Personal genomics revved into high gear last year thanks to DNA chips that make it possible to cheaply scan the entire genome (Science, 21 December 2007, p. 1842). You can track the flood of new discoveries at SNPedia (www.snpedia.com), a Web site run by two biotech veterans in Bethesda, Maryland, that catalogs SNPs culled from the literature.
SNPs are single-nucleotide polymorphisms: single-base variations in DNA that researchers are tying to traits and disease risks. Browse by medical conditions (77 so far) and discover, for example, that carrying two copies of the T version of a SNP called rs2273535 raises your risk of colon cancer by 50%; another SNP, rs6152, is associated with baldness. Visitors can also search by genetically influenced drug reactions (48) and genes (128). There are links to relevant papers and sites (including James Watson's and J. Craig Venter's respective genomes) and to blogs by people who are sending their DNA to a lab to be "SNP chipped." The site is also a wiki, which means anyone can contribute.
The site "could be a very valuable research tool," says computational biologist Mark Daly of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "It will be great to see how this develops."
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
GENES R US
This clip from the Jan. 20 issue of Science: