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29 March 2005 Identification of susceptibility genes and genetic modifiers of human diseases
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The completion of the human genome sequence enables the discovery of genes involved in common human disorders. The successful identification of these genes is dependent on the availability of informative sample sets, validated marker panels, a high-throughput scoring technology, and a strategy for combining these resources. We have developed a universal platform technology based on mass spectrometry (MassARRAY) for analyzing nucleic acids with high precision and accuracy. To fuel this technology, we generated more than 100,000 validated assays for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering virtually all known and predicted human genes. We also established a large DNA sample bank comprised of more than 50,000 consented healthy and diseased individuals. This combination of reagents and technology allows the execution of large-scale genome-wide association studies. Taking advantage of MassARRAY’s capability for quantitative analysis of nucleic acids, allele frequencies are estimated in sample pools containing large numbers of individual DNAs. To compare pools as a first-pass “filtering” step is a tremendous advantage in throughput and cost over individual genotyping. We employed this approach in numerous genome-wide, hypothesis-free searches to identify genes associated with common complex diseases, such as breast cancer, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis, and genes involved in quantitative traits like high density lipoproteins cholesterol (HDL-c) levels and central fat. Access to additional well-characterized patient samples through collaborations allows us to conduct replication studies that validate true disease genes. These discoveries will expand our understanding of genetic disease predisposition, and our ability for early diagnosis and determination of specific disease subtype or progression stage.
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Kenneth Abel, Stefan Kammerer, Carolyn Hoyal, Rikard Reneland, George Marnellos, Matthew R. Nelson, and Andreas Braun "Identification of susceptibility genes and genetic modifiers of human diseases", Proc. SPIE 5699, Imaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules and Cells: Fundamentals and Applications III, (29 March 2005);

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