An important question in medication asks how individual changes in DNA can predict variation in disease and health. New research from the Clemson Center for Human Genetics identified several metabolites that may function intermediates to translate variation within the genome to variation in advanced traits. Published lately in Genome Research, the findings may, in the future, help doctors better monitor metabolite variation as an indicator of disease.
The central dogma of molecular biology shows how DNA is transcribed into RNA, which is translated into proteins. Many of those proteins operate as enzymes that catalyze chemical reactions between small molecules that perform the applications laid out in our DNA, often known as metabolites. These metabolites, collectively known as the “metabolome,” carry out important functions, from producing or storing energy to serving as building blocks for our cells.
On this groundbreaking examine led by Mackay’s former postdoctoral researchers Shanshan Zhou and Fabio Morgante, researchers sought to measure hundreds of metabolites discovered throughout the experimental model system of the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to gauge how these metabolites fluctuated alongside variation in genetic information.
As soon as the metabolites had been recognized, the remainder of the examine was carried out computationally, correlating variation in metabolites with DNA variants and variation in a variety of traits measured in 40 totally different fruit fly lines.
However, this comprehensive research fills in gaps of missing information that create extra avenues for research in the future. Because the technology to measure the metabolome improves, databases containing metabolomic information will expand.