Scientists at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute are recognized world leaders for perfecting a technique that uses harmless bacteria to make many copies of long strands of fragile DNA. The DNA must be stabilized before it can be introduced into the bacterial cells. Once introduced into the cells, the bacteria are then tricked into reproducing and generate billions of identical bacterial cells containing the same human DNA strand and are now present in colonies. Each colony represents one type of DNA fragment. The genetic information of the genes is derived through the analysis of these fragments in a process known as "DNA sequencing". This process was used to help a team of international scientists map the X chromosome.
"Our DNA library has become a major resource for ongoing global research in the genetics of human diseases," said Pieter de Jong, PhD, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute scientist and director of the DNA library. "One of the research projects that our scientists at CHORI will be using the DNA library for is to investigate the genetic differences that make certain people susceptible to inherited forms of Lou Gehrig's Disease," said Dr. de Jong.
The hospital's recombinant DNA library has more than 20 million DNA samples that are used in research programs around the world.