Jul 30, 2016

Scientists’ search for ‘noise-canceling’ gene networks supported

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

New Gene research.

Look closely at the raw materials that make up any group of cells and you’ll notice some “noise,” a term scientists use to describe natural variations in cellular composition.

A little noise is normal. If a cell produces slightly above-average amounts of a particular protein, common processes like reproduction can continue to operate smoothly. But when things get too noisy, our cells’ machinery starts to misfire. These malfunctioning cells frequently produce mutant offspring that may die off immediately or contribute to the long-term growth of certain forms of cancer.

Now, a team of Virginia Tech researchers is leading an effort to learn more about the mysterious genetic factors responsible for regulating cellular noise levels, backed by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

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