New technology provides first view of DNA damage within entire human genome

January 18, 2011, Cardiff University

New technology providing the first view of DNA damage throughout the entire human genome developed by Cardiff University scientists could offer a valuable new insight into the development and treatment of conditions like cancer.

Professor Ray Waters, Dr Simon Reed and Dr Yumin Teng from Cardiff University's Department of Genetics, Haematology and Pathology have developed a unique way of measuring DNA damage frequency using tiny microarrays.

Using the new method Cardiff scientists can, for the first time, examine all 28,000 human genes where previous techniques have only allowed scientists to analyse parts of about five human .

The new patented technique offers an unprecedented view of DNA damage in humans caused by agents that can create conditions like cancer.

Professor Waters said: "This is really an exciting development and offers us the chance to examine DNA damage in the entire human .

"The approach is especially useful to examine the damage to people's DNA that can go on to cause cancer. We can also examine DNA damaging anti-cancer therapeutics and how responses in individual patients vary."

Human DNA can be damaged in many different ways – through radiation, chemicals and events in the body itself. defects in DNA repair can lead to cancer prone conditions, immunity defects, premature ageing and other problems.

In normal individuals there are many examples of DNA damage being linked to cancer, for example through smoking or over exposure to ultra-violet rays.

There is little evidence as to how DNA repair varies amongst the normal population and how normal individuals cope with anti-cancer therapies that damage the DNA in their cancer cells and normal cells.

The novel technology, developed with funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Cancer Research Wales, will have implications for cancer risk assessment, for cancer diagnostics and for developing new .

Professor Ray Waters is Head of Cardiff University's Cancer Studies Interdisciplinary Research Group. Consisting of more than 50 researchers, the Group is working together on new cancer therapeutics and diagnostics which can be taken through to the clinic.

He was deputy chair of the UK Government Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) and he drove its 2009 report on the health risks associated with sunbed usage.

Professor Waters added: "The method has some very exciting potential applications. We are already working alongside companies such as Agilent to see if our method can be used by the chemical and pharmaceutical industries for routine genotoxicity testing. Here, determining whether new agents damage DNA is a crucial step in their development

"The technique could also be used for other purposes like examining in the skin from sunburn, and we will be looking to develop this application over the coming months and years.

"For future developments input from our current team of Mark Bennett, Yanbo Deng, Katie Evans, Matthew Leadbitter, Dr James Powell and Dr Shirong Yu will be crucial."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

15 new genes identified that shape human faces

February 20, 2018
Researchers from KU Leuven (Belgium) and the universities of Pittsburgh, Stanford, and Penn State have identified 15 genes that determine facial features. The findings were published in Nature Genetics.

New software helps detect adaptive genetic mutations

February 20, 2018
Researchers from Brown University have developed a new method for sifting through genomic data in search of genetic variants that have helped populations adapt to their environments. The technique, dubbed SWIF(r), could be ...

New algorithm can pinpoint mutations favored by natural selection in large sections of the human genome

February 20, 2018
A team of scientists has developed an algorithm that can accurately pinpoint, in large regions of the human genome, mutations favored by natural selection. The finding provides deeper insight into how evolution works, and ...

Highly mutated protein in skin cancer plays central role in skin cell renewal

February 20, 2018
Approximately once a month, our skin completely renews itself. If this highly coordinated process goes awry, it can lead to a variety of skin diseases, ranging from skin cancer to psoriasis. Cells lining such organs as skin ...

Study of smoking and genetics illuminates complexities of blood pressure

February 15, 2018
Analyzing the genetics and smoking habits of more than half a million people has shed new light on the complexities of controlling blood pressure, according to a study led by researchers at Washington University School of ...

New mutation linked to ovarian cancer can be passed down through dad

February 15, 2018
A newly identified mutation, passed down through the X-chromosome, is linked to earlier onset of ovarian cancer in women and prostate cancer in father and sons. Kunle Odunsi, Kevin H. Eng and colleagues at Roswell Park Comprehensive ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.