Current Stage Of Genomics & “Molecular Medicine” Research & The Future
The current stage of Genomics is:
So we have people with a certain Disorder (say, “X”).
Let’s gather Genomic Data of as many persons as we can with “X” Disorder and find similarities in their Genomes to find out which “Gene”s could be responsible for the “X” Disorder.
This approach is limited.
To see why, let’s go through a quick lesson in Biology.
All of the Cells in our body have the same DNA.
But a Cell in our “Heart” behaves differently than a Cell in “Skin”.
The Genetic Material is the same, but Behavior is different.
Proteins (Transcription Factors) inside the Cell and different elements in the Extra-Cellular Matrix makes the difference.
The “Proteins (Transcription Factors) inside the Cell and elements in the Extra-Cellular Matrix” of Heart Cell is what make it behave differently than a Cell in your Skin.
All of our Cells contain the identical Genetic Material to the first Cell that made us.
“Differential Gene Expression” is how that Cell gradually turned into the Cells of Skin, Heart, Pancreas, etc.
Now, suppose a person say, “A” has a certain disorder / disability say, “D”.
Suppose, the “D” disorder makes “A”‘s Motor Neurons shrink with time.
It would be “of limited view” to try to find out “the Gene” responsible for the disorder “D”.
Because each “Gene” that expresses itself through “Proteins” effects our body in different ways depending on in which part of the body the Protein is acting.
A particular “Gene” say, “G1” encoding certain Protein in our “Skin cell” might have different effect than
the same “G1” Gene encoding the same “Protein” (but involved in a different “Gene Regulatory Network”) in our “Motor Neuron”.
A better approach is to consider the effect of “Network of Genes” involved in a certain “Gene Regulatory Network”.
“Network of Genes” involved in different “Gene Regulatory Network”s express themselves to structure our Phenotype (and also our “Disorders” and “Disabilities”).
As we can see, Biologists should always keep in mind that:
“It’s not a single Gene that cause a certain Disorder, but ‘A Network of Genes’ involved in a certain “Gene Regulatory Network” that do.”
“A Network of Genes” translated into Proteins
(a Protein itself could be defective or it could be “A wrong set of Proteins”)
interacting in less-than-normal ways with other Proteins and Molecules
– From a macro perspective we classify this misbehavior as one of the (already classified) Disorders.
– This is a “Molecular definition” of Diseases and Disorders.
Then why do Biologists approach “Molecular Medicine” this way (the Current approach):
“Let’s gather Genomic Data of as many persons as we can with “X” disorder and find similarities in their Genomes to find out which “Gene”s could be responsible for the “X” disorder”
The reason: Biology as a Science, is yet to mature.
Biologists still struggle to find out which Genes encode which Protein with a certain feature.
We are still far from complete understanding of:
Gene -> Differential Gene Expression -> Phenotype / Disorder / Disabilities.
Our current approach is to find out:
Gene -> Disorder / Disabilities.
“Let’s get as many people as we can with a certain Disorder and search their Genome to find the “Gene” responsible for the “Disorder”.
an approach which, as I have explained, is limited.
Areas of Expertise:
#Computational & Systems Biology (CSB)
#Medicine #Medical Sciences