 823 7368
Dr. Ariel Darvasi
Tel: +972 2 6584303
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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