ISB News

Genome Comparison Easier with ‘Fingerprint’ Method

Genome fingerprinting

Institute for Systems Biology researchers published a paper in the journal Frontiers in Genetics detailing a breakthrough that will have a major impact on how quickly and efficiently genome sequences are compared.

Genome sequences contain information with immense possibilities for research and personalized medical care. However, their size, complexity and diversity make comparing sequences error-prone and slow.

Drs. Gustavo Glusman, Denise E. Mauldin, Leroy E. Hood and Max Robinson have created a method for summarizing a personal genome as a “fingerprint.” Creating and comparing these fingerprints is significantly faster than traditional methods – computation of genome fingerprints takes between 15 and 45 seconds, and comparing genome fingerprints takes a fraction of a second.

Moreover, ISB researchers have taken privacy into account. Genome fingerprints contain enough information about the larger genome sequence to allow comparison, but they don’t reveal information that can identify genetic predisposition to diseases or other traits that could be used to affect an individual’s ability to obtain or maintain employment, insurance or financial services, or otherwise inadvertently lead to social stigma or negative effects.

“Many people equate genetic privacy with the inability to re-identify someone from their genome, but that’s just one scenario,” said Glusman, lead author of the paper. “You might want to find your relatives or determine how closely related you are to someone else, without having to reveal to them your propensity for various diseases. Our method enables this and many other analysis needs, quickly and securely.”

Read More

Recent Articles

  • Co-corresponding author and ISB President Dr. Jim Heath and co-lead author Dr. Yapeng Su.

    For Cancer Cells, There Is More Than One Path to Drug Resistance

    In findings published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers show that cancer cells can take more than one path to reach a drug-resistant cell state. These findings could have promising implications for the future of cancer care.

  • ISB researchers

    Unveiling the Guerrilla Warfare Tactics of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

    ISB researchers have unveiled new insights on how Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen that causes tuberculosis, enters and exits a dormant state in human hosts. About a quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, so these important findings will enable and accelerate the discovery of more effective TB drugs.

  • Merck and ISB Collaborate to Understand and Treat SARS-CoV-2 Infection

    Merck is collaborating with ISB and its partners to analyze blood samples and nasal swabs from Swedish Medical Center patients with SARS-CoV-2. Blood samples will be examined using proteomic, metabolomic, transcriptomics and genetic techniques to evaluate the impact of infection on different organs, and to identify potential biomarkers to predict the risk of severe disease.