unnamedThe Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics reports on a recent study by a team of scientists from DCB, UNIL, SIB, CHUV, MIT and Harvard. The team tracked the social networks of genes disrupted in complex diseases. Taking inspiration from social networks, the researchers applied techniques similar to those used in SNA to gain information about users (i.e. discrete genes) on the basis of their interconnections. After constructing accurate “maps” of gene networks for about 400 different human cell and tissue types, the team found that disease variants often affect groups of genes that were densely interconnected within regulatory networks. Furthermore, the affected network components precisely pinpointed with cell types or tissues that are implicated in disease processes. This finding confirms their hypothesis that genetic variants may impact genes that are connected within regulatory networks of tissues that are specific to certain diseases.
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The study also points to significant implications in future medical treatments: the accurate maps of gene networks for different tissues will likely advance our understandings of how diseases start and progress, and will facilitate in the design of targeted treatments in personalized medicine settings in the future.
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