Carnegie Mellon University research story ideas on DNA

NOTE: This release has been updated since its original posting.

Below are story ideas from Carnegie Mellon University related to the 50th anniversary of DNA discovery and the celebration of the completion of the human genome sequence. Through its emphasis on computational sciences and interdisciplinary approaches, Carnegie Mellon is conducting groundbreaking research. To contact the investigators about any of the following topics, please contact Lauren Ward at 412-268-7761 or wardle@andrew.cmu.edu.

Computational Molecular Biology -- Where Do We Take the Human Genome?

Dr. Dannie Durand is using computational approaches to study the role of gene duplication in vertebrate genome evolution to understand, in part, the emergence of new genes. Since 1997, Durand has focused on new ways to use computation to study thousands of genes simultaneously. Studying genes in this volume reveals patterns and trends not obvious when scientists study a few genes at a time. To do such high volume work, Durand uses WWW "bots," or programs that download information from distant and distinct biological databases and combine that information in novel ways. When Durand first started sending her bots out to retrieve biological information, very few researchers used this approach. It was so unusual that she received a concerned email from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), asking why their database had received 27,000 requests from her site in a three-day period. Today, the NLM database provides a standard interface for retrieval bots.

Dr. Russell Schwartz is conducting research on single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP, locations in the genome, where a single base varies from person to person. SNPs occur about every 1000 bases and are thought to play a large role in contributing to the development of complex, multi-factorial diseases,

Contact: Lauren Ward
Carnegie Mellon University

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