Hidden in our genes: Discovering the fate of cell development

July 13, 2020

As cells develop, changes in how our genes interact determines their fate. Differences in these genetic interactions can make our cells robust to infection from viruses or make it possible for our immune cells to kill cancerous ones.

Understanding how these gene associations work across the development of human tissue and organs is important for the creation of medical treatments for complex diseases as broad as cancer, developmental disorders, or heart disease.

A new technology called single-cell RNA-sequencing has made it possible to study the behaviour of genes in human and mammal cells at an unprecedented resolution and promises to accelerate scientific and medical discoveries.

Together with a team of international collaborators from China, the US and the UK, University of Sydney scientists have developed an analytical approach for this single-cell sequencing, which is able to test for broad changes in gene behaviour within human tissue. It has been called single-cell higher-order testing, or scHOT.

Published today in Nature Methods, the team has demonstrated the effectiveness of this method by identifying genes in mice whose variability change in cells during embryonic liver development.

Led by Professor Jean Yang in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, the team has also found novel pairs of genes that co-vary in expression across the mouse olfactory bulb, an important tissue for understanding neurodevelopmental diseases.

Together these illustrate scHOT as a powerful new tool that will uncover hidden gene associations in our cells and facilitate the full exploitation of these cutting-edge single-cell technologies to make important biological discoveries.

This research will help to uncover hidden gene associations in our cells providing a new way to view and describe biological complexity.

This research is part of a series of single-cell data science tools developed by the bioinformatics research team at the University of Sydney.
-end-
Media enquiries

Marcus Strom
marcus.strom@sydney.edu.au
+61 423 982 485

Interviews

Professor Jean Yang | jean.yang@sydney.edu.au
School of Mathematics and Statistics
The University of Sydney

Declaration

We acknowledge the following sources of funding: Royal Society Newton International Fellowship; the Judith and Coffey Life Laboratory at the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney; Australian NHMRC Career Developmental Fellowship; Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award; US National Institutes of Health; National Natural Science Foundation of China; European Molecular Biology Laboratory; and Cancer Research UK.

University of Sydney

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.