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RESEARCHERS develop new way to search for disease genes


WASHINGTON (AP) _ Researchers have developed a new computation system that may shorten the time needed to find disease-causing genes from months to mere seconds.

In a study appearing Friday in the journal Science, scientists at the Roche Group in Switzerland report that they have created a database that contains single gene differences among 15 different subspecies of laboratory mice.

A combination of these gene differences, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, are believed to be responsible for diseases that have genetic links.

A new computational system allows the researchers to swiftly identify the SNPs that may, in combination, cause disease.

Using traditional methods, locating a group of disease-causing genes could take months and often required breeding generations of mice.

Since mice share most of the same genes as humans, researchers study the laboratory animals to understand genes that may have a health consequence in humans.

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