U.S. experts hail WA genetic resource

A Perth-based resource which facilitates rapid gene mapping in a number of serious diseases, has been highlighted by the Genetics Society of America in a special issue about next-generation genetic resources.

Morahan team

Left to right: Dr Ramesh Ram, Dr Lois Balmer,
Professor  Grant Morahan and Munish Mehta

The article by the team from Perkins’ Centre for Diabetes Research, led by Professor Grant Morahan, is among 18 papers to be published in the important collection.

“The Collaborative Cross, or ‘Gene Mine’ which has been developed in WA over the past decade is the biggest resource of its type in the world,” says Professor Morahan.

“We are now using it to find genes which can prevent diabetes, melanoma, dementia and many other diseases.”

The Gene Mine was produced by the WA-based company, Geniad Pty Ltd.

The first author on the paper was Dr Ramesh Ram, who is a bioinformatics scientist at the Perkins. Dr Ram’s work involves the processing of vast amounts of data from biological technologies, allowing him to analyse the genetics behind the onset of diseases.

United States researchers say geneticists are embracing the new and powerful approach which pinpoints more precise areas of the genome by founding breeding populations with multiple, genetically diverse parents.

"These collections of multi-parental strains are extremely powerful and greatly accelerate discovery,” says  Dirk-Jan de Koning, Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and an editor of the new collection.

"This collection will move the field forward by stimulating discussion between different disciplines and research communities,” says Lauren McIntyre, Professor at the University of Florida, and an editor of the collection.

 "To help foster this ongoing exchange, the collection will continue to publish new articles, and all associated data will be freely available."

The full collection can be found at http://genetics.org

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