Brown U. program crunches data on mutations behind disease

Our understanding of gene mutations is key to conquering many diseases such as cancer and rare genetic disorders. A group from Brown University has used computer modeling to better understand splicing errors behind many gene mutations, Bio-IT World reports.

According to the report, the key discoveries made with Brown University computer science grad student Kian Huat Lim's program include that splicing errors might be responsible for even more human gene mutations than previously thought and that models can help predict the impact of mutations on splicing. The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Computer models are important tools to help inform scientists' wet lab experiments, helping them be more productive in the lab than they would be without the assistance of computers. Genetics researchers can use Lim's program to analyze many mutations and inform their experiments to figure out which ones impact clinical results, Bio-IT World reports.

"Many times it is just too costly and too expensive to go into the lab and test every sequence you have," Lim told Bio-IT World. "It is much more helpful to have a computational tool that can filter out most of your sequences to leave you with some that the tool predicts will be the interesting ones."

- read Bio-IT World's report

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