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

Singapore Scientists Lead in 3D Mapping of Human Genome to Help Understand Human Diseases

Published: Thursday, February 02, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, February 02, 2012
Bookmark and Share
This discovery is crucial in understanding how human genes work together, and will re-write textbooks on how transcription regulation and coordination takes place in human cells.

Genome Institute of Singapore's (GIS) Associate Director of Genomic Technologies, Dr Yijun RUAN, led a continuing study on the human genome spatial/structural configuration, revealing how genes interact/communicate and influence each other, even when they are located far away from each other.

The discovery was published in Cell, on 19 January 2012. The GIS is a research institute under the umbrella of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

Using a genomic technology invented by Dr Ruan and his team, called ChIA-PET, the Singapore-led international group, which is part of the ENCODE (ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements) consortium, uncovered some of the fundamental mechanisms that regulate the gene expression in human cells.

"Scientists have always tried to understand how the large number of genes in an organism is regulated and coordinated to carry out the genetic programs encoded in the genome for cellular functions in our cells. It had been viewed that genes in higher organisms were individually expressed, while multiple related genes in low organisms like bacteria were arranged linearly together as operon and transcribed in single unit," Dr Ruan explained.

"The new findings in this study revealed that although genes in human genomes are located far away from each other, related genes are in fact organised through long-range chromatin interactions and higher-order chromosomal conformations. This suggests a topological basis akin to the bacteria operon* system for coordinated transcription regulation. This topological mechanism for transcription regulation and coordination also provides insights to understand genetic elements that are involved in human diseases."

GIS' executive director Prof Huck Hui NG said: "This is an important study that sheds light on the complex regulation of gene expression. Yijun's team continues to use the novel method of Chromatin Interaction Analysis with Paired-End-Tag sequencing to probe the higher order interactions of chromatin to discover new regulatory interactions between genes."

"This publication describes ground-breaking work by Dr Yijun Ruan and his team at Genome Institute of Singapore," added Dr Edward Rubin, Director of the Joint Genome Institute in US. "They address the fundamental question of how communication occurs between genes and their on and off switches in the human genome. Using a long range DNA mapping technology called ChIA-PET, the study reveals in three dimensional space that genes separated linearly by enormous distances in the human genome can come to lie next to each other in the cell when it is time for them to become active.

"I expect this study to move rapidly from primary scientific literature to textbooks describing for future students the operating principles of the human genome. The ChIA-PET technology, that is the telescope used in this exploration of the human genome, is an innovative and powerful molecular technology invented by Dr Ruan and his collaborators."

The ENCODE is an ongoing project which was awarded to Dr Ruan's team by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), an institute belonging to the National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA). The project was set up in 2003 with the aim of discovering all functional elements in the human genome to gain a deeper understanding of human biology and develop new strategies for preventing and treating diseases. So far Dr Ruan's team has received over US$2 million towards this project.

*In genetics, an operon is a functioning unit of genomic DNA containing a cluster of genes under the control of a single regulatory signal or promoter.

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.

Related Content

Scientists Engineer Human Stem Cells and Move Closer to Mastering Regenerative Medicine
Researchers have successfully converted human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) cultured in the laboratory to a state that is closer to the cells found in the human blastocyst.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Genome Institute of Singapore and Fluidigm Establish Asia's First Single-Cell Genomics Research Center
Center exclusively dedicated to accelerating the understanding of how individual cells work, and how diagnosis and treatment might be enhanced through insight derived from single cells.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Scientists’ Genetic Mapping of Han Chinese Provides Invaluable Information of Ethnic Chinese Ancestry
Findings provides invaluable information to determine the design and interpretation of genetic studies of human diseases.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Genome Institute of Singapore and Roche NimbleGen: Tracking the Evolutionary Path of the H1N1 Influenza A
Researchers develop a generic PCR approach to amplify full genome of influenza A virus; followed by NimbleGen microarray-based hybridization sequencing.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Singapore Scientists’ made Significant Discovery for Stem Cell Technology and Clinical Research
Scientists reveal important insights into how researchers can manipulate and engineer different stem cells for the treatment of human degenerative disorders.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Scientists Found a Way to Enhance Development of Human Embryonic Stem Cells Therapies
Scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore and the National University of Singapore have found a way of manipulating ESCs that allows stem cells to be produced for use in clinical treatments.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Scientific News
13 Ways to Stop an Unseen Force from Disrupting Weighing
Download a free Mettler Toledo paper to discover how to halt static’s negative effects before the next weigh-in.
Flinders Ig Nobel Winner Cracks Global Anaesthetic
One of the world’s most in-demand anaesthetics can now be produced on the spot, thanks to the thermos-flask sized device that recently won Flinders University inventor Professor Colin Raston an Ig Nobel prize.
Resurrected Proteins Double Their Natural Activity
Researchers demonstrate method for reviving denatured proteins.
Genes That Protect African Children From Developing Malaria Identified
Variations in DNA at a specific location on the genome that protect African children from developing severe malaria, in some cases nearly halving a child’s chance of developing the life-threatening disease, have been identified in the largest genetic association study of malaria to date.
Messing With The Monsoon
Manmade aerosols can alter rainfall in the world’s most populous region.
Potential Target for Treatment of Autism
Grant of $2.4 million will support further research.
Scientists Decode Structure at Root of Muscular Disease
Researchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have unlocked the structural details of a protein seen as key to treating a neuromuscular disease.
Sniffing Out Cancer
Scientists have been exploring new ways to “smell” signs of cancer by analyzing what’s in patients’ breath.
New Test Detects All Viruses
A new test detects virtually any virus that infects people and animals, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the technology was developed.
Inroads Against Leukemia
Potential for halting disease in molecule isolated from sea sponges.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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