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October 7, 2004
Olympus, University of Tokyo and NovusGene Jointly
Develop a New High-speed, High-precision SNP*1 Typing Method
Multiplex reaction*2 based on DNA computing*3 technologies
Olympus Corporation (President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa) together with a research group headed by Professor Katsushi Tokunaga, Department of Human Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine, and Professor Akira Suyama, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, both of whom are from the University of Tokyo (President: Dr. Takeshi Sasaki, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo), and NovusGene Inc. (President Toru Makino, Hachioji City, Tokyo) have jointly developed a new SNP typing method based on DNA computing technology. The new method is expected to become a mainstream approach to clinical genetic diagnosis in the future.
International collaborative research has revealed links between adult (lifestyle-related) diseases*4, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and genetic factors. Adult diseases are also known as “polygenetic diseases,” since genetic differences (polymorphism) are believed to influence the extent to which individuals will be susceptible to these diseases. Researchers are working to identify the susceptibility genes involved in the process, using a method known as “SNP typing” to detect polymorphism.
The new SNP typing method for detecting polymorphism, which has been developed through this collaborative research initiative, uses a multiplex reaction capable of typing several tens or hundreds of SNPs simultaneously. The result is a dramatic reduction in both the cost of detection and the time required. While there are other multiplexing methods, this new SNP typing method uses DNA computing technology to ensure extremely accurate detection. Capable of typing tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of SNPs a day, this method will greatly accelerate research of polygenetic diseases.
The results of this joint development project will be presented at the 49th annual meeting of the Japan Society of Human Genetics (Chairman: Norio Niikawa), which opens on Tuesday, October 12 at Schönbach Sabo in the Zenkyoren Building (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo). The findings will also be presented at the 54th annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (President: Robert L. Nussbaum, Toronto, Canada), which starts on Tuesday, October 26.
If future research proves that genetic factors are indeed involved in the effectiveness or side effects of drugs, or in the development of polygenetic diseases, SNP typing is likely to become a mainstream approach to clinical diagnosis. Moving into the era of personalized medicine, Olympus will continue to be part of this collaborative research on this unique approach to SNP typing developed in Japan.
Olympus Corporation
Improvement of the testing method, development of automated processing mechanisms
Tokunaga Laboratory, University of Tokyo
Assessment and advice concerning the improvement and systematization of experimental procedures
Suyama Laboratory, University of Tokyo
Invention of basic principle, design and supply of high-precision artificial sequences needed for the reactions
NovusGene Inc.
Design of SNP detection sequences and improvement of experimental procedures
*1 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism)
The human genome consists of approximately 3 billion bases. It is known that differences in individual human beings occur at the rate of one every few hundred bases. Referred to as “single nucleotide polymorphism,” or SNP, this genetic variation influences individuals’ vulnerability to diseases and the effectiveness of medication on patients.
SNP typing is a method of determining which type of base exists in a specimen at each SNP site. With this knowledge, it will be possible to predict the susceptibility of an individual to specific diseases.
*2 Multiplex reaction
Existing polymorphism detection methods detect a single instance of polymorphism in a single reaction fluid. The multiplex reaction method, on the other hand, allows multiple instances of polymorphism to be detected simultaneously in the same reaction fluid.
*3 DNA computing technology
DNA computers use DNA to perform calculations. They have the potential to solve computing problems involving combination problems, which are difficult for conventional electronic computers, at extremely high speeds. DNA computing technology is a generic term for the technology used to design the complex reactions and DNA structures needed for DNA computing operations, and the sequencing design technology needed to eliminate errors.
*4 Adult (lifestyle-related) diseases
These are diseases caused by multiple genetic and lifestyle factors. The occurrence of such diseases is strongly influenced by subsequently acquired environmental factors as well as genetic factors.
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