Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One gene, one disease??

by Beyond Lab

Obviously not. Life is so complicated that it is impossible for one gene to be solely responsible for one function and therefore one disease. Almost all genes identified have multiple domains (function units) with different "potential" function. So, mess up one gene would certainly have more than one consequences. This has been confirmed in many species, from bakers yeast to human.

So, it is almost impossible to predict the occurrence of one disease just by analyzing the function/structure of one gene or its product. It has to be a combination of various information. With that being said, is it helpful to analyze one gene if it is know that this particular gene (or its mutant formats) always associates with certain disease. Absolutely!. But how accurate is it? No one knows when it comes to one individual -- yes or no. Probability means nothing for one individual.

Why am I saying this? Because one company Orion Genomics just licensed JHU technology to analyze IGF2 gene (insulin-like growth factor 2) with the hope to be able to predict the outcome (progression) of colorectal cancer. -- Beyond Lab personally thinks this is not very wise. I don't know how they will promote their future product to analyze one single gene. --Most current genetic or genomic detection products for breast cancer all involve many genes. One gene? Unlikely mean anything.

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