Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Aging Contributes to Rapid Rates of Genomic Change

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Signaling challenges for personalized medicine.

Exploiting individual genomes for personalized medicine may be more complicated than medical scientists have suspected, researchers at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute have discovered.

In a paper published in June in the journal Aging, scientists from the institute's Medical Informatics and Systems Division found that spontaneous mutations occur in our bodies constantly, but the rate of change differed dramatically among various people.

The study has implications for personalized medicine, which will make use of genomic information to predict future diseases and treatments. With genomes continually shifting over time, the monitoring of genomic health will require more frequent measurement of patients' genomes.

"We have long known that there were mutations acquired in cancerous tumors, but this study confirms that our genome is constantly changing even in healthy tissues," said Harold "Skip" Garner, a professor of biological sciences and computer science at Virginia Tech and a professor of medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. "The implications on using genomic information for medicine and medical research in the future are tremendous. Things are not as simple as we once thought."

DNA in our cells changes from exposure to various environmental stressors. This can cause mutations in up to 13,000 genes that raise the risk of diabetes, kidney failure, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer's disease - conditions usually associated with aging.

The research may help scientists better understand how individuals tolerate environmental exposure and why some people seem to age faster or slower than others.

"We observed that certain portions of our genome age 100 times faster than others," Garner said. "Microsatellites, once considered 'junk DNA,' are known to be associated with many diseases. They change much faster than individual DNA bases (known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs), so it is important that future studies look at this very dynamic part of the human genome."

The researchers used the latest DNA sequencing technology to study the genetic makeup of three individuals at different times in their lives, spanning nine to 16 years. One of the individuals had almost 10 times as many variations as the others, and was found to be at risk for many more potential diseases.

"We observed that the variation rate is specific to the individual and also varies even within an individual's genome," said Jasmin Bavarva, a geneticist at the institute and lead scientist on the project. "Understanding the dynamics of the genome is the key to the success of personalized genomics and this is a major step forward."

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Genetic Defences of Bacteria Don’t Aid Antibiotic Resistance
Genetic responses to the stresses caused by antibiotics don’t help bacteria to evolve a resistance to the medications, according to a new study by Oxford University researchers.
Tolerant Immune System Increases Cancer Risk
Researchers have found that individuals with high immunoCRIT ratios may have an increased risk of developing certain cancers.
Developing a Gel that Mimics Human Breast for Cancer Research
Scientists at the Universities of Manchester and Nottingham have been funded to develop a gel that will match many of the biological structures of human breast tissue, to advance cancer research and reduce animal testing.
Lung Repair and Regeneration Gene Discovered
New role for hedgehog gene offers better understanding of lung disease.
3 Ways Viruses Have Changed Science for the Better
Viruses are really good at what they do, and we’ve been able to harness their skills to learn about – and potentially improve – human health in several ways.
Mixed Up Cell Transportation Key Piece of ALS and Dementia Puzzle
Researchers from the University of Toronto are one step closer to solving this incredibly complex puzzle, offering hope for treatment.
New Gene Therapy for Vision Loss From a Mitochondrial Disease
NIH-funded study shows success in targeting mitochondrial DNA in mice.
Five New Genetic Variants Linked to Brain Cancer Identified
The biggest ever study of DNA from people with glioma – the most common form of brain cancer – has discovered five new genetic variants associated with the disease.
Predictive Model for Breast Cancer Progression
Biomedical engineers have demonstrated a proof-of-principle technique that could give women and their oncologists more personalized information to help them choose options for treating breast cancer.
Fatty Liver Disease and Scarring Have Strong Genetic Component
Researchers say that hepatic fibrosis, which involves scarring of the liver that can result in dysfunction and, in severe cases, cirrhosis and cancer, may be as much a consequence of genetics as environmental factors.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos