Chromosome Probes At The University Of Toronto


Uploaded: November 29, 1986. Sensitive chromosome probes recently discovered by a University of Toronto geneticist will make it easier to detect certain types of genetic and prenatal diseases, as well as being used to determine paternity and provide forensic evidence in criminal cases. Probes are short pieces of DNA which bind to, and actually pinpoint, particular sites on a chromosome. Because these new probes are actually repeated hundreds or thousands of time at a particular site, they are much more sensitive than previously available ones Of the 23 pairs of human chromosomes, Dr. F.H. Willard has discovered repeated probes or markers for six plus the gender determining X ...

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simpler and faster to perform and could be available to all pregnant women who wish to take advantage of the technology. Current prenatal testing involves growing fetal cells in vitro and examining them, over one or two months, to see if there are two copies of a particular chromosome, which is normal, or one or three, which is abnormal. A test using Willard's probes would require only a few cells and a few days to detect abnormalities. "I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that these kinds of tests could eventually be done by an obstetrician in the office during the early stages of pregnancy," he adds. The determination of gender is another possible use for the probes. Many diseases, such as Duschene's muscular dystrophy, show up on the X chromosome, manifesting only in boys. Willard thinks it is possible to develop a test which would quickly indicate the fetus' sex. This would benefit parents whose only option is to have no children or to have only girls. ...

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to try to sort out disease genes is to use genetic linkage. Because our sequences are at the centromere it would allow us to develop a map." The third application for the probes is in forensic biology. Willard believes his markers are as unique to each each individual as are fingerprints. According to the geneticist, it will be possible to make a DNA 'fingerprint' from blood or sperm, which could be used as evidence in rape or murder cases. "We haven't yet done the analysis which confirms that our probes are DNA fingerprints, but once we do, we will make them available for development into tests." As research progresses in all these areas, Willard hopes to collaborate with other ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 6/10/2004 06:25:18 PM
Category: Science & Nature
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2250
Pages: 9

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