Geneticists have identified the functions of 5,000 human genes that control cell division and function

(ORDO NEWS) — Geneticists at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed the functions of more than 5,000 human genes that perform basic functions in cell division, splicing, translation, DNA repair, and other vital intracellular processes.

There are about 20,000 genes in the human genome. Now about 5000 genes it is clear what they do. This is a huge step forward

A team of scientists at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology systematically evaluated the function of more than 5,000 major human genes.

The assay uses CRISPR/Cas9 technology to disable gene activity and forms a first-of-its-kind resource for understanding and visualizing how genes work in a wide range of cellular processes.

The group’s findings cover more than 31 million individual cells and include quantitative data on hundreds of different parameters that predict how genes work both separately and together.

To understand what a gene does, you need to “break” it

Geneticists have identified the functions of 5000 human genes that control cell division and function 2

“My whole career, I wanted to see what happens in cells when a major gene is turned off,” said Ian Cheesman, lead author of the study. “Now we can do this not just for any one gene, but for any gene that is relevant for human cell division in a petri dish.”

Essential genes control the basic functions a cell needs to survive (transcription, mRNA splicing, translation, vesicle transport, DNA replication, cell division, etc.).

Systematic disruption of these genes is not a new concept, but traditional methods have been limited by various factors, including cost and the ability to completely eliminate the activity of key genes.

Researchers have pioneered a new genetic screening technology that combines two approaches – large-scale pooled genetic screening using CRISPR/Cas9 and cell imaging to detect both quantitative and qualitative differences.

Cheesman says, “If you have two cells side by side and one of them has a certain gene disabled, you can compare those cells and figure out what the disabled gene was doing.”

The scientists evaluated the functions of 5,072 major human genes.

“Fingerprint” of a single gene

In addition to their main “large” screen, the scientists also conducted a smaller one that focused on about 200 genes involved in cell division (mitosis). Genes have been identified that play a clear role in mitosis, but have not previously been associated with this process.

“We have collected a huge amount of information. For example, for the nucleus of a cell, it is important not only how brightly colored it is, but also how large it is, how round it is, how smooth or uneven its edges are, Cheeseman said. “A computer can really extract a huge amount of spatial information.”

Based on this rich multidimensional data, the scientists’ work provides a kind of cellular biological fingerprint for each gene.

Using sophisticated computational clustering strategies, researchers can compare these fingerprints with each other and build potential regulatory relationships between genes.

Since these groups confirm several already known relationships, they can be used to make confident predictions about the operation of genes whose functions and/or interactions with other genes are unknown.

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