Stan Nelson a genetics researcher and director of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, senior author of PLOS article identifying a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). This is the first time a GBM cell line has had its whole genome sequenced. They used U87MG, a well studied line derived from a grade IV gliomaBy comparing SNPs in the cell line genome with those found in dbSNP and two previously published genomes — the Watson genome and first Asian genome — they found that the prevalence of SNPs in the U87MG genome was comparable to that in normal genomes. “Most of the variation is still dominated by the inherited polymorphisms,” Nelson explained. Even so, the team detected mutations affecting 512 protein-coding genes, including PTEN, a gene previously implicated in brain cancer. Many of these involve small insertions and deletions. As the brain is encased in a rigid skull structure, speed and accuracy of treatment decisions is crucial and this research will significantly add to the personalization of future treatments of those with this aggressive brain tumor.
A new technique of identifying distinctive signals in the genome that track natural selection is described by Harvard researchers and the Broad Institute. It is called Composite of Multiple Signals and allows a more specific identification of genetic changes teasing out needles from the haystack even further.