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Scientists Develop New Computer Program To Speed Determination Of Gene Function

DALLAS, Texas, June 23, 1998 -- A computer program recently developed at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has found the markers on all DNA sequenced so far in the international Human Genome Project, and the list is now available on the Internet.

A UT Southwestern study, which developed and validated the computer code known as POMPOUS, is described in today's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Markers are small bits of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that can vary among individuals but are usually inherited within related groups. Differences in markers are called polymorphisms, and they can alter how a gene affects the body. The markers are used in identifying diseases, predicting risk of disease and in forensics investigations.

"Because of all the information coming out of the genome project, there needs to be more and more effort in computational biology to extract value from the raw DNA sequences and relate it to the function of the 100,000 or so genes and all the medical implications of the variations in each gene," said senior author Dr. Harold "Skip" Garner, associate director of UT Southwestern's federally funded Genome Science and Technology Center and holder of the Philip O'Bryan Montgomery Jr., M.D., Distinguished Chair in Developmental Biology. "Our system facilitates the step between genomic sequencing and using the data to discover the impact of genes on the quality of life."

In a collaborative effort with Dr. John Minna -- director of the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research and the W.A. "Tex" and Deborah Moncrief Jr. Center for Cancer Genetics and holder of the Max L. Thomas Distinguished Chair in Molecular Pulmonary Oncology, the Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research and the Lisa K. Simmons Distinguished Chair in Comprehensive Oncology -- the researchers applied POMPOUS (polymorphic marker prediction of ubiquitous sim
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Contact: Susan Steeves
susan.steeves@email.swmed.edu
(214) 648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
23-Jun-1998


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