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RNAs and illness in the chronic lymphocytic leukemia. 2 new genome databases

RNAs and illness in the chronic lymphocytic leukemia. 2 new genome databases

CNIO researchers develop new databases for understanding the human genome

CNIO creates 2 new databases, APPRIS and ChiTaRS, that hold thousands of genomic variants for studying human illnesses

Scientists from the Structural Computational Biology Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), led by Alfonso Valencia, together with French and American researchers, have published recently two articles in the journal Nucleic Acid Research (NAR) that introduce two new databases for studying the human genome.

Living eukaryote beings are capable of generating several proteins from the information contained in a single gene. This special characteristic exists partly thanks to the alternative splicing process that selectively joins some exons (the regions of genes that produce proteins) and not others, in order to produce the proteins needed in each moment.

The articles published by Valencia study the transfer of this information, which is contained in the intermediary molecules between the genes and the proteins—the RNAs —, and which will be used to understand the genome, the way it functions and the role of some of its variants in the origin of human illnesses like cancer.

An illustrative example of the relationship between RNAs and illness is the chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Researchers from the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Spanish Consortium (CLL-­ICGC), of which Valencia's team forms part, have observed an accumulation of mutations in the genes responsible for the splicing process. These observations suggest that alterations in these mechanisms might be the cause of the disease.

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If you'd like some background on the function of DNA, RNA and microRNA, New Scientist has an article "The ever deepening mystery of the human genome" dated September 2012.

"The more we learn out about the secrets of the human genome, the less we seem to know about all that DNA actually does. But there are some clues."

You'll need a free subscription to read it, but it does cover why the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project was set up in 2003 to provide an overall picture of which parts of the genome do what and how this project has assisted our understanding.



The article by the expert in CLL genetics Dr. Stephan Stilgenbauer (University of Ulm, Germany) published in last years CLL Global research news was an interesting read which I found very useful as an explanation and overview of some of all this work in CLL and how the German study is progressing.. .

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